Monitoring Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Bad credit can result in unfavorable interest rates that cost you thousands when you take out a mortgage, a car loan or a student loan. It could block you from leasing that apartment you’ve been pining for. And it can be a black mark on your record that even prevents you from landing your dream job.

So it pays to know the essentials of your credit report and related score, the behaviors that can make your score rise or plummet, and the services that help you monitor your credit.

Your credit report is a summary of your borrowing and repayment history—any new accounts, closed accounts, unpaid bills, late bills, and other activity. If you have a loan, mortgage or credit card, it will show up here. Your credit report provides the basis for your credit score.

Your credit score (also called your Fair I saac Corp. (FICO) score) is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 calculated from a formula that’s designed to gauge your creditworthiness. The three main credit-reporting agencies (Equifax Inc., Experian PLC, and TransUnion) buy the formula from Fair Isaac. The bureaus use your personal data and crunch the numbers differently, so your score will vary slightly at each agency. When a lender considers your application for credit, they turn to one (or all) of the credit agencies for your score, which indicates your reliability as a borrower.

Here are a few ingredients of a credit score:

Payment History: Whether you pay your bills on time, including credit cards, student loans, utility bills, or any other lender or service provider that reports to the big three agencies. Getting this right is easy: don’t blow the due date.

Amounts owed: The breakdown of your credit balances, and how they compare to the limits of what you’re allowed to take out. If you’re maxed out, it can hurt.

Years of credit: The age on your accounts. The longer your credit history, the better lenders can gauge your ability to repay. Unfortunately, the formula knocks young borrowers who don’t have an established, detailed history.

New credit: How many accounts have you opened recently, and how many lenders have inquired about your credit? The more activity, the more it appears you’re about to go on a debt binge.

Types of credit: The mix of accounts you hold, such as auto loans, credit cards, student loans, or mortgages.

In general, higher credit scores equate to lower interest rates, meaning less cash you’ll have to fork over during the life of a loan. Recently, credit experts think any score above 720 will get you the optimum interest rate. In 2007, the national average FICO score is 723, and 58% of Americans have a score higher than 700, according to Fair Isaac.

Remember that your credit score is important, but it’s not the sole factor in whether you get approved for a loan, credit card, or other forms of credit. Most lenders also look at your annual income, employment history, and other factors.

With many consumers worried about shaky credit—especially with the threat of identity theft and credit card fraud—many financial institutions, companies, and the credit bureaus themselves are pitching products that guard your credit. Their credit monitoring services watch for new accounts, a surge in balances, or other changes to your accounts. Some will produce detailed reports about your credit score and suggest ways to make it more attractive to lenders.

Don’t confuse credit monitoring with identity theft protection. Credit card fraud is just a piece of the larger problem of identity theft. Paying someone to monitor your credit will not halt identity theft or unauthorized uses of your Social Security number or other personal data, although it can help you detect problems before they escalate.

Do You Need Credit Monitoring?

The thought of a thief running up huge credit-card debts in your name is frightening. But credit-monitoring firms are banking on that fear, especially if you’re already a victim of a data breach. Before you shell out $100 (or more) per year for a credit watchdog, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Maybe you know that you won’t keep adequate watch yourself. Perhaps you’re applying for a mortgage and want to make sure your credit remains pristine. Or you could just be obsessed with the idea of credit fraud. If so, credit monitoring might be worth the peace of mind.

If you’re on the fence about whether you need credit monitoring, consider these self-serve approaches for protecting your credit:

Watch your bank and credit card statements for fishy transactions — Make a habit of scanning your financial accounts daily, or at least weekly. Some creditors will even allow you to set up your own free alerts to notify you when online transactions are made on your account or when a purchase exceeds a specified amount.

Keep an eye on your credit report — By law, you’re entitled to a free report every year from each of the three bureaus, so you might as well order a different one every four months. Scan it for abnormal activity, such as accounts or credit cards you didn’t open. You can order the report through each agency, or at annualcreditreport.com. Don’t fall for the add-ons; you just want the score.

