Signing up for a credit monitoring service is a good thing, because they help you keep an eye on your finances, credit report/score, they alert you in case of any frauds (your name is being used to submit an application for a loan or a credit card, a new loan or credit card is opened in your name, there have been changes to your existing account balance, etc.).
Credit monitoring services usually charge you monthly fees and the average is somewhere around $20.
Here are some things to consider if you want to choose the best credit monitoring service for your needs:
- Choose a service that monitors all 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion. You should have access to the reports from all 3 of them, as they will be different from one another
- Compare prices from several credit monitoring providers, to choose the most competitive one. As a guideline, you shouldn’t pay over $20/month for a credit monitoring service
- Check out the update frequency of your credit score/report. Your info should be updated at least on a monthly basis, so that you don’t miss any important alerts
- Go for a company that offers a good, reliable, 24/7 customer support. Customer support is a very important aspect when it comes to credit monitoring agencies, in case there is any credit related emergency and you need assistance right away, regardless of the day or hour. How customer service is offered is also important. You should look for a service that offers as many reaching channels as possible: live chat, phone, e-mail
- Do some research on the company you are interested in. Check out as many reviews as possible, make sure that it has a good rating with the Better business Bureau (BBB) and it is a reputable, trustworthy company. You should also go with a provider that has been in business for a longer time, because it is more experienced. Also, don’t fall for promises that seem too good to be true, they usually are! For instance, if a company claims it can help you from having your identity stolen, it is most likely a lie, because credit monitoring companies don’t have the ability to do so. They can only alert you in case the identity theft has already taken place
- Try to look for companies that offer a free trial. That is a good way to test the service, make sure it works properly and it meets your needs. Free trial periods vary from company to company, they can last from a week to even a month.