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Women's Support Group

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Miles Kelly
Miles Kelly

Credit Monitoring Service [EXCLUSIVE]

In the summer of 2019, I got an email with some good news. As one of the millions of people whose personal information the 2017 Equifax data breach exposed, I was entitled to compensation from Equifax. I could receive up to $125 in cash or up to 10 years of free credit monitoring from Experian and Equifax.

credit monitoring service

However, the Value tier does not actually monitor your credit. For that, you must upgrade to the midrange Total plan. It provides three-bureau credit monitoring, bank account monitoring, and monthly access to your credit score. It costs $19.99 per month or $200 per year.

IdentityForce UltraSecure monitors use of your personal information from a wide variety of sources. It consults court records, banks, payday lenders, medical bills, the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, social media, and the dark web. It even checks for your identity on sex offender registries. This service costs $14.99 per month or $149.90 per year.

However, this basic plan does not include actual credit monitoring. For that, you need UltraSecure+Credit. It monitors your credit reports from all three bureaus and provides full access to your credit reports and scores. It also has a credit simulator that shows how various actions might affect your credit score. This service costs $19.99 per month or $199.90 per year.

Like many other services, LifeLock has three tiers of protection. Its Standard service monitors your credit at only one bureau (Equifax). It also monitors personal info such as your address and SSN on the net and the dark web. It includes lost wallet protection and access to identity restoration experts.

All three tiers of LifeLock come with its Million Dollar Protection package for ID theft insurance. At the Standard level, it provides $25,000 in coverage for stolen funds, $25,000 for personal expenses, and up to $1 million for legal fees. This tier costs $124.99 per year. (All three tiers offer a discount of up to 20% on your first year of service.)

To get three-bureau credit monitoring, you need the Ultra tier at $339.99 per year. This top-level service provides unlimited access to your Equifax credit report and score and monthly access to all three reports and scores. It also monitors 401(k) and investment accounts, home titles, bank account applications, file-sharing networks, and sex offender registry reports.

The biggest advantage of myFICO is that it gives you access to your FICO score, the type of credit score used by most lenders. (Many other services use the newer VantageScore model instead.) In fact, this service provides up to 28 different versions of your FICO score used by different types of lenders for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans.

Equifax offers two tiers of credit monitoring. The basic plan, Equifax Complete, costs $9.95 per month. It monitors your Equifax credit report and your VantageScore credit score, the leading alternative to the standard FICO credit score. You can check them both daily and receive alerts whenever either one changes.

If you actually become a victim of identity theft, a team of ID restoration specialists from Equifax works on your behalf to help you recover. Finally, the service provides up to $500,000 in identity theft insurance to cover the cost of restoring your identity.

The upper tier, Equifax Complete Premier, costs $19.95 per month. It provides three-bureau credit monitoring, rather than the single-bureau monitoring of the lower tier. It also gives you yearly access to your credit report and VantageScore from all three credit bureaus.

Experian offers several types of credit monitoring. Its most basic service provides you a copy of your Experian credit report and credit score once every 30 days for free. It also provides real-time alerts about any suspicious activity on your report. And, when you sign up, it does a one-time scan of the dark web for signs of your personal info.

This free service also includes a feature called Experian Boost. It helps you improve your credit by adding on-time payments for phone and utility bills to your Experian credit file. This allows you to build credit without a credit card.

For an extra fee, you can add other members of your family to either tier of IdentityWorks. IdentityWorks Plus costs $14.99 per month for one adult and up to 10 children, or $19.99 if you add a second adult. IdentityWorks Premium costs $24.99 or $29.99 for the same protection. CNBC names IdentityWorks as the top credit monitoring service for families.

Like Experian, TransUnion offers a free identity protection service, called TrueIdentity. It monitors only your TransUnion credit report, sending alerts to suspicious activity and allowing you to lock and unlock it with a swipe. Also, it provides $25,000 in identity theft insurance.

However, there is another alternative: free credit monitoring services. Instead of charging you a monthly fee, these services make their money through marketing. Every time you log on to check on your credit, you also see targeted offers for credit cards and other financial products.

Another service that offers free credit monitoring is Credit Karma. It monitors your credit reports and scores from both TransUnion and Equifax and sends you regular updates. It also alerts you right away to major changes, like a new account or a credit application in your name.

Based on what I learned from my research, I decided not to take the free credit monitoring in the Equifax settlement. I was already signed up with both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma, so I had on-demand access to two of my three credit reports, plus free identity theft insurance.

The content on Money Crashers is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

This suite of services monitors your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts for activity and posts that could be perceived as violent, use profanity, or could be categorized as cyberbullying or discriminatory.

Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection Premium offers advanced monitoring capabilities for your banking, credit cards, investments, addresses and court records. Our Premium plan will also help you to take full control of your credit, up to 3 bureaus. You also have additional recovery capabilities against online threats such as ransomware and social engineering.

After the purchase you will receive an email with the instructions to activate the service. Click on Get Started button, create a Bitdefender account or log in to an existing account and the service will be active. To use the service, follow the onboarding steps.

You do not have to download anything, as Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection is an online service. You gain access to a web dashboard where you can monitor all your personal accounts in real time.Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection is available on Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari.

Your subscription may include product, service and/or protection updates and features that may be added, modified or removed subject to Bitdefender Subscription Agreement and Terms and Conditions for Home Users and Privacy Notice.

But if you want to choose the best credit monitoring service for yourself, you'll want to consider aspects like: how comprehensive the credit score tracking and reporting is, how the pricing plans are, and how well the app runs on different platforms (mobile, laptop, and tablet). Also, look out for the identity protection tools they offer and the quality of the customer service.

The best credit monitoring services access a lot of information from the widest range of sources to ensure this remains the case, and will alert you to any problems in a timely fashion. Free versions generally offer fairly limited coverage, while there are paid versions that can offer so much more, including boosted security for peace of mind.

We've done a comparison of some of the best credit monitoring services out in the market. We looked into aspects such as the number of agencies the services provides reports from, the level of detail of the report, if suggestions are included for improving the credit score, and furthermore, the overall ease of the service. Finally, we also examined the associated identity protection offerings and the pricing model.

These two services have many of the same features in common, but the higher plan tier of UltraSecure+ comes with the three bureau credit score reports as well as report monitoring. For those with children, IdentityForce can also provide them equivalent protection through its ChildWatch service, operating almost as a separate plan from yours.

Capital One launched CreditWise in 2014 as an entirely free credit monitoring service. Users do not have to provide credit card details to sign up for the service, or even be a Capital one customer, although you will see the service integrated into their mobile app if you do sign up.

One of the primary services offered by Experian is a free credit monitoring service. It does not require any of your credit card details during sign-up and comes with a number of really useful features that are not dissimilar to what the premium Experian plans have to offer. 041b061a72


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