Free Credit Checks Online Can Have Hidden Fees and Could Hurt Your Credit - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Free Credit Checks Online Can Have Hidden Fees and Could Hurt Your Credit

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Many companies claim they can check your credit score online for free, but that's not always the case.

Many web sites like FreeCreditReporter.Com, can have hidden fees. 

"The report is free, but the scores themselves you have to pay for," said Stephanie Kelley, with Consumer Credit Counseling in Kennewick.

Many people who have tried FreeCreditReport.Com say the ads can be deceiving.

"I've tried it once and right off the bat you know it's not free, they start giving you prices, quotas," said Marco Rodriguez, who has checking his credit on the web site.

Staff at Consumer Credit Counseling in Kennewick say your credit score doesn't change very much in a year. So checking it once every 12 months should give you a good idea of where you stand.

"If you pull it more than once a year, you're actually doing yourself a disservice because it does take a couple points off each time you look into your credit report," said Kelley.

Federal law allows you to have one free credit report a year. But every time a company runs your credit, it can affect your score, and also put you at a higher risk for identity theft.

"That's the benefit of being able to pull it up yourself, it doesn't take off 5 or 10 points, it's very subtle," said Kelley.

Still keeping your credit in good standing is the key, to staying financially afloat.

"It's a major role in getting anything out, a car to a major purchase like a home," said Rodriguez.

Consumer Credit Counseling in Kennewick will be having a class on Wednesday, September 10th on how to build a better credit. It's at 5:30 p.m. and free to the public.

There is a web site where you can get one free copy of your credit report a year. You still have to pay for your score. We've attached a link to that web site on the On Air Links Section.