What's the Catch?: Purchase 3 Bureau Reports

Feb 14, 2017
Credit Reports, Credit Scores, Advertising, Current Events

I saw this paid ad during a Google Search this evening:

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Hmmm…so what caught my eye? The “Purchase 3 Bureau Reports.” Many of you are probably wondering “Why purchase these reports when you can get credit reports from each of the three bureaus for FREE at annualcreditreport.com? ” and “Why would you want to buy them at the same time?” A best practice is to space out your FREE credit reports from the three credit bureaus every four months so you can be constantly monitoring them. To make matters even more confusing (or some might say misleading) the ad says in bold at the top “No Credit Card Needed” so why would I have to purchase something that is available for FREE elsewhere.

Click on “Purchase 3 Bureau Reports” and here’s what you get:

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Ok, so they are kicking in 3 FICO Scores and that must be where the value is…except the small print says “Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO Score…” This fine print may be have been added recently since Equifax and TransUnion were fined by the CFPB to the tune of $23 million for misleading consumers about value of credit scores. Oh, and now credit card companies and even one of the credit bureaus are giving away credit scores for….FREE. I wonder how many people are hitting the ORDER NOW button and spending money on items that can be obtained for FREE.


Want to teach your students to be more financially savvy? Check out the NGPF Case Study: What’s the Catch? 


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.