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Best Credit Monitoring Services

Keep an eye on your finances at all times

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Having a healthy credit score is more important than ever, especially considering the number of businesses that rely on your credit to approve your applications. Credit monitoring services allow you to keep an eye on your credit report and score. You can receive early warning of changes to your credit and respond accordingly.

Credit monitoring also allows you to detect instances of identity theft—a form of fraud, which is one of the most common crimes in the United States. Protecting your credit from identity theft helps ensure thieves don’t run up big bills in your name and leave you to deal with the damage.

As you’re shopping around for credit monitoring services pay attention to fees—they may be free or may charge a monthly or annual fee. You'll also want to pay particular attention to the services you’ll get and whether the service covers all three credit bureaus or just one.

Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2022

Best Overall : Privacy Guard


Privacy Guard

Privacy Guard

  • Cost: $9.99/month and up
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Experian, Transunion
Why We Chose It

With its low price tag, helpful features, and identity theft insurance, Privacy Guard is our best overall credit monitoring service.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 14-day trial period costs just $1

  • $1 million of ID theft insurance

  • Real-time alerts

Cons
  • No family plan available

Overview

PrivacyGuard provides credit monitoring for your reports from all three credit bureaus. It sends you alerts by text, email, or phone anytime your credit report information changes.

You can try PrivacyGuard for just $1 for the first 14 days. After that, you’ll be charged the monthly subscription fee based on the plan you choose. PrivacyGuard offers basic ID Protection for $9.99 per month. ID Protection watches for signs of identity theft by monitoring both the public and Dark Web, public records, and more. Up to $1 million in ID theft insurance is included.

Credit Protection for $19.99 per month includes your three-bureau credit reports and scores, daily credit monitoring, and a credit score simulator. The Total Protection plan is $24.99 per month and includes all the features of the Credit Protection and ID Protection Plans.

Best Free Credit Monitoring : Credit Karma


Credit Karma

 Credit Karma

  • Cost: Free
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Transunion
Why We Chose It

If you're looking for a free credit monitoring service to get insight into your VantageScore, Credit Karma may fit the bill.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free to use

  • Fraud alerts available

Cons
  • Only monitors TransUnion and Equifax reports

  • Does not track FICO Score

Overview

Credit Karma provides the only truly free credit monitoring service on our list. There’s no trial subscription and you’ll never have to give your credit card number. Credit Karma allows you to monitor your TransUnion and Equifax credit report score at no cost.

Your credit score—the VantageScore 3.0—is updated daily. Your credit report information is updated weekly. Along with monitoring of your credit score, you can receive alerts when unusual activity is suspected on either of your two credit reports.

While the service is free, one of the drawbacks is that you will only get access to two of your credit reports and credit scores. You’ll have to use another service to monitor your credit report from Experian.

Most Security Features : IdentityForce


IdentityForce TransUnion
  • Cost: $17.99/month or $179.90/year and up
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Experian, Transunion
Why We Chose It

With robust security features and credit and identity monitoring, IdentityForce is our pick for the most secure credit monitoring service.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Discount for paying annually

  • Identity theft insurance available

  • Options to monitor your credit and identity

Cons
  • Costs more than some competitor offerings

Overview

IdentityForce has two basic identity and credit monitoring products. The UltraSecure plan includes identity monitoring services only. And the UltraSecure+Credit plan monitors both your identity and your credit.

The UltraSecure plan, for $17.99 per month and $179.90 per year, includes a host of features that monitor your personal information and alerts you if your information is compromised. You’ll also receive $1 million in identity theft insurance, which is useful for covering expenses related to clearing up identity theft.

The UltraSecure+Credit Plan is $23.99 per month or $239.90 annually. It includes all the identity protection features of the UltraSecure Plan, plus three-bureau credit monitoring, credit reports, and scores, as well as a credit simulator to show you how your actions might affect your credit score. Learn more by visiting their website or calling 877-694-3367.

Most Versatile : Identity Guard


identity guard logo black and white
  • Cost: $7.50/month and up
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Experian, Transunion
Why We Chose It

Identity Guard offers both individual and family credit monitoring plans at a relatively affordable cost.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple plan options

  • Convenient mobile app

  • Real-time alerts

Cons
  • Certain subscriptions can get expensive

Overview

The parent company of Identity Guard has served over 47 million customers since being established in 1996. The credit monitoring company keeps a close eye on your credit files from all three of the major credit bureaus.

You can choose between the Value, Total, and Ultra Plans either for yourself or your family. All plans include $1 million of identity theft insurance, a U.S.-based case manager to work with you if your identity is stolen, a mobile application to access your membership information, and alerts when your personal information is detected on the Dark Web. The Total and Ultra Plans add a monthly credit score report, three-bureau credit monitoring, and bank account oversight.

