When your credit score is bad, it seems like everyone is out to get you. If you search the internet for ”free credit score” or ”credit repair” you're likely to get inundated by advertisers and unscrupulous products. Everyone, it seems, wants to guarantee you good credit, make your life easier, and wash your problems away. For a price, of course.

Don't listen to them. You can get your credit information for free, and start rebuilding your credit score without the help of subscription services and expensive credit or financial counselors. All you have to know is what to do, and where to go.

Free Credit Reports

You see the advertisements on TV all the time. Some of them come with catchy songs, or cute animals, or funny presenters. All of them say you can get your credit report for free if you just use their service. Those commercials cost money, and you better believe these companies will give you a tough sales pitch to get you to pay for the information you are entitled to get for free anyway.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that gives every consumer the right to look at their credit report once a year, free of charge. This law requires the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to allow consumers easy access to these reports. The Federal Trade Commission has set up a website: annualcreditreport.com, where you can get your report for free. Just go there and fill out the information, and you can get your credit report free of charge.

Free Credit Scores

Credit scores are just as important to your finances as your credit report, but unfortunately, no law guarantees you access to these numbers. Why? Because the scores are based on mathematical calculations using the information in your credit report. While the reports are subject to the FCRA, the scores are proprietary, meaning the companies that come up with them own them like any other intellectual property.

There aren't a lot of places that offer free credit scores and actually provide them. However, creditkarma.com is one that actually does it for free, and it is reputable. The site has an A- rating by the Better Business Bureau, and has been monitored since May of 2008. Just go to the site, request your credit score info, provide the required information, and you'll have it without any cost to you.

Free Credit Repair

By far the easiest of the three areas to do for free is credit repair. You don't have to pay others to do it for you. All you have to do is take the right steps. To repair your credit, pay your bills on time, reduce your credit card debt to below 30 percent of your credit limit, and don't open a lot of new credit lines.

The most important factor is making timely payments. This can't be repeated enough. Paying your bills on time is the easiest and best way to start repairing your credit score. Of course, it will also help if you pay off a couple of credit card balances. Start by paying the card with the highest interest rate, and pay double or triple the monthly minimum until the balance is gone. Then work on the next highest. Keep doing this, and your scores will steadily increase.