Best Credit Monitoring Services for 2020
I’ve talked about credit monitoring before, but just to recap – it’s a service that alerts you when a change is made to any of your credit reports.
Think of it as a watchdog when it comes to your credit that makes sure your credit is safe.
Receiving an alert allows you to check whether this change is accurate – and to see if something doesn’t look right instantly.
While some people may be eligible for free credit monitoring, not everyone will – which is why I think getting credit monitoring is a sensible idea.
Statistics show that there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017 – and that’s an eye-popping number (and a good enough reason to invest in credit monitoring).
Today I want to share with you my list of the best credit monitoring services – as well as what’s good about them. Read on if you want to know more about how to keep your credit safe.
Best Credit Monitoring Services
Here are the 9 best credit monitoring services for 2020:
- Credit Karma
- Privacy Guard
- Credit Sesame
- Identity Guard
Credit Karma Credit Monitoring
Credit Karma is the only completely free option for credit monitoring – and it even has some pretty cool features.
If you want to find out more about your credit score and better manage your money – it’s pretty great (as long as you don’t mind the ads).
- Free to use. Unlike Privacy Guard, Credit Karma won’t cost you a dime!
- Free credit score. Access your credit score for free (updated monthly). The tool also allows you to see your credit factors (what’s boosting or hurting your credit score).
- Credit summaries. Credit Karma offers credit summaries by TransUnion and Equifax (two major credit bureaus).
- Alerts for unusual activity. You can also set up alerts that help you monitor your credit score and your credit activity.
- Ads. Credit Karma is free, but it has to make its money somehow, so customers are bombarded with ads as they use the tool.
- No Experian score. While Privacy Guard offers credit scores from all three bureaus – Credit Karma doesn’t provide access to your credit report from Experian.
Privacy Guard Credit Monitoring
Privacy Guard is an identity protection service that offers credit monitoring.
The company uses cutting-edge technology to offer several credit and identity monitoring services, like daily monitoring (text, e-mail, or a phone call each time your credit info changes) allowing you to know exactly what is going on with your accounts.
- Affordable trial. You can try Privacy Guard for $1. Affordable – but not free.
- Privacy Guard provides $1 million in insurance to cover any damages and costs relating to recovering your identity (and will pair you with a dedicated caseworker)
- Credit scores from all 3 bureaus. The company offers credit scores based on data from all three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
- Cheaper than other services. Private Guard prices start from $9.99 – which is pretty good compared to its rivals.
- Frequent info. You can get monthly credit reports, helping you stay on top of the game.
- No free trial. One of the downsides of Privacy Guard is the lack of free trial. The trial is cheap ($1) – but that still means you’re spending money on it right away, while many other companies will allow you to try their services for free first.
- No family plan. If you want comprehensive protection for your whole family, you’d need to choose Identity Force or Identity Guard instead.
Credit Sesame has several goals, know your credit score, understand ways to improve it, and also know your options for getting credit card loans.
Credit Sesame not only shows you what your credit score is, but they also show you HOW it got there.
With Credit Sesame, you get an updated credit score every month from TransUnion.
Credit Sesame has a couple of different membership plans.
You’ve probably heard of the basic plan, which is free! 100% FREE! With this plan, you get free credit monitoring from one bureau and a monthly credit score.
Or you can spring for the “Advanced Credit” plan, which is $9.95/month.
You get the same monitoring, but you get your credit score from 3 bureaus AND you get a monthly full credit report from all three bureaus.
- Daily credit score (with the paid version)
- $50,000 identity theft insurance
- Tips on improving credit
- Score only from 1 bureau with the basic plan
- Customer service is difficult to reach
- Required to pay for features you can get for free with other services
IdentityForce Credit Monitoring
If you want to be able to choose advanced security features, IdentityForce may be a good option to try out.
That said, at $23.95 a month for a plan that includes credit monitoring, it does cost a pretty penny.
But if you’re looking for comprehensive identity and credit protection from a company that has been around for decades – Identity Force could be your guy.
- Advanced features. IdentityForce uses advanced detection technology and offers a ton of exciting identity and credit monitoring features (such as monitoring the black market to see if anyone’s sold your information).
- $1 million identity theft insurance. If you become a victim of identity theft, you’ll receive $1 million in insurance (to cover the costs of restoring your identity).
- Free trial. You can try it for free for 14 days.
- User-friendly interface. Another bonus of the higher cost – a well-designed interface.
- Credit scores from all 3 bureaus. IdentityForce gives you access to your credit report information from all 3 bureaus.
- Not free. IdentityForce is not free; however, is in line with several rival services.
Identity Guard Credit Monitoring
Another service that offers all-round protection is Identity Guard.
With several different plans to choose from, it offers powerful identity theft protection – including credit monitoring services.
