Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Going Cash Only: Credit Where It’s Due

There is a super secret number that shady business people whisper behind our backs. Once a year we’re all allowed to see the report they use to come up with the number, but if you want to see the number itself, you have to pay.

I just tried to go through the process to see my score but I got so fed up with TransUnion’s tactics that I gave up. I can even tell you the exact moment when I decided they could fold up the whole thing and jam it up their suit coats.

I was going through the steps to see my credit score, starting with annualcreditreport.com, which is the non-scammy starting point of choice. Don’t confuse it with FreeCreditReport.com, which only takes your name and address and then dumps a truckload of eels through your front window.

Eels used to punish consumers for trusting businesses. PHOTO: Stephen Walli
You don’t want that to happen, believe me. Not only are eels gross, they have terrible attitudes.

I have a Risk Score of STFU

You have to leave annualcreditreport.com during the process, though, and sign into one of the credit reporting companies sites. I was on step two or three of confirming my identity with TransUnion, whom I picked because they were first on the list, when I saw a round orange informational message which said something along these lines:

James, you have a risk score of 258. Continue signing up to read more.

So you’re telling me, TransUnion, that you’ve already reached deep into the slimy depths of your stupid files and retrieved my “Risk Score” before I’ve even finished proving that I am me? On top of that, if it’s that easy to get my information why can’t you just tell me my stupid credit score and be done with it? Why do I have to go through 9 million steps and pay $14.95 a month?

My answer: No Credit

This is why I am cash only. I mean, I have debit cards that make life easy because I don’t have to carry cash around, but I have no credit cards and no loans. I do worry about what that means in terms of being able to buy a house someday, but I haven’t had to buy one yet.

I don’t mind paying someone for their services. If I needed to borrow money to buy a house, I would not begrudge the lender charging me interest because that’s how business works. You provide someone a valuable service and get a little value for yourself by doing so. What I mind is businesses who prey on their own customers with sneaky tactics and hidden fees. I’m not too worried about it, though. I think they’re finally getting theirs thanks to increased customer communication.

God help me if I ever do buy a home. Eels everywhere, I have no doubt.

5 thoughts on “Going Cash Only: Credit Where It’s Due”

  1. Adam

    As a rule, if it has a catchy jingle it will probably leave you bruised and bloody in a gutter. Most likely covered in eels. The shrieking ones.

  2. jim

    You make a solid point.

  3. Brunks

    1. Who the hell is this ‘James’ character that you’re pretending to be?
    2. It is possible to get a home loan with a credit score of zero – you have to have a manual underwriting of the loan, or something like that – basically a person and not a computer reviews you. Dave Ramsey FTW!

  4. Michael Hawkins

    You are legally guaranteed free acess to your credit score. As you mentioned, there are slimey sites like FreeCreditReport (with odious spokemen like Ben Stein), but they all have to let you get your score free of charge. What they do, though, is make you enter your debit or credit card information so they can bill you for some BS service no one needs or wants. To avoid all that, they require that you go through the tediousness of their intentionally complicated and long-winded automated phone system in order to cancel. To that, I say two things: First, who knew phones still made calls? Second, eels.

  5. Felix Sargent

    I found http://www.creditkarma.com to be okay, and they don’t spam me with eels either. They just like marketing to people with good or bad credit, but its all on the website, not via e-mail or letters etc.