After a review of Credit Kama here on FinanceGourmet, a reader asked if I would look into another service he had found called Credit Check Total at creditchecktotal.com.
Credit Check Total Review
With many financial services, the reality of the offering differs significantly from what the bold, large-type headline suggests. The Credit Check Total website leads with the bold headline that you can “see your whole credit picture” of all three credit reports and credit scores for just $1. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
Further down the page, but to their credit, not buried in the fine print, is information you need to determine if this near free credit report offer is right for you, or if Credit Check Total is a scam. It says that when you order the $1 credit reports and scores, that you will automatically, and without the ability to opt-out begin a trial membership that costs $29.95 per month.
The real trick here is that you have just a 7-day trial period. If you don’t cancel during those 7 days, then those $1 credit reports actually cost you at least $30.95.
When I looked into whether or not Credit Karma was a scam, I was on lookout for whether or not they tried to get me to enter a credit card number or bank account information. After all, there is no reason to require a billing method if your service is actually free. However, a lot of so-called “free” offers are actually trial subscriptions to a credit monitoring service. It looks like Credit Check Total’s offer might have been designed to avoid that red flag. By charging a $1 for their reports, they offer a legitimate reason to need a method of payment (and to test that it works).
There is no reason to pay $30 per month for a credit monitoring service. There are plenty out there that will do it for much less.
If that weren’t enough, the credit score offered through the creditchecktotal.com website isn’t even a real FICO credit score. The fine print says that it is calculated using the Plus Score Model and is for educational purposes only. As I have mentioned before, having the exact FICO score isn’t necessary since you should really just focus on making sure that whatever score you are using doesn’t go down. However, for $360 per year, you should at least get a FICO credit score included.
I do not recommend signing up for this service, even if you intend to cancel before the trial period is up. There is just no added value beyond getting your regular free annual credit reports.
Cancel Credit Check Total
If you go against my advice to not sign up for CreditCheck Total, then you will need to cancel your service to avoid paying a very high monthly fee.
If you insist on signing up, check to see if your credit card offers a temporary number. Many cards allow you to generate a temporary number online. Set it to expire next month, and if possible, set a maximum limit of $5. You can use a one-use number or set the limit at just $1 because they charge tax, and they do a reversible authorization on your card of $1 in addition to the actual $1 fee, probably to detect one-time use numbers.
Cancelling Credit Check Total before the trial period is up is necessary to avoid being charged the full credit monitoring service fee. Technically, you have nine days after you sign up for your $1 credit reports because it takes 48 hours for your monitoring to actually start. This is nice. At least the clock isn’t ticking while you aren’t getting anything. However, remember, this is not the typical 30-day trial that you often see for these services. In fact, the window to cancel is so short, I recommend cancelling immediately after you get your three credit reports.
How To Cancel Credit Check Total
According to the Terms of Service posted on their website, you can cancel the recurring credit monitoring service by calling 1-866-506-7894 or by using the website. Don’t wait until 5:00 p.m. on the last day as there is some fuzzy language about time zones and periods in the TOS.