I probably shouldn’t have to tell you how important your credit score is, but just in case you didn’t know, it is extremely important. Your credit score affects a lot of things, whether you’ll be able to get a house or a car, your application for a loan, and sometimes even whether you’ll be able to get a job. Do you now see why your credit score is extremely important?
A lot of times, you might not do anything to harm your credit, but there are other people who could steal your information, take out loans in your name, and do other terrible things that could ruin you. Given the rise in identity fraud in the United States, it is important you always keep an eye on your credit score. It is important to note that credit monitoring services do not actually stop fraud, but they sure let you know when someone is doing something with your identity.
There are some pretty important factors to consider when choosing a credit monitoring service, we also considered those factors in coming up with this list. You need to look at how many credit bureaus the service monitors, what scoring model it uses, whether it’s scans the dark web for your information, and lot’s more.
So let’s dive in! Here are the 10 best credit monitoring services:
10. Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame provides free credit monitoring service for its customers. There are some paid-for premium plans, but the basic free plans are also pretty solid. With Credit Sesame you get your TransUnion VantageScore credit score and recommendations on what credit cards or loans to use which could help your credit. Credit Sesame also provides you with free credit monitoring on TransUnion and alerts to notify you of vital changes that affect your credit score.
The service offers up to $50,000 in identity theft insurance on its free basic plan.
Unfortunately, Credit Sesame does not monitor social security on its free plan. But all its free credit reports are very detailed and even show you what you could do to boost your score.
In partnership with the Norton 360 antivirus software, what LifeLock majorly tries to do is provide identity security and prevent identity theft. And since your credit is part of your identity, with LifeLock, you also get credit monitoring services.
With a 60-day money-back guarantee on annual membership, it’s pretty clear LifeLock is very convinced you are going to enjoy their services. Since LifeLock is partnered with Norton, they can help you block online threats and protect your information while you’re on public Wi-Fi. They also monitor various sources, including the dark web or even court records (depending on your plan) for threats to your identity and notify you of these threats. Should you also fall victim of identity theft, LifeLock has agents who will work to help you resolve those issues. Money stolen from you could also be refunded (the amount which can be refunded again depends on your plan).
Most of the plans with LifeLock monitor credit of only one bureau. But the most expensive plan monitors credit score with the three bureaus and tracks your VantageScore credit monthly.
CreditWise from Capital One
CreditWise credit monitoring service from Capital One is definitely one of the best services available right now. It uniquely offers all its users extra with dark web scanning and social security number tracking.
CreditWise users are also informed of crucial factors that could affect their VantageScore credit score and receive alerts whenever their credit report changes on TransUnion. CreditWise also monitors Experian and so sends their customers real-time credit score updates from TransUnion and Experian.
Impressively, CreditWise is free and can be used by anyone, whether you are a Capital One cardholder or not. And if you already use Capital One, you will not need to download another app for CreditWise because all of its features are in the Capital One app. CreditWise also offers you a simulator that lets you see what effect potential actions might have on your credit score before you take that action. And all of this is done without hurting your credit score in any way.
Credit Karma is another free credit monitoring service, and with Credit Karma all of the services are free. There are absolutely no sign-up fees or paid-for plans. With Credit Karma, you get your VantageScore credit score with weekly updates from TransUnion and Equifax. The only disadvantage with Credit Karma is that if you want your Experian scores, you will have to get them from another service.
Another thing that makes Credit Karma so good is the dashboard, which is very easy to navigate. With Credit Karma, you get to see all credit cards that are open or have been opened at any time on your account. You also see all of your accounts and which have been closed. Credit Karma sends you real-time alerts whenever there are vital changes on your TransUnion credit report. They also recommend credit cards or loans that can help your credit.
TransUnion is a credit bureau but can also provide you with credit monitoring services. These credit monitoring services are not free but are very good, perhaps because TransUnion is one of the major credit bureaus.
