Choosing a 3-Credit-Bureau Monitoring Service

There are many websites that you can use for monitoring for your personal FICO credit score from the 3 credit bureaus. Knowing your credit score will help you understand the rates you will likely be charged on loans, whether or not your rental application will be accepted and how you will be treated in a variety of other financial scenarios. Knowing your credit score is as common as knowing your blood type today. However, choosing the service you use can be tricky. 

Information from All 3-Bureaus

The first thing to look for from any credit monitoring service is if it provides information from all three bureaus. For example, Equifax offers a monitoring service, but this only provides information from Equifax, not from Transunion or Experian. You will be best served by a company that handles all three. While your credit score should be fairly consistent across the board, any differences in reporting with the agencies will give you insight into credit fraud or misreporting alerts. Each bureau does use a slightly different algorithm as well. Different lenders may use a different bureau, so monitoring all three will protect you from unexpected low score reports.

Regular Email Alerts

It will serve you well to have email alerts of any significant score changes. This can keep you aware of when your credit activity is being reported and by whom. Further, you should look for a service that sends credit bureau fraud alerts. These alerts will keep you aware of suspicious activity on your accounts. These alerts will also provide you with insight into common schemes and frauds. You will receive information on protecting your identity and keeping your financial records away from the wrong hands. Email alerts will also serve as a constant reminder that your financial actions affect your long-term credit every day.

Unlimited Checks & Access

Most credit bureau monitoring services charge you monthly for access to your reports. These monthly charges are typically low, around $10 a month, and allow you to generate reports through a website. Some services will additionally charge you for report or only give you a certain amount of checks each month. You should look for a service that gives you unlimited access to check your own credit. Contrary to common belief, checking your own credit regularly will not significantly drop your credit score.

Monitoring vs. Management

There are many different types of credit services, and you need to make sure you are working with a company that meets your expectations and needs. Credit monitoring is a term used for a company that only looks into your credit to check for fraud and allow you to see your score periodically. The company may assist you in finding resources to dispute a charge or even settle your debt, but the company itself will not provide you with these services. Credit management companies will assist you with your debt management needs. You should be aware that these companies will also offer you advice on how to best handle your debt. If you are looking for a hands-off company, you will be better served with a monitoring service.

View all 3 of your FREE Credit Scores

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