Credit monitoring services track changes in your borrowing behavior and notify consumers of any fraud and changes in your creditworthiness. A credit monitoring service can protect you from identity theft. If your credit card is stolen, the monitoring service will detect different buying patterns and alert you. The service also monitors your credit report and score. If anything suspicious appears on your report, you can take action as soon as possible and prevent fraud from taking place. There are two primary monitoring options offered by website providers; free and paid credit monitoring services. Here is a breakdown of the two to help you choose the better option.
Free Monitoring Services.
Credit experts urge people to enroll in free credit monitoring. Free credit-monitoring tools and services are available from various sources, including credit bureaus and utilities, state governments, chain stores, the federal government, and many other organizations. These services will alert you by email or text message when your personal information is used to apply for credit, including at a store. Also, when there are significant changes to the files Equifax, Experian and TransUnion maintain on you. For example, if someone opens a credit card in your name, you’ll know about it.
Benefits of Free Monitoring Services.
For some, free credit monitoring offers everything they need to keep their financial records safe. As long as you meet the criteria set by various companies offering this service, you can easily enroll in a program without making any payment. However, you could be forced to give up your credit protection once your free trial expires. Free services are great because they typically provide an expansive list of benefits you won’t find with other monitoring services. For example, some free programs offer daily monitoring alerts so you can be informed of any suspicious activity immediately. These alerts come by text message, email, or phone. With many free services, you can choose to receive updates only when a change in your credit report has been made. These typically include things like a new account being opened in your name or a new hard inquiry on an existing line of credit. This is convenient if you’re not interested in monitoring your credit on an ongoing basis.
Paid Monitoring Services.
Although you’ll have to shell out some money for paid monitoring services, they tend to provide more comprehensive benefits than free programs. Paid services offer much greater protections than their free counterparts. These include daily monitoring of your credit reports and instant alerts that let you know if someone is trying to open an account in your name or access any of your existing accounts and the capability of setting up alerts for when your credit score changes.
Benefits of Paid Credit Monitoring.
Free credit monitoring allows you to access information from one or two credit bureaus. However, the paid option lets you simultaneously access the three bureaus’ reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. This makes it easier to monitor your credit. Fee-based credit monitoring has up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. If you want a paid credit monitoring service, ensure you shop around to get the best deal. Please check out these credit alert services to see the best fit for your needs.
Which is Better?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to credit monitoring. What works for me may not be best for you. Free programs can potentially offer a lot of value for those who aren’t looking to pay any fees and prefer only to receive alerts of certain types. Experts recommend checking out paid credit monitoring services for those who want a more comprehensive and constant monitoring service. You can rest easier knowing your financial information is safe, and you’ll always know if there’s something amiss with it. In the end, that’s what this is all about; ensuring your credit stays as safe, and you do not have to worry about identity theft and all the problems that can come along with it.
Everybody should monitor their credit reports and alert credit bureaus if they notice any mistake. Whether you decide to go for the free option or prefer paying for a more robust service, credit monitoring service is a personal decision. Only you can decide whether to pay for the service. The best thing about credit monitoring is that the only wrong decision is ignoring your reports. If you have a busy schedule, go for the paid option. However, you can choose free monitoring services if you have the time and discipline to follow through with credit monitoring on your own.