5 Free Credit Monitoring Sites: Review
Though you can see free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com, that’s only once a year. And you’re not entitled to free annual credit scores at all. That’s what makes free credit monitoring services so attractive, but what do they offer exactly, and which one is best for you? Find out in this review of your top 5 options. If you have questions about credit monitoring, read out article on Credit Monitoring FAQs.
What the Top 5 Have In Common
Free credit report information. Most of these sites provide information from your TransUnion credit reports, but a couple of them provide info from the reports of Equifax and Experian, too. So, if you sign up for multiple sites, it’s possible to keep an eye on all three credit reports.
Free VantageScore 3.0. The VantageScore was created by the three major credit reporting bureaus in 2006. They’d hoped to become competitive with the all-important FICO Score, but FICO is still reportedly used by 90 percent of creditors. That said, the VantageScore will at least give you an idea of where your credit stands. And if you see it fluctuate significantly up or down, chances are your FICO Score is, too.
Factors impacting your credit. They’ll point out important things on your credit reports and how they’re affecting your credit scores.
No credit card required. There’s no “free trial” that requires a credit card that gets charged if you don’t cancel. These services truly are free. The only exception is if you upgrade to a premium version.
Alerts notifying you of changes to your credit reports. This may include things like hard inquiries, new accounts, late payments, and accounts that have been turned over to collection agencies. The sooner you know these changes have happened, the sooner you can address them. For instance, if you see a new account pop up that you didn’t open, you may be a victim of identity theft. Or, if you see an account that’s in good standing get turned over to a collection agency, there’s been a mistake.
Personal information. They’ll have to collect this from you in order to access your credit reports and scores (e.g., name, birthdate, social security number).
Tough security. All of these credit monitoring sites use industry leading security, encryption, and firewall practices.
Targeted advertising. If you’re wondering why these credit monitoring sites would provide this service for free, this is the reason — they make money off targeted advertising. For example, they’ll show you credit card offers that you’ll likely qualify for. If you apply through their site, they get paid for it.
5 Free Credit Monitoring Services
- Free TransUnion and Equifax credit report information updated weekly
- Free VantageScore 3.0 updated weekly
- Free Experian credit report information updated every 2 weeks
- Free VantageScore 3.0 updated every 2 weeks
- Free TransUnion credit report information updated monthly
- Free VantageScore 3.0 updated monthly
- $50,000 identity theft insurance
- Option to upgrade to paid credit monitoring that will increase the frequency of score updates and give you access to credit information from all three credit bureaus
- Free TransUnion credit report information updated daily
- Free VantageScore 3.0 updated daily
- Free TransUnion credit report information updated every 3 months
- Free VantageScore 3.0 updated every 3 months
- Option to upgrade to paid credit monitoring if you want to see your reports and scores every month
The way to see information from all three credit reports is to sign up for both Credit Karma (which covers TransUnion and Equifax) and Credit.com (which covers Experian).
That said, there are perks to a couple of the others services, too.
If you want to keep a super-close eye on things, you might want to throw WalletHub into the mix, as it updates reports and scores daily. Credit Sesame’s $50,000 identity theft insurance is also worth looking into. The only one of these sites that doesn’t seem to have anything special to offer is Quizzle, but it’s included here since it is considered one of the top free credit monitoring services.
Of course, if you’d rather just keep it simple with just one credit monitoring site — at least to start — go with Credit Karma. Weekly updates are a good frequency and you get information from two of three credit reports.