How to Check Your Credit Report for Free 3 Times a Year

See why the AMEX Platinum is my top recommended military credit card.
I can show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived when you sign up for my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course

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The last time I watched cable (probably in an airport while I was travelling, I don't have a TV or cable at home) I saw that was still doing those commercials with the annoying jingles. While they may be dominating the airwaves and cable market, they actually don't provide a free credit report. See the disclaimer at the top of their website:

When you order your $1 Credit Report and Score here, you will begin your 7-day trial membership in If you don't cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period*, you will be billed $16.99 for each month that you continue your membership. You may cancel your trial membership anytime within the trial period without charge.

How many people do you think they get to pay $192 a year to “monitor” their credit report? Far too many, based on the number of ads they can afford to run on CNN. In fact, people have been deceived so often that the FTC set up a website to set the record straight:

The Federal Trade Commission has received complaints from consumers who thought they were ordering their free annual credit report, and yet couldn't get it without paying fees or buying other services. TV ads, email offers, or online search results may tout “free” credit reports, but there is only one authorized source for a truly free credit report.

So how can you check your credit report for free? By going to the only legitimate credit report site:

Here, you can get reports from the three major credit card bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), once a year, as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) passed in 2003. A credit report

Okay so you can get your report once a year for free, but how can you check it three times a year for free?

By only checking 1 bureau every 4 months. Setup an alert in Google Calendar or whatever scheduling/calendar program you use for January 8, May 8, and September 8. Call each event a different credit bureau. Then, make the events repeat annually. Like so:

You can have it email you as well to remind you to get it done (part of automating your finances, something I'll be writing about soon).

And that's it. Using a simple calendar/time hack, you can keep an eye on your credit report throughout the year for exactly $0. And that's really the best price, isn't it?

After checking your credit report, why not get some credit cards with excellent sign up bonuses? There's lots of free travel and hotel stays out there for the taking.

AMEX Platinum With NO Annual Fees for US Military

Military servicemembers and spouses can get the American Express Platinum card with NO annual fees.

Learn how to apply for the AMEX Platinum Military.

The AMEX Platinum offers:

  • $550 Annual Fee WAIVED for US Military (and spouses)!
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points with $5000 spend in 3 month
  • $200 credit for Uber rides (or Uber Eats!) annually
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
  • NO foreign transaction fees

These benefits make the AMEX Platinum my top recommend card.

If you already have an AMEX Platinum card, check out the other AMEX cards, Chase military credit cards, and this month's top recommended credit card bonuses, most with no annual fees for US military personnel.

Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Melissa B

    I love the fact that you can check free. I don’t believe they should be allowed to charge you to see your own reports! Thanks for sharing!