Today I received a piece of junk mail from PNC Bank that left me livid. It was an advertisement that claimed I was “eligible to review” a free credit report if I signed up for their credit report monitoring service. Here is the exact wording:
As a PNC Bank customer, you are eligible to review your Free Credit Report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies when you activate the Identity Protect Plus service at no cost for the first 30 days of service.
What made me so angry is that PNC deliberately left out the fact that every American is eligible to receive a free credit report by law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that every American is entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the major credit reporting agencies. You don’t need to sign up for any overpriced and unnecessary banking services to receive a free credit report. What PNC is essentially doing here is citing a federal law to make it seem like they’re personally giving you one heck of an offer. How sleazy.
As a PNC customer for over ten years, I am extremely insulted and disappointed that this is how I am rewarded for my loyalty. Instead of looking out for their customer’s best financial interests, they are trying to sell a crock of bullshit in an attempt to squeeze $12.99/month out of me. That’s what ten years of my business is worth to PNC. It’s this kind of behavior that last month drove Americans to join credit unions in record numbers.
Shame on you PNC.
Shame on you Brandon Ziroe (the man who signed this letter).
How to Get a Free Credit Report Without the BS
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Americans are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can request free credit reports from all three agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com. This website is owned and operated by the three credit reporting agencies mentioned above and is trustworthy. It is the only legitimate third-party website that offers you the opportunity to request all three credit reports for free.
Anyone else that is offering you a free credit report is either trying to sell you something or is outright scamming you. It’s important to remember this because there are a lot of shady companies and scammers who prey on consumer ignorance about credit reports. Even trusted financial institutions like PNC Bank aren’t above using these sleazy tactics. Get your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com or the credit reporting bureaus directly, and don’t trust anyone else.