Credit Repair

6 Apps to Monitor Your Credit

With hackers exposing the data of one big company after another, it’s natural to be concerned about the security of your credit. Nearly a third of U.S. consumers were potentially affected by a data breach in 2017, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. As criminals become more sophisticated, you may consider taking additional measures to ensure your credit is protected.

Credit monitoring services actively track changes to your credit and notify you of any changes. If a new account that you don’t recognize is opened in your name, you can take quick action to minimize potential damage.

Several companies offer credit monitoring services, all of which have different features and capabilities. Before choosing one, take a moment to compare their offerings to make sure you’re getting the service that makes sense for you.

6 ways to monitor your credit

When it comes to monitoring your credit, these companies provide some of the most popular and reputable options.

LendingTree

LendingTree offers a free credit monitoring service through its My LendingTree platform. LendingTree checks your credit profile daily and sends you alerts, including push notifications on your mobile device, of any changes or suspicious activity within 30 minutes of the report being updated. You can use the service to confirm or dispute any activities related to your credit score, including any new accounts that have been opened, credit inquiries or account status changes. The My LendingTree platform also provides you with easy access to your credit score and tailored product recommendations based on your credit profile, highlighting opportunities that may help you save money or improve your score.

You can access LendingTree’s credit monitoring online or through its mobile app, which is available in the Google Play store and Apple App Store.

Pros Cons
  • Mobile application offers push notifications so you can respond quickly to alerts
  • Free service
  • Can tell you the interest rate on your mortgage and provide an estimate of the potential savings if you refinance
  • Doesn’t provide identity theft monitoring
  • Credit score is based on VantageScore rather than FICO Score, which is the most commonly used score that lenders use to evaluate borrowers

CreditWise

CreditWise® is a credit monitoring service offered by Capital One. It provides a VantageScore, which is an alternative to a FICO score. CreditWise alerts you when your TransUnion or Experian credit report changes, including any credit inquiries and any delinquencies.

CreditWise also tracks uses of your Social Security number and scans the dark web, letting you know if your information has been found in a hacking forum or another illegal marketplace. It also offers a credit simulator to show the impact that opening new accounts or other credit activities could have on your credit score. CreditWise is available online and has mobile apps for Android and iPhone.

Pros Cons
  • Free service
  • Shows alerts from two credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion

IdentityForce

IdentityForce® is primarily an identity monitoring service, which differs from credit monitoring in a few ways. Most notably, identity monitoring specifically looks for instances of suspicious activity that could indicate someone is stealing your information, as opposed to simply providing an overview of your credit profile. But identity monitoring services don’t usually come free, and IdentityForce is no exception.

IdentityForce’s UltraSecure service costs $17.95 per month. It monitors your personal information and provides alerts for address changes, unusual social media activity and instances of your information showing up on the dark web. Its UltraSecure+Credit service adds credit report monitoring from all three credit bureaus, along with a credit score tracker and simulator for $23.95 per month. Both plans offer $1 million in identity theft insurance.

IdentityForce is offered online and through smartphone apps for Android and iPhone.

Pros Cons
  • UltraSecure+Credit offers monitoring from all three credit bureaus
  • Provides restoration services if your identity is compromised
  • Flags suspicious activity
  • Can be expensive compared with free services

LifeLock

LifeLock® is an identity protection service that also offers credit monitoring depending on the membership plan you choose. The service can monitor the dark web to ensure your information doesn’t appear on questionable websites and alert you to address changes, data breaches and more. It provides VantageScore credit scores.

LifeLock has three membership levels starting at $9.99 per month for the first year. The plan that includes credit monitoring is $29.99 per month for the first year. They offer online services as well as mobile apps.

Pros Cons
  • Includes Norton security protection
  • Monitors investment activity
  • Relatively expensive compared with free services
  • Credit monitoring doesn’t begin immediately
  • Norton Security features aren’t available on iPhones

Experian

Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, offers its own identity theft protection and credit monitoring services. Its IdentityWorks Plus plan offers identity monitoring, including monitoring of Social Security numbers, address changes and Experian credit reports. It starts at $9.99 per month. The IdentityWorks Premium plan adds credit monitoring from Equifax and TransUnion, and starts at $19.99 per month.

Experian credit scores are based on the FICO credit scoring system. Its monitoring services are available on its website. You can also download the free Experian app, which provides some limited Experian credit score and credit report monitoring.

Pros Cons
  • Offers fraud resolution services to assist you if needed
  • Includes up to $1 million of identity theft protection insurance, depending on the plan you choose
  • Plans are based on the number of users, which can drive up the monthly cost
  • Initial monitoring of Equifax and TransUnion reports takes about four days, and sometimes can’t begin during the trial period

TransUnion

TransUnion is one of the three main credit bureaus. It offers a free identity protection service and a paid subscription credit monitoring service for $24.95 per month. The paid subscription provides email updates and alerts of changes to your credit report. You can also lock and unlock your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports and use TransUnion’s score simulator to predict how changes to your credit will affect your credit score.

TransUnion’s paid subscription service also includes $1 million in identity theft insurance. It offers monitoring services through its website and mobile apps for Android and iPhone.

Pros Cons
  • Free identity monitoring
  • Daily updates
  • Only provides alerts about your TransUnion credit score and credit report
  • Must be able to answer identity verification questions, which can refer to information up to three years old

The bottom line: Know what’s happening with your credit

Keeping an eye on your credit can help you make informed financial decisions. Even if there is no suspicious activity, knowing your credit profile can help you take steps to improve your credit score by paying down your balances, reducing your credit utilization ratio or making payments on delinquent accounts.

You can also decide if a debt consolidation loan would be helpful. LendingTree offers a personal loan tool that may be able to connect you with potential loan offers from up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Staying on top of your credit reduces the likelihood you’ll suffer irreversible damage from identity theft. If you do notice unusual activity, immediately contact the relevant credit bureau and the creditor to let them know. When it comes to your credit, you can never be too safe.

Fees mentioned in this piece are accurate as of the date of publishing.

 

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