If you’re curious about your credit score, you might be able to access it for free. Many banks don’t offer this perk—instead they’ll package your score with inflated charts and graphs and make you pay for it. But it doesn’t hurt to ask for it. Another tack is to ask an inquirer (car salesman, credit card company, or landlord) for a peek at your score. They’ll pull your score before doing business with you, and might share it if you ask nicely.

You can also take other common-sense measures, such as protecting your credit accounts online and shredding sensitive documents, to help prevent fraud. It’s good to know that you have the power to control your credit without paying someone else to do it. Remember, annualcreditreport.com is where to order your free credit report.

How to Picking the Right Service and Boosting Your Credit Score

You should base your buying decision on how comprehensive you want the monitoring to be and what you’re willing to pay for it. If you’re conscientious about your credit, there are many common-sense steps you can take yourself to keep your credit healthy. In that case, credit monitoring may not be worth the extra money.

The big three credit agencies all offer products that will try to detect fraud and generate your credit score. Each provides a variety of packages depending on how vigilant you want them to be. Many banks offer similar services — look around, you might be able to get a better offer through your financial institution. And the identity-theft players, like LifeLock and TrustedID, also pitch credit monitoring as part of their ID theft protection services.

Make sure you consider the cost before signing on. Some services charge as much as $50 monthly to keep tabs on your credit, which can total $600 annually. Weigh that expense against your odds of suffering credit card fraud. By one estimate, identity theft touches 3 percent of Americans each year—with credit card fraud just a fraction of that number.

Finally, watch out for the bureaus promoting fancy scores that purport to measure your credit risk by some reconfigured formula. You only want the FICO score, the same one lenders request. The other so-called FAKO scores—like Experian’s PLUS score, TransUnion’s TransRisk score or Experian’s Credit ScoreTracker—are money drains. They’ll just confuse you about where you really stand. If you just want your score, you can order it through Fair Isaac.

If you’re merely looking to keep your credit in good health, it’s not too tricky. Limit your credit cards, set up automated payments to pay your bills on time, space out when you apply for loans and accounts, avoid maxing out your credit cards and carrying unpaid balances. And keep it up for years and years. In short, don’t go nuts with credit, and you should be fine.

If you’re paying for credit monitoring or just doing it on your own, be sure to report any errors you spot in your report. Contact the agency that sent you the report—each of them has a process for reporting errors. Incorrect info can be damaging to your credit.


Top Credit Monitoring Services 2017

Credit monitoring services are increased in popularity with the advancement of the internet, online shopping and the alarming rates of credit fraud, identity theft & data breaches. These services provide members with early alerting of any changes in their credit reports as well as alerts if unauthorized loans or credit cards are opened in the account holders name. They also serve as excellent tools to keep track of your credit report & scores as you try to improve your credit rating or correct errors found on your reports The quality, options and pricing vary with each monitoring service, but we’ve compiled ten of the major credit monitoring services available today. Many offer free trials for you to test the monitoring service before you commit to a monthly plan. Pricing ranges from free to $29.00 / month depending on the level of monitoring you want to have.

The best credit monitoring service

  • Comprehensive daily 3 bureau credit monitoring
  • Prompt text, phone & email fraud alerts
  • Public record monitoring with alerting
  • Multiple monthly subscription plans available
  • Top rated customer service
  • Free Android & iPhone app
  • 1 million dollars identity theft loss insurance
  • Free 30 Day Trial / $16.99 per month ( Save $3.00/month when you sign up here )

The best credit monitoring service

  • All in one credit & identity monitoring protection
  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • Proactive 3 bureau credit monitoring
  • Fraud, bank account, SSN, credit card, & court record monitoring
  • 3 bureau credit reports, 4 times per year
  • Monthly credit score tracker
  • High customer service rating
  • 1 million dollars identity theft loss insurance
  • Free 14 Day Trial / $14.65 per month

The best credit monitoring service

  • 24/7 complete credit monitoring
  • Trusted company in business since 2005
  • Full identity theft restoration services
  • Social security number monitoring
  • Banking transaction monitoring
  • Black market enterprise website monitoring
  • Monthly credit report access
  • 1 million dollars identity theft loss insurance**
  • Free 30 Day Trial +10% off your subscription price.

