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Overview: There are a lot of companies that offer you free credit reports and free credit scores if you subscribe to a free trial offer of their credit monitoring service. SafeCreditScore.com is one of these. But there’s not a lot about this company that makes it stand out amidst the other choices in credit monitoring services.
Verdict: The website doesn’t reveal a unique selling point that would convince buyers to select SafeCreditScore.com over the hundreds (or thousands?) of competitors. The implication based on the name is that your personal information will be more secure (i.e., “safe”) with this company; but security should be the least of what a credit monitoring service offers its customers.
The cost for the credit monitoring service is high, at $29.95. And nowhere on the site does it advertise that you will receive your FICO score, which is the score most lenders use to determine your credit worthiness. It doesn’t specify which score you will receive. Also, you’re only getting a 3-in-1 credit report, not individual reports from all three agencies.
How it works: When you hit the home page of SafeCreditScore.com, you’re asked for your name and email address in order to “get your free credit score.” There is no pricing information on this page, and no indication of the costs after your “Free Credit Score Complete Trial Membership” ends — or how long the trial membership lasts, for that matter. I understand the concept of free trial memberships, but I’d like to know upfront how much I’ll pay if I forget to cancel the service — or decide I actually like it and want to keep it.
If you input your name and email address, you’re taken to a second screen. Here, you’ll see the very fine print on the left side of the screen that details the agreement. The trial period lasts only 7 days and, after that, you’ll be charged $29.95 for the credit monitoring service, called Credit Score Complete. You’ll also be charged a $1 refundable processing fee in order to receive your free credit score and 3-in-1 credit report.
Credit Score Complete also offers a special program with its partner, Your Savings Club, a shopping and savings program that offers up to 10% discounts on gift cards for stores and restaurants. When you sign up for Credit Score Complete, you’ll automatically gain membership into this club. But it’s not free; it costs $2 per month. The membership in Your Savings Club pays for itself if you buy one $20 gift card per month. If you’re looking for savings, you can find better deals through Restaurants.com, which frequently offers restaurant gift cards at up to 50% off.
If you just want your free credit report and 3-in-1 report, you can order these, cancel within seven days and pay nothing. Stock up on gift cards during that time period if you want, too. You must cancel your Credit Score Complete membership separately from your membership in Your Savings Club, meaning you have to call two separate 800 numbers and listen to two separate sales pitches from companies who want to keep you as a customer.
To their credit, the 800 numbers to cancel are listed clearly in the fine print, which is a benefit. A note in the fine print also “reminds” you to request your $1 refundable processing fee when you cancel.
- Toll-free number to cancel listed clearly on the order page
- Easy-to-use interface
- Does not list pricing on home page
- Seven-day trial membership is shorter than the industry average
- Service is more expensive than comparable services
- Customers also receive membership in Your Savings Club, which they may not want
- Must cancel Credit Score Complete and Your Savings Club separately
- Dead links on the “About” page of the website and typos on other pages look unprofessional
- Very little information about credit monitoring service offered on the website
SafeCreditScore.com does not inspire confidence. If you want credit monitoring, access to all three of your credit reports plus all three FICO scores, CreditShout.com has recommended Identity Guard or MyFICO.com in the past. These services provide legitimate FICO scores — not other credit scores — at reasonable prices, plus credit reports from all three agencies.
Remember, though, you can also get all three of your credit reports free once every 12 months simply by contacting the three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax directly, or by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.
AnnualCreditReport.com is not a fee-based credit monitoring service. It’s the portal to request your credit report from each credit reporting agency once each year, and is one of 3 ways to get a free credit report with no hidden fees.