UPDATE: Credit Sesame really helped my husband and I improve our credit scores...so much so that we just bought our very own house last summer!!
Since then, I've joined quite a few credit monitoring/credit score websites, but we never stayed with them very long. I've come across quite a few sites that claim to offer 100% free credit scores, but so many seem to pull the bait and switch trick and start charging monthly fees that it can be a little hard to find the valid offers.
That's why I was super happy to stumble across CreditSesame in 2011, and it's been one of my favorite sites ever since. Their site is always free and secure to use. There are no credit cards required, no trial periods and no gotchas once you sign up. You can track your Experian credit score every month and they'll give you a complete savings analysis of your debt.
Credit Sesame sends you updates on your credit score (going up or down) and they explain how different factors impact your score (so you know what areas to improve and which to maintain) along with great advice. Here's a snapshot from my account so you can see what I mean...
I think it's super important to be aware of what's going on in your credit report. Not only can you catch mistakes and possible identity theft, but it can help keep you on track (or even improve) your financial situation. Since my hubby and I started monitoring our reports a few years back, a lot has changed. He was able to correct the inaccuracies on his report that were lowering his score. I was able to correct some info as well and saw areas I needed to improve. It also serves as a big motivation to pay off and pay down old debt to watch our credit scores go up :)
This wasn't always the case though. In the beginning (when my score was hovering at just over 500), there wasn't much we could do to improve our numbers except check for inaccuracies when I was out of work and my husband's hours were getting cut. Once our situation started improving, we made it a goal to do our best to apply extra income to debt.
Of course, there are times when I'd rather take a vacation or spend the money on new clothes, but it pays off in the end. Using coupons has helped us save a lot and we just put those savings towards debt as well. We are almost in the clear (aside from those pesky student loans), and it feels good, even though it's been a long process.
CreditSesame has helped me to stay on track and I definitely recommend signing up with them if you're looking to monitor or improve your debt/credit situation too :) No credit card required EVER. :)