The best credit monitoring service

  • Experian Identity Works by the trusted Experian credit bureau
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Daily monitoring & fraud detection
  • Rapid identity theft resolution services
  • Experian credit report access
  • 1 million dollars identity theft loss insurance*
  • Free 30 DayTrial /$19.95 month subscription plan after trial**

The best credit monitoring service

  • Run by the trusted TransUnion credit bureau
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Daily monitoring & fraud detection
  • New credit account alerting
  • Online data breach & internet protection
  • Instant alerts sent to your email
  • TransUnion credit report access
  • Free mobile app for iPhone & Android devices
  • $1.00 7 Day Trial /$19.99 month subscription plan after trial

The best credit monitoring service

  • Equifax credit bureau official credit monitoring service
  • Plan & pricing options for most budgets
  • Daily monitoring & fraud detection
  • Identity theft resolution services
  • Lost wallet protection
  • Fast fraud alerts
  • Access to your FICO score
  • Monthly Subscriptions Begin at $19.95

The best credit monitoring service

*Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

What is a Credit Monitoring Service?

Most consumers now are very much conscious of the value of keeping an excellent credit history. The data reported on your personal credit history may ascertain whether you’re accepted for credit and whether or not you receive a low interest rate.

So what do you do if the information appearing in your credit report is erroneous? Before you can do anything, you need to be aware that you have a problem in the first place. If you don’t check your credit score/report regularly, it could be months before you even know that you have been the subject of identity theft or fraud. This is where a solid credit monitoring service can help.

In today’s hectic world, most people are willing to pay someone else to provide a service they are unable to do themselves. Monitoring your credit independently is certainly an option, but for a small monthly fee you can be part of a comprehensive credit monitoring service that will do the tedious work for you and alert you if there are any issues with your credit report, such as fraud, identity theft, unauthorized accounts etc.

How Does a Credit Monitoring Plan Work?

Each credit-monitoring service is distinct, nevertheless the methodology stays the same over the business. Most monitoring agencies will notify you if they spot inconsistencies within your credit activity and review the data that’s reported to all 3 credit bureaus. Because dubious activity may signify fraud or identity theft, the credit-monitoring service notifies you within 24-hours (or earlier) to help reduce the problems caused when your private information falls into hands of an identity thief.

Is Credit-Monitoring Worth the Price?

There are basically two schools of thought concerning the cost-effectiveness of most credit monitoring plans. Many consider the price to be too much for something that many people could execute themselves. Credit card companies have dedicated services in place to help decrease fraud and there are several other safeguards which can be in place to cut your chance of id theft.

Customers can decide to take more hands on approach in reviewing their credit history and other action noted in monthly credit statements. This will definitely save you money, however, if your credit-monitoring service detects action may have otherwise gone undetected, the service has more than paid for itself by saving the customer hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars, plus the hassles and headaches caused by a case of identity theft. It’s important to remember that it could take years for a victim of identity theft to recuperate both emotionally and fiscally. Weigh all of these options when considering if a credit monitoring service plan is right for your situation.

Financial experts are divided with regards to their opinions about how useful credit monitoring services can be to subscribers. Most experts agree that certain credit monitoring services are more beneficial for some consumers. For example, if you just want to monitor your credit to ensure that you do not become a victim of fraud, a basic monitoring plan may work for you. Individuals who are preparing to make a major purchase, and those who simply want to improve their credit rating can benefit from more extensive credit monitoring services. Consumers must weigh the cost of monitoring plans with the benefits they expect to receive from the service.

