Have You Ever Considered A Credit Monitoring Service?

Have You Ever Considered A Credit Monitoring Service?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated April 12, 2022

The health of your credit depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to your use of credit and loan products that are reported to the credit bureaus, potential fraud issues, the types of credit accounts you have, and even the length in which they’ve been active. Because there are so many factors at play when it comes to your credit, it’s important to regularly monitor both your credit scores and credit reports. 

What Is Credit Monitoring?

Your credit is one of the factors that determine whether or not you qualify for certain financial benefits and products. Loan approval, interest rates, rental agreements, and insurance premiums can all be affected by the health of your credit. 

A credit monitoring service can help you keep track of your credit score (if the provider offers this option), make sure your credit accounts are all in good standing and even help you deal with fraud. If you frequently check 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?

All credit monitoring services will work slightly differently. But in general, 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 that will show you your credit score and help you manage it. For example, some credit monitoring services have a built-in simulator that shows you the potential effect certain actions may have on your credit. For example, making late payments, applying for new credit, paying off certain debts, etc.

How Much Does Credit Monitoring Cost In Canada?

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. 

Credit Monitoring Pros And Cons

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks that come with a credit monitoring service. 

Pros Of Credit Monitoring

  • Track Your Credit Scores – Some credit monitoring services provide access to your credit report and credit score.
  • Monitor Credit Reports – This lets you monitor your credit report for errors and suspicious activity. 
  • Missed Payment Alerts – Credit monitoring also provides alerts for key changes to your account like missed payments.
  • Credit Alerts – Alerts you when a new credit account is opened in your name. This can help prevent fraud from identity theft. Overall, it keeps you informed about all the issues and changes concerning your credit.
  • Additional Tools – Depending on the credit monitoring provider, you may have access to tools and services that can help you monitor and build your credit scores

Cons Of Credit Monitoring

  • Cost – Most credit monitoring services will have a price tag. 
  • Doesn’t Prevent Identity Theft – While credit monitoring can help you spot signs of identity theft and even stop the fraudster from opening credit accounts in your name, it cannot prevent identity theft. 
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How To 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. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information to the service provider, so make sure you’re comfortable with this before signing up.

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? For example, some offer identity theft insurance, credit scoring simulators, access to a credit coach, and other features. Be sure to assess whether these services bring you value or are they just nice to have? The more features you choose the more it will likely impact the price you pay. 

Cost

As mentioned, you should evaluate the features you need as it will likely affect the price you pay. Even the cheapest credit monitoring service can cost you on average $120 to $360 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 FeeIdentity Theft ProtectionCredit BuildingAdditional Tools
Transunion$19.95YesNo– Personalized Debt Analysis & Trends
– Identity theft insurance
Equifax$19.95 or  $29.95YesNo– Identity theft insurance
– Identity restoration  
– Lost Wallet Assistance
– WebScan
– Credit Score Trend 
Marble Premium$29.99NoYes– Credit Score Simulator
– Budget Simulator
– Track Spending
BorrowellFreeNoNo– AI credit coach
– Product recommendations 
FirstReport$12.99 or $19.99YesNo– Historical Scan
– ID Restoration

Transunion

TransUnion is one of the two major credit bureaus in Canada. They offer a credit monitoring service for a monthly cost of $19.95, which comes up to $239.40 a year. When you sign-up for TransUnion’s credit monitoring service, you’ll be able to review your TransUnion credit report and credit score without any restrictions. 

You’ll also get email alerts when there are any major changes to your credit report such as new accounts being opened. The service also comes with additional features including identity theft insurance (up to $50,000 coverage), and a debt and credit analysis tool. This tool analyzes your debt and credit to help you make better credit decisions.

Equifax

Equifax also offers a credit monitoring service for a monthly fee. They offer two options: Equifax Premier ($19.95) and Equifax Friends and Family ($29.95). The Equifax Friends and Family option offers all the features of Equifax Premier except it allows you to add a second person to your plan so that both profiles may be monitored. 

When you sign-up for Equifax’s credit monitoring service you’ll have unlimited access to both your Equifax credit report and credit score. You’ll also get alerts on any key changes to your report or score. Similar to Transunion, you’ll also have access to additional tools such as:

  • Id Restoration – With this, you’ll have access to a specialist who will help guide you through restoring your identity in the event of identity theft. 
  • WebScan –  If your SIN, bank account number, or credit card numbers are found on shady websites, Equifax will alert you.
  • Lost Wallet Assistance – If you lose your wallet, Equifax will help you cancel and restore your credit cards and ID.
  • Credit Score Trending – This feature will allow you to see your credit score trends over time.
  • Identity Theft Insurance – Get up to $1M coverage for identity theft related expenses.

Marble Premium

When you sign-up for Marble Premium, you’ll gain access to your credit report and monthly credit score. For a monthly fee of $29.99, you’ll be able to track your credit score and monitor your report for any errors or suspicious activity. You’ll also gain access to a host of other tools and services including: 

  • Point Simulator – This feature provides specific actions you can take to help you build your credit score. 
  • Budget Simulator – This feature takes your budget into account when providing you with recommendations on how you can improve your credit score. 
  • Track Your Spending Habits – You can also connect your bank account to your Marble Premium plan to help you track your monthly spendings. 

Borrowell

Borrowell is a Canadian company that strives to educate and make personal finance more accessible.  They currently offer Canadians access to their Equifax credit report and score for free, which is updated on a weekly basis. Along with it, you’ll also get: 

  • AI-Powered Credit Coach – With Borrowell’s AI-Powered Credit Coach, you’ll get personalized advice on how to improve your credit. 
  • Personalized Credit Recommendations – Borrowell will analyze your credit profile to provide you with personalized recommendations for different financial products. 

FirstReport 

You can get this service for a fee of $12.99 or $19.99 a month depending on the plan you get. FirstReport offers two plans: FirstReport – ID and FirstReport – Advantage. With the FirstReport- Advantage plan, you’ll have the same benefits as the ID plan plus access to your Equifax Canada Credit Report (quarterly), credit score (monthly), and dual credit bureau monitoring. Unlike the other credit monitoring services, this one provides you with credit monitoring with both credit bureaus. So if there’s any suspicious activity reported only with one credit bureau, you’ll still be able to catch it. 

Additionally, both plans offer the following features: 

  • Historical Scan – The feature uses your information and scans it against shady websites to see if there’s any suspicious activity. 
  • ID Restoration – This feature offers a number of perks including a victim toolkit, fraud alerts, emergency cash and other identity restoration tools. 

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.

If a criminal applies for new credit in your name or opens a new account in your name, a credit monitoring service will be able to alert you that a new account has been opened or that there has been a change to your credit report. 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.

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.

  1. If you’re very concerned about identity theft and are looking to protect yourself.
  2. If you need help keeping track of your credit accounts.
  3. If you’re looking to improve your credit score.

Credit Monitoring FAQs

Can credit monitoring prevent identity fraud? 

No, credit monitoring cannot stop identity fraud, it can only help you stop the individual who has stolen your identity from accessing credit under your name. 

Can I get credit monitoring for free?

Credit monitoring usually comes with a monthly fee, however, some providers provide free trials. Currently, Borrowell is one of the only providers that offers free credit monitoring. 

What is a fraud alert? 

A fraud alert is a notice that is placed on your credit file. It notifies future lenders and creditors that you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft. When they see this notice, they’ll take extra measures to identify you before extending new credit to you, which can help prevent fraudsters from accessing credit under your name. 

Bottom Line

Your credit is an 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 credit goals, get back on track after a rough patch, and even alert you to suspicious activity.


Rating of 5/5 based on 3 votes.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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