No. of Recommendations: 6
A few hopefully helpful notes:

Trans Union is the only CRA that automatically includes (i.e., no extra cost) a credit score with each consumer report -- whether the reports are mailed or obtained online. Keep in mind, though, that the credit score provided to consumers by Trans Union is what they call the "Trans Risk Score" and is not what they provide to potential creditors and others with what the FCRA calls "permissable purpose" see when they pull your credit. What those people see is the "Trans Union Empirica Score" which is provided by the Fair, Isaac Company (FICO). Again, Trans Union does not provide your actual FICO score, which is almost always LOWER than the "Trans Risk Score" because the former is on an 850 scale while the latter tops out at 950. Strange but true.

Experian will provide a proprietary consumer score, again NOT the actual FICO score (in their case the "Experian/Fair Isaac Score"). However, this consumer score is not included with reports that are mailed to customers; it is offered as a package online -- $12.95 for a one-time occurrence or $79.95 for a full year of unlimited reports and scores. Note that the actual FICO score is usually HIGHER than the wanna-be score provided by Experian to consumers, even though they share the same 850-point scale.

Equifax, on the other hand, will sell your actual FICO score (actually the "Equifax FICO Beacon Score") for a nominal fee. They give consumers the option of buying either a credit report at $8.95 or a credit report with FICO score at $12.95 (as well as some bulk packages like "Credit Watch" which offer unlimited reports and scores for $69.95/year -- see Equifax.com). Note that Equifax is the ONLY credit reporting agency that shares the actual FICO scores with consumers which potential lenders/employers/underwriters see as well. Like Experian, though, this score is only available online.

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