These reports, in contrast to the free versions provided at AnnualCreditReport.com, included our credit scores. The scale for these Experian-based scores ranges from 150 to 930. Before anyone asks, both of our scores were in the mid-800s.
(The maxed-out credit card account I use for 0% arbitrage is indeed dinging our scores, just as I knew it would. But with no plans for any new borrowing anytime soon, I couldn't care less about the lowered scores. I'll take the easy money afforded by the arbitrage play.)
Along with the credit reports, ITShield also sent an 8-page pamphlet, "Making the Most of Your Credit Report: Your Personal Guide." It contained a summary of consumer rights due under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a how-to section on spotting signs of identity theft in your report, some simple guidelines for monitoring your credit, and some other basic information.
The report packets also contained two letter-sized informational pages meant to help us decipher our credit reports. The "Understanding Your Credit Report: Credit Report Key" is actually very good — probably the best two pages I've seen for showing consumers what every data point on each credit-report entry means. Every bit of info on the credit report is number-keyed to a description of its meaning and significance.
The second sheet, "Understanding Your Credit Score," is pretty standard. It's also two pages long. I'll describe it as just a pared-down explanation of what a credit score is, how it affects your life, and what data it takes into account. (Mostly it's the sort of info that's on my FICO page.) It lists a few positive steps consumers can take to improve their overall credit standing (e.g., remove inaccuracies, catch up on late payments, etc.).
Overall, I was impressed with the speed at which ITShield got the credit reports into my hands. I've only been a member for a few weeks, after all. The information which accompanied the reports might prove helpful to anyone coming "fresh" to the world of credit reports and scores. I imagine, however, that regular readers of personal-finance blogs such as this one are already well-ahead of the curve when it comes to familiarity with the credit-reporting world.
Posts In This Series:
Part 1: Signed Up For Pre-Paid Legal
Part 2: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 2 (Identity Theft Shield)
Part 3: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 3 (Identity Theft Shield)
Part 4: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 4 (IdentityTheft Shield)