- Impressive features. Identity Guard offers several cool features – from credit scores and reports to high-risk transaction alters, and dark web monitoring.
- IBM Watson. Identity Guard utilized IBM Watson – a very impressive software that monitors and processes trillions of data points to alert you if your identity has been compromised.
- If the worst happens, Identity Guard will provide $1 million in insurance (as well as a dedicated case manager who will help restore your identity).
- Not cheap. While the Premier plan is slightly cheaper than UltraSecure+Credit offered by IdentityForce, it still isn’t the most affordable option.
- No sex offender registries. If you’re paying a lot for a service, you expect it to go the extra mile, don’t you? Well, while IdentityForce will alert you if a sex offender has utilized your data (or is moving to your neighborhood) – you won’t get that from Identity Guard.
Experian Credit Monitoring
Experian – which is one of the three credit bureaus – also offers credit monitoring services.
One of the advantages of choosing credit monitoring from one of the bureaus is that you can quickly freeze your Experian file should anything happen (but will need to contact TransUnion and Equifax directly to freeze those lines).
There are several different plans, but the one that includes credit monitoring will cost you $19.99 a month.
- Credit monitoring for all 3 bureaus. Experian monitors your credit reports across all 3 bureaus. You can, of course, sign up for a cheaper version (IdentityWorks Plus costs $9.99) that only monitors Experian credit report – and monitor the other two for free using Credit Karma.
- Credit scores from all 3 bureaus. Experian also gives you access to your credit scores from all 3 bureaus (if you choose the Premium plan).
- Experian will immediately notify you if anything changes on your credit reports.
- Mobile app. You can access all your info via a mobile app, which is pretty handy.
- Like its competitors, Experian will provide $1 million in insurance.
- Free trial. You can try Experian for 30 days for free – which should be enough to know whether it’s the right tool for you.
- 2 months free. If you get the annual membership, you can save about 17% annually, which works out as 2 months of free credit monitoring.
- Not free. Experian is slightly higher that it’s non-free competitors.
myFICO Credit Monitoring
myFICO gives you access to credit reports as well as your credit scores from all three bureaus – which makes it one of the few.
There are three main plans to choose from – FICO Basic (1-Bureau), FICO Advanced (3-Bureau + quarterly reports), and FICO Premier (3-bureau + monthly credit reports).
The option with credit monitoring across all 3 bureaus costs $29.95 a month – not the most affordable credit monitoring service on the market.
- Credit scores and reports from all 3 bureaus. myFICO gives you access to your credit scores and reports from all 3 bureaus.
- FICO score updates. You’ll receive an update anytime a change is detected at a bureau.
- Advanced features. myFICO offers some cool features like dark web surveillance and identity theft monitoring.
- $1m insurance cover. Most paid-for credit monitoring service companies offer this, but it is still good to know that getting your life back on track post-identity theft will be made easier.
- No free trial. Bad news – you can’t try myFICO for free. If you want credit monitoring from all bureaus, you’ll need to commit to paying $29.95 a month right away.
- Cost. myFICO is more expensive than many of its rivals.
TransUnion Credit Monitoring
TransUnion is another major credit bureau in the U.S. –and it also offers credit monitoring services to its customers.
The cost for the plan is $24.95 per month – but one of the downsides is that it only gives you access to your TransUnion credit report and score, not the other 2 bureaus.
- Get notified if anything changes on your credit reports, immediately.
- Access to your credit score and report. You’ll get unlimited access to your credit score and up-to-date reports.
- Only TransUnion reports and scores. For $24.95, you’d expect to be able to access information from all three bureaus – but that’s not the case with TransUnion. You get unlimited access to your credit information – but only TransUnion credit scores and reports.
- Negative feedback. I’ve come across quite a lot of negative feedback about TransUnion online, which raises some red flags.
LifeLock Credit Monitoring
LifeLock is another company that aims to help you monitor your credit reports – and alert you as soon as any potential problems arise.
It will also help you recover if your identity is stolen.
- Credit scores from all 3 bureaus. LifeLock gives you access to your credit report information from all 3 bureaus.
- Wide-ranging alerts for suspicious activity. Get alerts for Social Security Number uses, personal data use, investment activity, and more.
- Monthly credit score tracking. Get access to your credit score monthly (however – only from one bureau).
- The cost. LifeLock costs $29.99 a month ($329.89 a year) – which isn’t cheap.
- Not great for family protection. While you can add children to your plan for $5.99, your partner would need a separate package. There are more affordable options for family protection.
Why You Should Be Monitoring Your Credit
Regularly checking up on your credit score and reports is definitely something I’d recommend you do if you want to keep your credit information safe.
Identity theft is a global issue affecting billions of people around the globe each year – and you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to identify any problems as soon as they occur.
Keeping on top of your credit data will give you peace of mind (even though it can’t prevent identity theft) – as well as help you understand how your credit score changes over time.