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Best credit monitoring services for February 2024

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Your credit score may only consist of three numbers, but those three numbers can have a significant impact on your finances. A bad or fair credit score could disqualify you for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and more. And if you are approved, you will likely pay a much higher interest rate than someone with a good or excellent credit score.

Since your credit score is so important, it’s vital to keep a close eye on it—especially if you’re actively working to improve it. A credit monitoring service can help you keep an eye on your score in real-time and alert you if there is any unusual activity or major changes on your credit report. The best credit monitoring services do all that, and more. Here are our top picks for the best credit monitoring services.

Best credit monitoring services for January 2024

Free $8.99 to $29.99 per month (individual); $14.99 to $39.99 per month (family)

$19.99 to $19.99 per month

$12 to $32 per month (billed annually); $15 to $45 per month (billed monthly)

Our recommendations for best credit monitoring services for January 2024

Best for free credit monitoring: Experian

Experian CreditWorks℠

Credit scoring model used

FICO Score

Experian is best known as one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion are the other two), but it also provides credit monitoring services. For no charge, you can get access to Experian’s FICO score tracker, which lets you see how your score changes over time. You can also get alerts from Experian when your score changes so you can make adjustments to your financial behavior as needed.

Although Experian’s free service is fairly bare-bones compared to paid credit monitoring services, it’s ideal for those who just want a way to keep tabs on their credit score. However, you also have the option to upgrade to Premium or Family plans, which cost $24.99 to $34.99 per month. The paid plans include monitoring from all three credit bureaus, subscription cancellation, bill negotiation, identity protection, and more. Experian offers a seven-day free trial of this service so you can check it out before committing to the monthly payment (and you can cancel before the trial period ends to avoid being charged if it’s not the right fit).

Best for wide range of plans: MyFICO

MyFico credit score

Monthly fee

$19.95 to $39.95 per month

Credit scoring model used

FICO Score

MyFICO has four subscription options—one free and three paid. The range of plans gives you more options, so you can find the one that best suits your needs and your budget. With the free subscription, you’ll get basic credit monitoring services, including monthly updates on your FICO score. This plan will likely be sufficient for those who simply want to keep an eye on their credit score and identify any issues so they can address them quickly.

If you want more from your credit monitoring service, you can opt for one of the three paid subscriptions (Basic, Advanced, and Premier). All include $1 million in identity theft coverage, as well as 24/7 identity restoration. The Advanced and Premier plans monitor all three credit bureaus, while the Basic plan only monitors Experian. The two higher plans also offer identity monitoring. The paid plans cost between $19.95 and $39.95 per month, depending on which one you choose.

Best for identity protection: IdentityGuard

Identity Guard

Monthly fee

Free $8.99 to $29.99 per month (individual); $14.99 to $39.99 per month (family)

Credit scoring model used

VantageScore

IdentityGuard’s main goal is to provide customers with identity protection, but it also offers credit monitoring services with some of its plans. Getting an IdentityGuard subscription means you can keep tabs on your credit score, as well as your bank accounts and personal information, to identify potential fraud early on and address it before it gets out of hand.

IdentityGuard has a total of six plans (three individual plans and three family plans), and all include $1 million in identity theft insurance. This insurance can help cover legal fees and stolen funds if you’re a victim of identity theft. If you want credit protection, however, you’ll need to opt for either the Total or Ultra plans (the Value plan includes identity protection but not credit protection). Prices range from $8.99 to $39.99 per month.

Best for fraud resolution: PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard has three plans, two of which—Credit Protection and Total Protection—include credit monitoring. All three plans offer a dedicated ID fraud resolution agent, who can help you through the process of restoring your identity. This can be a valuable service, since dealing with identity theft is stressful, and being bounced among several different representatives can add to that stress. The agent will walk you through the process step by step and be on hand to answer any questions you have along the way.