The most basic credit monitoring plans will send a text message or email to the subscriber when an inquiry is made on their credit report. A basic plan generally monitors one of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax or Experian. You are notified if someone attempts to use your credit information to open an unauthorized account. However, because only one credit bureau is monitored, you are only notified if an inquiry is made on your account with the single credit bureau.

In-Depth Credit Monitoring Services

The credit monitoring plans that provide more in-depth monitoring and protection tend to cost more, as expected. These deluxe plans monitor all three credit bureaus for inquiries and changes to your account. Recently, however, even more in-depth monitoring is becoming available through credit monitoring companies. Some companies offer subscriptions that include monitoring of public records, databases, websites and telephone records.

The best credit monitoring service

Consumers should shop around to find the best monitoring service that meets their needs for the price. The most basic plans can be found for under $10 per month, and the most deluxe plans are generally offered for under $30 per month. For low cost plans, generally only one credit bureau is monitored. Most deluxe plans monitor all three credit reporting agencies, and possibly additional data sources.

Contrast and compare plans based on your individual needs. If you suspect that you may be a possible fraud victim, you probably want to monitor all three credit bureaus for a period of time. For example, if you received a notification from a company that states your Social Security number was compromised due to an intrusion, you may need to monitor your credit report from each of the three agencies for six months to a year after the breach. If you are in preparations to make a large purchase, you may want to monitor your credit report from all three agencies for several months before you apply for the loan. Your credit monitoring needs will change over time. Make sure that your credit monitoring plan is flexible enough to allow you to change the plan, if needed, without additional charges.

What Credit Monitoring Does Not Find

Identity theft can take many forms. Credit monitoring will alert you if your credit bureau data is accessed or if your information changes. However, identity thieves can be very creative when stealing and using a consumer’s identity information. An identity thief can use your information to get a job or to open a cell phone account. Generally, neither of these activities is reported to a credit bureau. Most utility companies do not report to the major credit bureaus. Therefore, if your information gets into the wrong hands, even credit monitoring is not foolproof for protecting you against fraud.

Credit monitoring services are valuable for many consumers. However, the cost of these services can range from under $100 to over $350 per year. There are a few steps you can take to monitor your own credit report and save the cost of a credit monitoring subscription.

By law, every consumer in the U.S. is entitled to receive one free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. The three credit reporting agencies have joined forces to create the AnnualFreeCreditReport.com site. Through this website, you can order your free report from each of the three agencies. The website also provides instructions for ordering your credit reports over the phone or by mail.

Each credit bureau allows you to place a freeze on your credit account. Placing a freeze on your credit account prevents anyone, including creditors, from accessing your account for a specified period of time. Credit bureaus generally charge a small fee, such as $10, to freeze a consumer’s credit account. You can pay another small fee to temporarily lift the freeze if you need to make a purchase or complete a credit application.

All three credit bureaus offer fraud alerts. You can place a 90 day fraud alert on your credit account. When an alert is placed on your account, you are notified when your credit report is accessed or if changes are reported. Additional identification is required if someone attempts to open a credit account in your name, as well.

Each of the three credit bureaus offers credit monitoring plans based on their service. However, each of the reporting agencies also offers monitoring products that monitor all three agencies. If you are in favor of purchasing a credit monitoring plan from one of the major credit bureaus, read the fine print to understand what the plan covers. Credit monitoring plans through the credit bureaus tend to be available for competitive rates.

Consider a few guidelines when shopping for a credit monitoring service:

When shopping for a credit monitoring plan, do you need a plan that monitors all three credit agencies, or do you just need to keep an eye on your credit score from one agency over time? If you are in the process of cleaning up your credit, you probably need a service that provides regular reports from all three agencies.

