Have You Ever Considered a Credit Monitoring Service?
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The health of your credit depends greatly on a variety of factors, including but not limited to your use of any and all credit and loan products, fraud issues, the types of credit accounts you have, and even the length in which they’ve been active. Any of these factors can negatively affect your credit score and credit report, which is why it’s so important that you keep an eye on your credit report.
What is Credit Monitoring?
In today’s day and age, not only do all your financial decisions affect your credit, but your credit affects your financial options. Your credit is a leading factor that determines whether or not you qualify for certain financial benefits and products. Loan approval, interest rates, rental agreements, and insurance premiums can all be greatly affected by your financial health (click here to learn more about the benefits of healthy credit).
A Credit monitoring service can help you manage your finances, keep track of your credit score, make sure your credit accounts are all in good standing and even help you deal with fraud. If you frequently request copies of your credit report and your credit score from either Equifax or TransUnion, then credit monitoring might be exactly what you need.
How Does Credit Monitoring Work?
Credit monitoring grants you access to your credit history, which means you can check your credit report on a regular basis without having to request a new copy and pay another fee. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll have access to your own account where you can review your credit report and receive alerts concerning your credit information. Some credit monitoring services have additional tools and services to help you manage your credit score. For example, some credit monitoring services have a built-in simulator that shows you the potential effect your credit may have from certain actions like paying late, applying for new credit, paying off certain debts, etc.
Cost of a Credit Monitoring Service
Depending on which credit monitoring service providers you choose, it can cost you on average anything between $9.99 and $34.99 a month. Services with additional tools and features like a credit simulator or debt calculator will often charge more than other providers. Do watch out for claims that offer free unlimited access to your credit score or report as they often come with a subscription fee to an alternative service. For example, they may offer you free access to your credit score when you subscribe to their credit building program.
Credit Monitoring Pros and Cons
Here are a few benefits and drawbacks that come with a credit monitoring service.
|Helps you keep track of your credit score||Most credit monitoring services will have a price tag.|
|Let’s you monitor all of your credit files||Does not help you prevent identity theft|
|Alerts you when a new credit account is opened in your name.|
|Alerts you when you’ve missed a payment.|
|Keeps you informed about all the issues and changes concerning your credit.|
|Provides additional tools and services that can help you monitor and build your credit score.|
How Do You Choose a Credit Monitoring Service?
There are a number of service providers out there who provide credit monitoring services. In order to choose one that gives you the most value for your money, we’ve compiled a list of factors you should evaluate before signing up for a credit monitoring service.
- Legitimacy – It is important to consider who is providing the service. Often times, scammers will create fake services in order to steal your information and identity. It is important to check reviews and see if they are accredited by the BBB.
- Customer service – Bad customer service can really impact your experience with a product, especially, when it comes to online services. The ability to access good customer service when you encounter problems and technical difficulties is essential for customer satisfaction. Moreover, you’ll want to read reviews on their policy on cancellation as some providers make it extremely difficult.
- Features – Besides the ability to monitor your credit, do you need the additional tools they are providing? Do they bring you value or are they just nice to have? The more features you choose the more it will impact the price you pay.
- Cost – As mentioned, you should evaluate the features you need as it will affect the price you pay. Even the cheapest credit monitoring service can cost you on average $120 or $420 or more a year. If the additional features aren’t providing you with enough value, consider going for a service that is more simple.
Credit Monitoring Services in Canada
|Monthly Fee|| Identity Theft |
|Transunion||$19.95||Yes||No||– Personalized Debt Analysis & Trends |
– Identity theft insurance
|Equifax||$19.95||Yes||No||– Identity theft insurance |
– Identity restoration – Alerts on key changes to your credit report
|Marble Score-Up||$49.99 – $99.99||No||Yes||– Credit Score Simulator |
– Monthly credit progression reports.
|Borrowell||Free||No||No||– AI credit coach|
– Product recommendations
|RBC FirstReport-Advantage||$19.99||Yes||No||– Online monitoring|
Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft
It’s a common misconception that a credit monitoring service can help you prevent identity theft. While this is regrettably not the case, credit monitoring can help you react quickly and help you stay organized should anyone ever try to steal your identity.
Unfortunately, if a criminal has the intent to steal your identity, they will more than likely be successful. Once a criminal applies for new credit in your name or opens a new account in your name, a credit monitoring service will alert you. This can help you take action right away and hopefully limit the amount of damage they’re able to do. This service will also make it easier for you to contact any of your creditors affected in the event that your identity is stolen. You’ll be able to access all your creditors’ information in one convenient location.
For more information on identity theft and your credit, read this article.
Who Should Set up Credit Monitoring?
Anyone who actively uses credit can set up credit monitoring. Keep in mind that you must pay for this service, so if that’s a concern for you, it may not be the best choice. While almost anyone can benefit from credit monitoring, there are certain situations where it can be particularly valuable.
- If you’re very concerned about identity theft and are looking to protect yourself.
- If you need help keeping track of your credit accounts.
- If you’re looking to improve your credit score
Your credit is an incredibly important tool in today’s world. It can affect your ability to access different credit products as well as affordable interest rates. It can also affect your insurance premiums, your ability to rent and even your job opportunities. As such, it is smart to keep on top of your credit and monitor it. Overall, credit monitoring is a great financial tool that can help you achieve your financial goals, get back on track after a rough patch and even alert you to suspicious activity.
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