Additionally, PrivacyGuard monitors all three credit bureaus on a daily basis and provides monthly credit score tracking so you can see your score in real time. All plans include access to the PrivacyGuard app, which allows you to keep tabs on your credit score and other financial information on the go. Costs range from $19.99 to $24.99 per month for the plans that include credit monitoring.

Best for money back guarantee: Aura

Aura’s credit monitoring plans come with a 14-day trial and a generous 60-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test out the service risk free. There is one caveat, though; the money-back guarantee only applies if you purchase a plan through the Aura website (third-party purchases, such as from Amazon, are not eligible).

There are three plans to choose from: Individual, Couple, and Family. All plans include three-bureau credit monitoring, the ability to instantly lock your Experian credit file, monthly credit score updates, and fraud monitoring. The Family plan offers the most features, but it’s designed for five adults and unlimited children, so it’s not a great fit for smaller families. However, the offerings in the Individual and Couple plans will likely be sufficient for most people. The cost of a plan depends on whether you choose to pay monthly or annually, with a discount for paying annually. You can expect to pay between $12 and $32 a month if you pay annually, or between $15 and $45 if you pay monthly.

Methodology

To determine the best credit monitoring services, we evaluated numerous companies offering both credit monitoring and identity protection. We compared features and offerings, as well as pricing, to find out which services offered the best value for the money. We considered basic credit monitoring services for those who simply want to keep track of their credit score, as well as more comprehensive services that included identity protection and other features that may be of interest to some customers. Once we had our finalists, we evaluated them to determine how they stood out, and awarded them titles representing their most outstanding features.

How to compare credit monitoring services

When comparing credit monitoring services, it’s important to start by listing the features that are important to you. For example, if you want identity protection as well as credit monitoring, you’ll want to make sure your chosen service offers what you need. Once you have your list of must-haves, you can start checking to see which services fit the bill.

You’ll also need to consider which credit scoring model you want to view: FICO score or VantageScore. FICO is the most commonly used, but either model can give you an idea of your creditworthiness. However, if you want to know your score using a specific model, you’ll need to make sure your chosen monitoring services use that model.

After that, you can compare costs and additional features and determine which one will be the best for you. You might find that a service costs more than you wanted to spend but has several extra features that make the additional cost worth it. On the other hand, you might find a cheaper plan with a different credit monitoring service that provides everything you need without paying for any extras.

You can also check out free trials of the services that interest you, or sign up for free plans to test out the basic versions. If you can try out a service for free, it can help you figure out whether it’s what you’re looking for without committing any money. Once you’ve tested out the service, you can decide whether it’s the right one or if you want to keep looking.

Also consider reading online reviews of the services that interest you. Just bear in mind that unhappy customers are often more vocal, so don’t let negative reviews put you off. Instead, look to see whether the company has replied to negative reviews to try and make the situation right. A company that takes the time to listen to its customers’ concerns and try to work toward resolution could be more trustworthy than one that ignores or downplays the reviews of unhappy customers.

TIME Stamp: Monitoring your credit can have multiple benefits

Enrolling in a credit monitoring service has many benefits. It can help you keep track of how your credit score changes over time, and act as motivation if you’re actively working to improve your score. Many of the best credit monitoring services offer additional features, such as bank account monitoring and identity theft protection. Whether you choose a basic free service or a comprehensive paid plan, you can feel more confident in your financial health when you use a credit monitoring service.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring is a type of service that allows you to keep track of your credit score. You can use credit monitoring to be more aware of how your financial behavior affects your credit score, as well as to track your progress if you’re actively working to improve it. Credit monitoring can also help detect any fraud or mistakes in your credit report.

Do credit monitoring services provide free credit scores and reports?

Some do. Services such as Experian, MyFICO, and IdentityGuard offer a free plan that includes basic credit score and credit report information, and for many, that may be all they need. However, these and other services also offer paid subscriptions that add extra perks like identity protection.

How much does credit monitoring cost?

The exact cost of credit monitoring varies from service to service. Some services offer free plans, while others may cost up to $39.99 per month.

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