Plans range from $7.50 to $25/month for individuals and $12.50 to $33.33/month for family protection. If you decide not to keep your subscription, make sure you cancel during the money-back guarantee period or free trial period (if one of these is part of your subscription) to avoid being charged. TheBalance.com readers receive at least 20% off and as much as a 33% discount.

Best for Families : Experian IdentityWorks


Experian IdentityWorks

 Experian IdentityWorks

  • Cost: $9.99/month and up
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Experian, Transunion
Why We Chose It

Experian IdentityWorks offers credit monitoring and identity theft protection for families with up to 10 children.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Trial subscription available

  • Several family members are protected

  • Multiple alerts to keep you safe

Cons
  • Number of plan options may be overwhelming

Overview

Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, offers IdentityWorks credit monitoring service that monitors all three of your credit reports. In addition to monitoring your three credit reports and credit scores for changes that signal identity theft, IdentityWorks provides a number of other credit and identity monitoring services.

It scans the Dark Web for your personal information, notifies you if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood, and detects when crimes are booked in your name or reported in the court system. It also detects when payday loans are opened in your name, informs you of changes of address with the U.S. Postal Service, watches for account takeover, and alerts you when any accounts are opened using your Social Security number.

Choose a plan for one adult starting at $9.99; one adult and up to 10 children, starting at $14.99; or two adults and up to 10 children, starting at $19.99. Plans include a 30-day trial subscription, so you can decide whether you want to keep the service or cancel.

Most Reliable Credit Score : FICO Advanced


myFICO

 myFICO

  • Cost: $29.99/month and up
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Experian, Transunion
Why We Chose It

Those who want access to the multiple credit scores lenders use in their decision-making process may find what they're looking for with FICO Advanced.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Access to multiple versions of your credit score

  • Real-time alerts

  • Three-bureau report access

Cons
  • Relatively expensive compared to competitor offerings

Overview

Keep tabs on the credit scores that most lenders use with the FICO Advanced credit monitoring service. You’ll get instant access to your three-bureau credit reports and up to 28 versions of your credit score that are used in mortgage, auto, and credit card lending. You’ll get alerts for changes to your credit information, including newly opened accounts, new inquiries, new public records, new addresses, newly listed collections, and changes to your account balances.

The FICO Advanced subscription is $29.95 per month. You can cancel your subscription at any time, but you won’t get a partial refund for the monthly or annual subscription you’ve already paid. The Premier plan for $39.95 provides monthly credit score updates plus everything you get with Advanced.

Best for Credit Score Tracking : TransUnion Credit Monitoring


TransUnion

 TransUnion

  • Cost: $24.95/month
  • Reports monitored: Equifax, Transunion
Why We Chose It

In addition to monitoring your credit, TransUnion Credit Monitoring also allows you to track your debt and credit score over time, which can be useful if you're trying to improve your financial situation.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Debt and credit score tracking features

  • Real-time alerts

Cons
  • Only offers two-bureau report access

Overview

With TransUnion Credit Monitoring, you’ll receive real-time alerts whenever there are changes to the accounts listed on your credit report. Because only your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports are being monitored, you won’t receive any alerts to changes on your Experian credit report unless it's deemed critical.

TransUnion Credit Monitoring also comes with other features like debt and credit score tracking, which can help you see how your financial situation and credit score have changed over time. The subscription for TransUnion Credit Monitoring is $24.95 per month.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Credit Monitoring Service?

A credit monitoring service is a company that usually charges a monthly fee to keep an eye on your credit. You fill out a user profile and can sign up for alerts and notifications, so you know when any activity is happening on your credit report. You can then determine if that activity is a legitimate transaction that you completed or fraud that needs to be removed. A credit monitoring service is a quick way to watch over your credit with minimal effort and allows you to resolve any issues before too much damage is done.

How Does a Credit Monitoring Service Work?

A credit monitoring service works by having the user set up their profile, verify their personal information—including current address, date of birth, Social Security number, etc.—and create a secure password-protected account. The user gives the credit monitoring service permission to monitor their credit and alert them when any activity occurs. Some credit monitoring services monitor all three credit bureaus, while other companies may only monitor one or two.

How Much Does a Credit Monitoring Service Cost?

Credit monitoring costs vary. Some companies offer a completely free service, while others may only offer free subscription trials. Companies with more tools and comprehensive features generally charge more money. These fees typically range between $7 and $40 per month, depending on the number of users and what's included.

How Do You Avoid Credit Monitoring Scams?

Far too often, people fall for credit monitoring scams that leave them with their identity compromised and money wasted. It's important to be aware that these scams exist. Make sure you know the fees upfront, research the company, look at its positive and negative reviews, see how long it's been in business, and go with your gut. If it looks suspicious, has misspelled words, or seems too good to be true, it's probably a scam.

How We Chose the Best Credit Monitoring Services

We chose the best credit monitoring services after researching several credit monitoring services. As part of our selection process, we looked at fees, services offered, which credit bureaus they monitor, and other criteria. After comparing these factors across different services, we narrowed down our list to the top companies listed above.

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