Compare Credit Monitoring Services
Why use credit monitoring?
Keep an eye on your credit reports
- Make sure no inaccuracies appear in your report that can damage your credit rating
- Prevent unauthorized activity and identity fraud
Using a credit monitoring service lets you keep on top your credit history
- Provides regular checks on your credit reports (at least every three months)
- Provides reports form all three credit monitoring agencies
Credit monitoring services provide the peace of mind you get from knowing you are in control of your finances, while saving you the time and effort needed to obtain the information yourself.
Credit Monitoring Services Compared
|Overview||Ideal Protection||Comprehensive||High Security||Innovative||Popular Choice|
|Plan Reviewed||Total Protection||Individual||ProtectMyID||Superior Plan||Triple Advantage|
|Who’s Behind It||Intersections, Inc.||TrustedID, Inc.||Experian®||Guard Dog Inc.||Experian®|
|Bereau Credit Monitoring||3 Bureaus||3 Bureaus||1 Bureau||3 Bureaus||1 Bureau|
|Lost Wallet Protection||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Public Records Monitoring||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Price||$17.99 / mo||$10.42 / mo||$11.65 / mo||$18.33 / mo||$14.95 / mo|
|Trial Period||14 Days||1 Month||1 Month||-||7 Days|
What credit monitoring agencies do
As you go through life you become involved with credit – taking out loans, mortgages, credit cards, car loans and much more. Whenever you do, so this information, along with information about whether you paid your credit bills on time, have any outstanding payments, how much credit you have been extended, etc., is passed on to at least one of the three main credit reporting agencies (also known as credit bureaus), Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These agencies compile all the information known about your credit history into a credit report.
Lenders can request a copy of your credit history from any of the credit bureaus (or all three) and commonly use this to assess your creditworthiness. Because credit reports are usually lengthy, highly detailed documents, credit bureaus assign a credit score to each report to give lenders a quick and easy “at-a-glance” assessment of your creditworthiness. The most well-known and commonly score used is the FICO score, and this has been shown in studies to be good indicator of the lenders risk. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with scores below 640 traditionally considered “sub-prime” and scores of over 700 to be “excellent”.
Lenders therefore use credit histories and their associated credit scores to decide whether to extend loans, and on what terms. Fair or not, the better your credit history (and the higher your FICO score), the more likely you are to be offered a loan (mortgage, credit card etc.), and lower the interest you will charged.
It is therefore important for anyone seeking a loan to have the cleanest credit history possible. Unfortunately, inaccurate information often finds its way into credit reports, and this can damage your credit history. Credit monitoring services allow you to keep a regular eye on events in your credit history, usually from all three credit bureaus, so that you can promptly take action to correct any inaccuracies that appear. Since you can easily monitor any financial activity that is carried out in your name, this information is also vital for detecting the increasing common problems of identity theft and fraud using your financial details.
By using a credit monitoring agency you can detect:
- Inaccurate information that may damage your FICO score
- Identity theft – using your name to fraudulently open accounts
- Fraudulent inquiries into your credit report – inquiries into your credit report that do not come from lenders you have made loan applications to is always suspicious
Services offered by credit monitoring agencies
It is possible to request your credit report directly from the main credit bureaus once each year for free, but credit monitoring agencies are a convenient and low cost way to monitor all three services at a regular interval, and typically offer a number of additional benefits such as:
- Daily monitoring - of all three credit bureau reports
- Access to credit scores – these not usually provided directly to consumers by the credit bureaus
- Alerts – warn you when certain kinds of activity appear on your credit reports
- Stolen / lost wallet protection – allow you to instantly cancel all your credit cards with one easy phone call
- Identity theft insurance – in case the worst happens
- Anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-keylogging software
- Public record and black market monitoring – ensure your identity is not misused
The exact service varies from agency to agency, and many offer a number plans designed to meet different customer needs. Our comparison chart is designed to help you understand the features on offer, and to make an informed choice that is right for you.