Some credit monitoring plans offer a “credit score” once per month. It is important that you understand this score. Is the score the actual FICO score that the credit bureau uses for inquiring creditors, or is the score a proprietary score designed to be similar to the FICO score? Will your plan provide you with regular full credit reports, or will the plan provide only one score each month? Also, take note of how many times you can access your credit report or score. Most plans allow you unlimited access to at least one report during the course of your plan.

You likely prefer to do business with companies that have a long and successful track record. As with any company, you should check to see how long the credit monitoring service you are considering has been in business. Reputable companies exist, but many shady credit monitoring services abound, as well. Do your homework to find a credit monitoring service that has been in business for an extended period of time. Brand-name companies are likely to be more reputable than companies you have never heard of.

An excellent company will have an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau. In addition, the Better Business Bureau website hosts comments and reviews from customers of each company. Check out the BBB rating and customer reviews for the credit monitoring companies you consider.

Avoid companies that promise to “clean up your credit” for you, or promise to “prevent you from being an identity theft victim.” Claims such as these are unrealistic. No company can make these claims with any certainty. Companies that claim to be able to clean up your credit or protect you from identity theft may end up becoming a potential cause of a problem instead of the solution.

Because the need for credit monitoring is growing exponentially from year to year, your choices in credit monitoring services and plans are vast. Many credit card companies, home security services, credit unions and other institutions are now offering credit monitoring services. Check with companies that you already do business with when shopping for a credit monitoring plan. First, however, determine your needs for such a plan, and then shop around to select the best plan that meets your needs for the best price.

****Service Guarantee benefits for State of Washington members are provided under a Master Insurance Policy issued by United Specialty Insurance Company. Benefits for all other members are provided under a Master Insurance Policy underwritten by State National Insurance Company. Under the Service Guarantee LifeLock will spend up to $1 million to hire experts to help your recovery. Please see the policy for terms, conditions and exclusions at LifeLock.com/legal.

In regards to the new FTC regulations, we are making this page to be compliant with 100% transparency regarding disclosure of incentive and paid reviews. Some pages on this site has been created to generate revenue. This site generates income through banner advertisements and affiliate links on product reviews.


Citi Credit Monitoring Service Review

The best credit monitoring serviceWhile I was perusing the transaction history for one of my Citi credit cards, I noticed a banner ad at the bottom touting a credit monitoring service for $8.95/month (30% off their normal price of $12.95).

If you have a Citi card and login to your account, there’s a good chance you will see this promotional offer, too. But is it worth it?

Well, the price of $8.95 is definitely not a ripoff when compared to the $14.99 to $29.95 that some credit monitoring services will charge you. So I decided to review it for myself.

After I clicked on that banner I am taking to a page which says this:

Your credit score can affect your finances. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates could be. See how healthy your credit is with Citi IdentityMonitor. For just $1 for the first 30 days, then only $8.95 a month (30% off the regular monthly price of $12.95), you’ll get all these benefits and more:

  • Stay informed about certain changes to your credit file with alerts that could be potential indicators of fraud or theft so you can stop fraud in its tracks.
  • View your reports and scores on your time with 24/7 access
  • Access to 3-in-1 credit reports, credit scores and monitoring based on data from the three leading credit bureaus
  • Explore how your credit may change based on your credit actions

So the Citi credit monitoring service is actually more than just credit. They claim they’re alert you in the event of fraud, too (we’ll find out in a minute what that means).

Below their pitch is a field to enter your Social Security number and birthday:

The best credit monitoring service

Then under that are Terms of Service that you have to agree to before clicking submit:

I authorize Intersections, Inc., a service provider of Citi, to obtain my credit files and information from the credit reporting agency(ies) in order to provide my credit report to me and to monitor my credit files for as long as I am enrolled in Citi® IdentityMonitor®. I confirm that I am requesting my own personal information and no other.

Hmm… who is Intersections, Inc? I checked out their website and it looks like they specialize solely in credit monitoring and identity theft.

