Credit monitoring services are useful for individuals looking to rebuild their credit, either due to past credit problems or problems with identity theft and fraud. Credit monitoring services may also be useful for individuals who are looking to prevent fraud and who want to keep an eye on their credit activity. However, the sheer number of credit monitoring services available can make it difficult to choose the right one.
This comparison includes several aspects of the different credit monitoring services currently available. When deciding on a credit monitoring service, you should choose the one that offers the type of monitoring and support you are most comfortable with. While all of these credit monitoring services are from reputable companies, you may find one or two suit your needs better than the others.
For those looking for more control over the types of alerts they obtain, Equifax with Score Power is one of the best offerings around. In addition to the more typical alerts for significant changes, Equifax’s service allows you to set up alerts based on smaller changes, such as a change in the account balance for a credit card. With this level of protection, you can catch credit card fraud even on cards you already own and may not realize have been compromised. These smaller alerts only apply to your Equifax account; however, items like credit cards and other smaller alerts are likely to be published with all three bureaus, not just one, so you should be covered as long as the card is already listed with Equifax.
In addition, the Equifax service gives all three credit bureau reports. You also have access to $1,000,000 in Identity Theft Insurance, making this one of the larger policies available through the credit monitoring services that we’ve reviewed. For those who like the idea of being able to have total control over your activity alerts, rather than being limited to major changes, this is an excellent choice.
FreeCreditScore.com is the successor of the FreeCreditReport.com site operated by Experian. This service monitors all three credit bureaus and gives you access to your Experian credit score as part of the service. You will receive an email alert whenever there is a major change to your credit reports or an inquiry into your credit.
While this service monitors all three bureaus, you only have access to the reports and credit scores from Experian. This can be a downside if you want to monitor the reports from each of the major bureaus yourself. However, you do have access to the Experian score twice per month, as well as access to tools which help you see how actions you take can affect your credit score (both positively and negatively) so you can make smart decisions for keeping your credit score as high as possible.
For individuals who don’t want to pay to have access to all three credit scores and reports, but who want to have comprehensive monitoring, FreeCreditScore.com offers a happy medium which provides full monitoring of all three bureaus without the higher charges of keeping track of credit reports and scores from all three.
If you need comprehensive identity theft protection, Identity Lookout is a solid choice. Identity Lookout provides daily credit bureau monitoring for all three credit bureaus, along with alerts concerning key changes in your credit report. Their comprehensive identity theft protection service also scans the internet for misuse of your Social Security Number and your credit cards as well. For a $1 charge, Identity Lookout also gives you one-time access to your Experian credit report.
The comprehensive identity protection includes Credit, Debit, and ATM card protection as well as a $1 Million product guarantee to protect you in the event of identity theft. If you do become the victim of fraud or identity theft, their service gives you fraud resolution assistance. And for parents, the optional child monitoring service means they can rest assured their children’s personal information is not being misused. Overall, this is a good value for the services provided, and an excellent option for identity protection.
If you want credit monitoring alone, without having the extra features included in other plans, the Experian credit monitoring service may be just what you are looking for. This service monitors all three credit bureaus and will alert you to any changes in your credit file on a daily basis. This service is also very inexpensive at only $4.95 per month.
However, this service will not provide access to your credit scores or credit reports, so if you want access to this information, you’ll do better with a more comprehensive service. Ideally, this may be your choice if you want just a basic monitoring service, but don’t need regular access to your credit file.
TrueCredit offers Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports monthly for subscribers. They also offer VantageScores for each of the three bureaus, which is a different type of credit score than the number that you may be used to. Despite the different rating scales used, there is an explanation of information provided as well, so you can understand what you need to do to improve your scores and how your current score ranks.
If you’d prefer a scoring system that offers a percentile explanation, as well as information on the individual aspects of your credit report that are affecting your score, the VantageScore may be for you. The monthly access to all three credit reports means you will be able to keep track of any changes in your scores at regular intervals, so you can track your progress if you’re attempting to improve your scores over time.
The credit monitoring service will notify you of any suspicious activity within 24 hours of any change in your credit report, so you can take action swiftly. If you don’t need to check your scores more than once a month, and you are looking for an alternative to scoring to help you understand your credit, TrueCredit is an excellent choice.