TransUnion offers you your credit score calculated based on a VantageScore 3.0 model. You also get notified whenever someone opens a new credit card or takes a loan in your name. With TransUnion, you can always request a new and updated credit report as many times as you want, even every day. TransUnion has over 12 million subscribers and all subscribers get up to $25k in identity theft insurance.
TransUnion also offers some pretty great features like a simulator to help you see what affect financial decisions could have on your credit score.
Whenever you apply for a loan, most of your lenders calculate your credit score based on the FICO model. A lot of credit monitoring services calculate your credit score based on a VantageScore model, not myFICO. Since they are the inventors of the model, they calculate all of their customers’ scores based on the FICO model. This is only one of the reasons they are a great service.
There are three plans with myFICO, the basic, advanced, and premier. With all the plans you get up to 28 FICO scores for auto loans, mortgages, and more. You also get credit reports and credit monitoring, with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
However, with the basic plan, you get your credit scores from only one bureau (Experian) and updates every month. With the advanced plan, you get coverage from the 3 bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) with updates every 3 months. and identity monitoring. The premier plan gives you coverage from the 3 bureaus and updates every month.
Identity Guard is another service that focuses mainly on Identity theft protection. But as we said earlier, your credit forms a main part of your identity, so Identity Guard also monitors your credit. But for a service aimed at protecting against identity theft, Identity Guard provides a pretty robust credit monitoring service.
The Identity Guard also provides protection for individuals and family. Their basic plan does not give any form of credit protection. But the Total plan provides standard protection which includes your monthly credit score from one bureau and monitoring of your credit on the three bureaus. The Total plan also monitors the dark web and your bank account.
The Ultra plan, which provides premium identity and credit protection does everything the Total plan does but also provides you with an annual credit report from the three bureaus.
Experian is also another credit bureau which also provides monitoring for customers who sign up. Experian has a lot of great plans which contribute to its position on this list. Some creditors are more interested in Experian credit reports over the rest.
Experian offers a free service, which gives you alerts about accounts that have been opened in your name and vital changes to your Experian credit report. The free service also gives you a monthly Experian credit report and your FICO score. There is also an extra feature with Experian that helps you boost your credit score.
Experian’s premium service, on the other hand, offers monitoring of the 3 credit bureaus and various FICO scores.
Experian offers IdentityWorks too. A service that is great for families, IdentityWorks has plans to cover one adult and up to ten children, or two adults with up to ten children. IdentityWorks monitors your credit and credit for your children, the dark web for your information, the USPS to see if your mail is being redirected, your bank account, and court records. IdentityWorks also monitors sex offender registries for your family and could even inform you if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
IdentityForce is definitely one of the best credit monitoring services with all of its extra security features. And although IdentityForce’s main focus is protecting your identity and not just monitoring your credit, their plan which allows for credit monitoring coupled with all the security they provide, simply makes them one of the best.
IdentityForce is one of the few services that monitor social media for profanity and anti-bullying. This is very helpful since they also offer a family plan. Their credit monitoring plan gives you alerts via phone and email whenever fraudulent activity is detected. There is also up to $1 million available for identity theft insurance.
The plan also monitors all 3 bureaus daily and notifies you of withdrawals exceeding amounts specified by you. IdentityForce also protects you when you shop online with anti-keylogging and anti-phishing software. Their customer service available 24/7 is one of the best.
What puts Privacy Guard ahead is the combination of all we really want to see in a credit monitoring service. Their only disadvantage? Their services might come off as too expensive, but this is also depending on the plan you decide to sign up for. Privacy Guard offers three main plans, one for credit monitoring, one for identity protection, and one that gives you total protection.
The credit monitoring service gives you your reports and scores from the three bureaus monthly, tracks your credit score on the three bureaus monthly, and monitors your credit every day. With the total plan, you also get public network and dark web scanning, with agents ready to help you resolve any issues of ID theft that may arise.