The own/operate IdentityGuard, which interestingly enough charges $16.99 for their cheapest plan that offers 3 bureau credit scores + monitoring. That’s more than Citi credit monitoring, so I guess it’s cheaper to get the service through Citibank (the plans aren’t identical, but close enough).

By clicking the Enroll Now button, I understand the $1 fee for the first 30 days and then the monthly fee for Citi® IdentityMonitor® – which is only $8.95 – will be automatically billed to this credit card. I may cancel at any time by calling 1-866-279-9637 and my membership will continue until the end of my current paid period.

I can handle one buck. So I agree and click submit.

After agreeing to the last page I get redirected to the “Citi Identity Monitor” page where I have to confirm who I am by answering 5 questions such as who I have a loan from, what my middle name is, etc. After that rigmarole, I create a user/pass and then enter my account.

The best credit monitoring service

As you see, the website is pretty basic and no frills, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Citi credit monitoring generates my report – one from each bureau – and the data is displayed side-by-side in 3 columns:

The best credit monitoring service

I actually really like the way they present the info to you. By having the 3 reports displayed next to each other, you can quickly see discrepancies. If I had to review the 3 credit reports in separate documents, there might be a discrepancy I would otherwise not notice.

You get to view all the info on you credit reports:

  • Public Records
  • Collection Items
  • Consumer Statement (if applicable)
  • Inquiries
  • Personal Information (incl. employment)
  • Creditor Contact Information
  • Account Information

Now in this section, Citi doesn’t do a very good job explaining what you’re getting. Will you be getting a credit score generated using data from each of the 3 credit bureaus? Yes. But will this score be a FICO? No.

The best credit monitoring service

Citibank gives you a score that runs on a 350 to 850 scale (FICO is 300 to 850). So what type of score are we getting? Well if you look in the fine print at the bottom of the page you will get the answer: “CreditXpert Credit Score”

The best credit monitoring service

For me, these 3 “CreditXpert” scores did correlate relatively close to my real FICOs – within 10 to 15 points. But just because it correlated closely for me doesn’t mean you will necessarily experience the same thing. Remember they’re using a different credit score type, with a different formula than FICO.

So how useful are these scores? Well if you just want a good idea of where you stand, then credit monitoring from Citi might be useful. However, if you actually need to know your credit score because you’re about to apply for a mortgage/loan, then you really should be getting your true FICO instead since that’s what will be used in the lending decision.

Part Five: Credit Monitoring & Alerts

When I clicked the tab for Citibank credit monitoring I was shown this:

The best credit monitoring service

So apparently, you are enrolled in alerts for all of these things by default. And what if you don’t want to be alerted about everything? Too bad, because it appears Citi’s credit monitor service doesn’t let you customize the alerting.

How good does it work? That I cannot say, since I didn’t have any activity during my trial that would have triggered one of these monitoring alerts.

To be honest I didn’t fool around with this feature much, so I don’t know how useful it is. They describe it as a tool that let’s you estimate the potential impact on your credit score by doing things like paying down debt, increasing debt, paying on time, and about a dozen other scenarios.

Aspects of this will be useful for some, but I really don’t think you need to use a simulation tool to say, find out that paying your accounts on time will increase your credit score.

Part Seven: Identity Theft Expense Reimbursement Insurance

This benefit provides up to:

  • No coverage for FL
  • $10,000 in coverage if you’re in AK, HI, NY, OH, PA and WA
  • $25,000 in coverage for other states

You can read the details of the insurance policy here. In a nutshell this coverage pays for the time/expense involved in correcting identity theft. It does not reimburse you for any money that was stolen from you.

Is Citi Identity Monitor worth it or not?

Well $12.95 (the normal price) means you would be paying $155.40 per year. For the $8.95 price tag that equals $107.40 annually. Both of those amounts are obviously not a small chunk of change. So you will have to review the pro/cons to determine whether it’s worth it.

For me personally, I only signed up for Citi’s credit monitoring services for research and writing this review. I called and cancelled during the 30 day trial, so it only ended up costing me $1.

