Best Credit Monitoring Services
Credit monitoring can prevent and stop fraudulent activity from showing up on your credit history and credit records. But is it something that you can and should do on your own?
With credit and identity fraud on the rise, closely monitoring bank accounts and credit information has become critical. But monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity on your own is incredibly time-consuming. Moreover, monitoring your credit is just the first step toward security. You must also be prepared to take action to deal with the damage in the event of fraudulent activity.
The best credit monitoring services in 2022
Fortunately, you don’t have to do anything on your own. There is an easy solution: signing up for credit monitoring services. While there are many free and paid credit monitoring services today, not all of them come with the critical features you need. Read on to find out how some of the best credit monitoring services fare on our comparison. But before we dive in, let’s brush up on some basics.
What is credit monitoring?
At its core, credit monitoring involves keeping track of changes to a user’s credit score and credit account and sending out immediate alerts for unauthorized or suspicious activity. These services are often offered as part of the identity theft protection packages or separately as credit monitoring plans.
Credit monitoring is done by the file owner and is therefore considered a soft credit pull that will not end up on their report. These services also cover financial transaction monitoring, alerts, regular credit reporting, and recovery services. We will cover the essential elements of credit monitoring services and how to choose the best one for your needs further ahead. For a quick overview of the best credit monitoring services, check out the next section!
BEST FOR: Fast affordable worry free for up to 10 adults and unlimited children
Pros & Cons
Identity Defense is the best choice for those who want an affordable and reliable ID theft protection service. Identity Defense is also a great choice if you’re looking for comprehensive coverage for your family.
BEST FOR: Those looking to try out a comprehensive security plan before committing to a long-term agreement.
Pros & Cons
The interface is intuitive and easy to use even for beginners. The higher-tier plans are quite expensive compared to others in the market, but they are worth the investment for those who want to take advantage of the most impressive security suite we’ve covered..
BEST FOR: Those who want to track their online behavior and mitigate risky actions to instill responsibility.
Pros & Cons
BEST FOR: Dedicated credit monitoring service.
Pros & Cons
Experian is well known as one of the three major credit bureaus in the US. We like the Experian offer as a dedicated credit monitoring as the basic credit monitoring service is provided for free and it might be a sufficient service for some users.
Who should consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service?
If you’re wondering whether you need a credit monitoring service at all, let us resolve your doubts: everyone with a credit score needs to monitor their credit.
Whether you do it yourself or pay someone else depends on how much time you have on your hands. You should also consider subscribing to such a service if your credit card company doesn’t offer it.
While pretty much everyone needs a credit monitoring service, those who have been victims of identity theft and financial fraud need it the most.
How to choose a credit monitoring service?
Choosing one from the many credit monitoring services available today can be challenging. To simplify things, here are features and elements included in most credit monitoring service plans and what the best ones offer.
Most credit monitoring services offer users the option to bill monthly or annually. We suggest going for annual billing since they are cheaper. Annual plans also often come with a money-back guarantee.
While there are plenty of free services out there, they do not always provide the features needed for high-quality monitoring. If you are willing to invest in a good paid service but aren’t sure about committing, opt for a trial period offer.
Top-Tier Plans vs Low-Tier Plans
While it is clear that top-tier plans offer more features than low-tier ones, these additions may not be useful to everyone. Examine the features offered and determine whether your lifestyle, spending habits, and accounts require them.
If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage for your entire family, we suggest you go for a family plan. These plans typically offer online monitoring for children and cover children below the age of 18 that reside under the user’s home address. Moreover, look for plans that provide some level of identity theft monitoring for children.
While most credit monitoring services offer users a $1 million insurance package, there may be more to it than meets the eye. Make sure to go through their terms and conditions to see how they will reimburse you for stolen funds and how the insurance coverage is broken down.
And if a provider offers higher coverage, go for it. Beware of services that do not provide any coverage at all. You might not want to rely on them for accurate and timely reporting.
Most credit monitoring services offer only monitoring and alerting solutions. This means it falls onto the customer to recover their stolen identity and the funds lost.
While it is difficult to find a provider that offers extensive support in recovery, having this feature will do a lot for your peace of mind. It is especially important if you are a previous victim and your information has been compromised before.
It’s best to opt for a credit monitoring service that will provide a dedicated case manager to assist with recovery from beginning to end.
Credit Score Model
Different scoring models consider different credit information, which is why the scores of the same user might vary on credit reports.
Two of the most common scoring models used in credit reports are FICO and VantageScore.
3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
Some credit monitoring services only monitor one or two credit bureaus. This can result in inconsistencies and gaps in security, which may later affect your credit score when you’re applying for a loan.
A three-bureau credit monitoring service shall alert you to any such inconsistencies and help you take action immediately.
Avoid this common mistake and subscribe to a service that monitors your credit reports from all the three major credit bureaus.
Not all base-level plans provide additional features, but some top-tier ones might. If these features are indispensable to your lifestyle and finances, a high-end plan is certainly worth the investment:
- Dark web monitoring
- Bank takeover monitoring
- Financial transactions monitoring
- Home title monitoring
- 401k and investments monitoring
- Criminal and sex offender registry monitoring
- Debit and credit account monitoring
One of our favorite add-on features is the risk management score. It involves an online behavior test that determines a user’s vulnerability to identity theft. The service can be very useful to those who have been a victim of identity theft in the past, and a great resource to avoid vulnerabilities moving forward.