In an age ruled by credit cards, loans and borrowing, credit scores have become the gold standard of measuring your financial health. Sadly, because of that, credit report monitoring services have become the gold standard for scams. Many offer free credit scores, only to start charging you after a month or two, without your knowledge. So how do find a service that is straightforward with you? Here’s a little research we did on the top services:
What to Look for in a Credit Report Monitoring Service
Transparency: The most respectable credit report monitoring services will tell you up front that they cost money. Almost all of the most respectable services will charge, so don’t fall for the scams of the free sites, except for the one we mention below.
Free Trial: Most of the best credit report monitoring services offer a free trial that could span from 7 days to a month. Take advantage of these and try out the service before you sign up for them. Just make sure you cancel the free trial before you start to get charged for the services.
Price: No matter what they offer, paying anything over $25 a month for credit report monitoring is a ripoff. The most extensive and respected service at the most costs about $22 a month, and most of the better service costs even less than that.
Updates: Only pay for what you need. If you want to monitor your credit monthly, don’t pay for a service that only updates your reports and scores every 3 months. Ask each service you look at how often they update your information before you sign up for the service.
If you still need help, we put together some of the best credit report monitoring services for you to choose from:
Best Overall: Lifelock Credit Report Monitoring
One of the only services that allows for monthly updates on your credit score, which is nice to have if you are trying to build your credit and want to keep track of your progress. On top of monitoring your credit reports and scores, Lifelock also provides identity theft protection, which is a nice feature to have. In an effort to protect your identity, they will unsubscribe you from all junk mail lists and monitor a wide range of your information, including driver’s license number and social security number. Lifelock is currently offering a 30-day free trial and 15% off any of their products.
Best Family Plan: IdentityForce Credit Report Monitoring
IdentityForce is great because it offers daily credit report monitoring as well as a credit report and score tracker. It’s great for families because it offers a ChildWatch add-on to the regular credit monitoring and identity theft services that helps protect your child’s identity. The price for their regular service is $19.95 per month for both credit monitoring and identity theft, plus $2.95 for the ChildWatch service. IdentityForce’s identity theft protection monitors all of your financial information, as well as your public records, and will alert you if there is any unusual activity. IdentityForce also offers a 14-day free trial, so you can try out the service before you commit.
Best Free Service with No Scams: Credit Sesame Credit Report Monitoring
Credit Sesame is awesome for those who are reluctant to give up their credit card information to get credit report monitoring services. It’s 100% free, which is very unusual in the credit report monitoring world. Credit Sesame is also one of the most respected credit report monitoring services. It updates your credit score every month, so you can see how your credit score is changing. Does Credit Sesame offer everything other credit report monitoring services do? No, but if you are just looking for simple credit report monitoring, Credit Sesame is the best service for you.