Unfortunately you can’t cancel Citi Identity Monitor online. You will have to call 1-866-279-9637. It’s not a 24 hour line; 8 am to 11 pm M-F and 9 am to 6 pm (all times EST).

When I called on a Saturday to cancel after a woman answered after a brief hold. She said my account couldn’t be cancelled because it was less than 72 hours old and I would have to call back.

So I call back about a week later to cancel. As a last ditch effort for me not to cancel Identity Monitor, they offer me $50 worth of prepaid gift cards. However, this wasn’t a straightforward offer as they said you can only use one per month for 5 months. I didn’t want to hassle with this so I turned it down, but if you bite the bait I suppose that will make your monitoring subscription the equivalent of being free or close to it for the first 6 months (30 days for $1 + $10 gift card per month).


We’ve Ranked The Best Rated Credit Monitoring Services!

Does subscribing to credit monitoring services make sense? Well, in this day and age of the internet where identity theft has become rampant, it makes sense to obtain some sort of credit protection. Consider these staggering stastistics:

  • Every year over 1 in 10 americans will become a victim of identity theft or credit fraud, and the annual trend is getting worse. Average losses incurred are said to be over $5000 per individual. This is when you rely solely on paper statements to monitor your credit. For all we know your personal information may have already been compromised. It’s just that this stolen data which contains your personal information hasn’t been actively used by the identity thieves as of yet. It’s just a matter of time before they do… (*You can always read more details here regarding the shocking facts & statistics of identity theft*)
  • On the otherhand, studies have shown how those who utilize credit monitoring services only reach losses of around 1/10th of that amount ($500+) because they’re quickly alerted to any fraudulent credit activity. And since pretty much all credit monitoring services have identity theft insurance in place, any losses you’d incur from identity theft or credit fraud is quickly recovered. In essence, you lose $0 .

Out of the many free trial best credit monitoring + identity theft protection services you’ll come across on the net, we rate these as the TOP offers, based on quality of service, features, and overall customer feedback. If it’s not on this chart, then it didn’t make the grade.

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

The best credit monitoring service

Key Factor #1. Comprehensive Credit Monitoring – This is obviously an important factor in seeing which service is good. You want the best and most comprehensive credit monitoring and identity theft protection service for maximum protection. Pretty much all of the Top services will have 3 bureau credit monitoring.

Key Factor #2. Free Credit Scores Received – Pretty much all of the top rated credit monitoring + identity theft protection services allow you to see your credit score(s) for free during their trial period. Some let you see all 3 scores. Also, their trial period varies.

Key Factor #3. Overall Customer Feedback – Last but not least, you want to sign up with a service which enjoys the best customer service and customer satisfaction ratings.

Does subscribing to credit monitoring services make sense? Well, consider these facts: Over 1 in 10 americans will become a victim of identity theft or credit fraud. Average losses incurred are said to be over $5000 per individual. This is when you rely solely on paper statements to monitor your credit. On the otherhand, studies have shown how those who utilize credit monitoring services only reach losses of around 1/10th of that amount ($500+) because they’re quickly alerted to any fraudulent credit activity. And since pretty much all credit monitoring services have some sort of identity theft insurance in place (up to $1 million in some cases), any losses you’d incur from identity theft or credit fraud is quickly recovered.

Credit scores are used by different financial institutions, lenders, and creditors. Credit scores reflect your creditworthiness. It is used to determine if you will be approved for a loan request. It also determines your loan interest rates. If you have a bad credit score, the higher interest rate would usually mean that you’ll end up paying higher monthly payments for the same loan amount, compared to someone who has an excellent credit score. The data from your credit report is used to figure out your scores using particular algorithmic equations.

