Verdict: Quizzle.com is a fun, user-friendly website that gives you free access to the information in your Experian credit report and your Experian credit score as calculated by CE Analytics.

Since the program is entirely free (although the integrated pop-ups encouraging me to refinance my mortgage were a bit annoying!) it’s one of those credit monitoring and budgeting programs that can’t hurt and might help.

Bottom line? Yes, it looks like you really CAN get a free Experian credit report once every 181 days through Quizzle.com. I give this site a big thumbs-up for that. But remember that you’re not getting your FICO score, so you’ll still want to access your FICO scores from TransUnion and Equifax separately through a website like MyFico.com.

Overview: Credit management and budgeting sites seem to be popping up faster than big bank checking account fees. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you have to be careful about the information you get from these sites.

While the information provided on my easy-to-read Experian credit report was all accurate to my knowledge, the credit score seemed lower than what I expected given the information in my file. In addition, the value of my home was grossly overestimated based on my knowledge of the neighborhood and information posted at Zillow.com.

The tips to improve my credit score offered by Quizzle.com were basic, one-size-fits-all recommendations like “pay your bills on time.” With a 99.97 % on-time payment rate, I don’t think that’s driving my score down substantially.

Still, a free Experian credit report every 181 days is pay dirt for credit monitoring junkies like myself, and Quizzle is a friendly site that has lots of fun-to-read and helpful content for managing your money.

Free Experian Credit Report – Really!

Sign up for a free account with Quizzle by providing your email address. Wait for an email, then click the link to open your account. Quizzle asks for a bunch of information, but not your social security number or your phone number.

Some of the information you’ll be required to provide includes your home’s purchase price, gross annual salary, and your name and address.

Then, you’ll have to verify several multiple choice questions based on information that appears in your Experian credit report. (Just like you have to do when you get your credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com).

Getting to the good stuff… once you’re signed in with your email and password, click the button to View Your Credit Report. It tells you how much time until you can view your next, updated Experian credit report, displays your CE credit score based on your Experian credit file, and also provides a letter grade of your credit profile.

The Experian credit report is extremely easy to read, with tabs you click to display: a summary of your credit report, open accounts (and their payment histories), closed accounts, negative accounts (any account with a late payment of 30 days or more), public records, and credit inquiries in the past two years.

Budgeting Features

Quizzle.com also provides budgeting and money management functions, similar to Mint.com. However, it doesn’t tie in to your checking and savings accounts, so you have to input your information manually except for your account balances on your credit cards, which is pulled from your Experian credit report.

Again, budgeting is accomplished through user-friendly, easy-to-navigate tabs for: summary, income, living expenses, debt and equity. Based on your gross income, Quizzle.com calculates your take-home pay before any tax deductions. You can input your deductions for a more accurate figure.

If you don’t mind inputting all the information yourself — and are, in fact, more comfortable doing that than tying one program into all your bank and credit card accounts — Quizzle.com is probably one of the most intuitive budgeting programs I’ve seen.

Like any type of budgeting, using Quizzle.com to full benefit takes some patience and discipline, but it can be well worth it to get a handle on your finances in 2011.


Pros:

  • Free Experian credit report (really, free!)
  • Free CE Analysts credit score
  • Intuitive interface
  • Easy-to-use online budgeting program
  • No need to share your social security number or phone number
  • Completely free program
  • Great credit management content

Cons:

  • Most budgeting must be done manually
  • Home value estimates may not be accurate
  • Does not provide your real FICO score used by lenders