Free credit reports from all 3 bureaus on the other hand records loan payment obligations of your various credit or loan accounts. Accounts listed usually include mortgage loans, credit card balances, auto loan accounts, and personal loans, but they are not limited to these. Any loan obligations are usually reported by the creditors to one or all of the 3 credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. They do offer your credit report for free once an year. This is what’s often called ‘free government credit report’ or annual credit report. Each of these credit agencies will also provide you with a credit score but you’ll have to pay for them.


Best Credit Monitoring Services To Monitor Your Credit

The best credit monitoring service

Using credit monitoring services to monitor your credit reports is one of the best automated ways to detect false information that negatively impact your credit scores. By simply signing up for a credit monitoring service, you will receive notifications anytime your scores change. If there’s a drastic change, then you know that you may have suspicious activity reporting – things like fraud or identity theft.

Fortunately, there are a variety of free and paid credit monitoring services out there to monitor your credit. In fact, today many credit card companies and credit bureaus are offering their own credit monitoring services to consumers. Which service is best for you to proactively review your credit before credit repair help?

Here are the best credit monitoring services online to monitor your credit:

The goal of Credit Karma is to help you understand your credit and get more out of it. Credit Karma provides free credit scores, reports and monitoring. Your credit reports are updated weekly to track your credit health and spot potential errors. Automatic credit alerts include free TransUnion credit monitoring, email alerts when important changes occur, and new activity tracking to help spot identity theft.

If the idea of signing up for and providing personal information to a third party service doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then check with your bank to see if they offer credit monitoring services. Chances are that your bank already has a service that you can sign up for – oftentimes it’s as simple as checking a preference box online. If your bank does not have credit monitoring services available, then ask them if they have a third party who they work with. This way, you do not have to sign up for an unknown third party that you heard about on a blog post like this one.

Many credit card companies are differentiating their cards by offering free credit monitoring services to consumers. For example, CreditWise® from Capital One® lets you see your credit score for free. It’s updated weekly, tells you key factors that impact your credit and has a Credit Simulator that shows how your decisions could affect your score. Even if you are not a Capital One customer, you can still utilize the credit monitoring that CreditWise offers.

Be sure to inquire with your credit card companies to see if they have credit monitoring available to customers. If they do offer these services as a free value add, sign up.

There have been several high profile hacker attacks on retailers in recent years. Many retailers as a result have offered credit monitoring services to consumers afterwards in an effort to clean up their public perception. These credit monitoring services offered by retailers have a couple of drawbacks. The first is that these monitoring services are usually temporary, up to 1 year, and will expire eventually. The second is that you’ll have to read the fine print of what signing up for the service means for your legal rights. A retailer may offer free credit monitoring services in exchange for your legal right to file a lawsuit. If that’s the case, look elsewhere.

Credit Sesame gives you a free credit score each month and monitors your credit report at no cost. They will also send you daily monitoring alerts about changes to your credit report. In addition to helping you monitor and manage your credit, Credit Sesame also helps you protect it too. Signing up means you also get $50,000 in identity theft insurance, plus fraud resolution assistance – for free.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site explicitly directed by Federal law to provide credit reports. Although this service is not automated, pulling your credit report every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com is absolutely something you should do to monitor your credit. Although the report won’t contain your credit score, it will contain the most detailed reports about your credit.

If you are still on the fence about whether or not to sign up for a credit monitoring service, consider this: If your identity was stolen and your identity thief opened up fraudulent accounts in your name, how would you find out? And perhaps more importantly, how long would it take you to find out?

If you have more questions about credit monitoring services or would like to chat with us about our personal recommendations, please contact us.

No matter what your situation, Go Clean Credit has a solution. We have many credit repair programs that are available to help you overcome your credit situation and place you back on the path to financial success. Real credit restoration is not a once size fits all model and we tailor your needs to the right program, but most people can start for just $99 per month.

We have fixed price programs that get you back on track in as little as 5 months, debt resolution solutions, programs geared toward people who have had recent short sales or foreclosures and many others. Help is just a free phone call away or you can fill out an appointment request. Contact Go Clean Credit to schedule a free consultation today.