What is credit monitoring? | finder.com
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What is credit monitoring?

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Stay in the loop on important changes to your report and get a leg up on credit card fraud.

Your credit report reflects not only your financial history but also your borrowing habits. Generally, the better those habits, the higher your credit score.

But credit reports aren’t without mistakes. And they can sometimes serve as an opportunity to stop credit card fraud in its tracks.

If you don’t have the time to monitor your financial health yourself, credit-monitoring services stand ready to help — most often for a fee.

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring is a service that alerts you when new information appears on your credit report, such as credit inquiries, new accounts or changes to your borrowing limits.

With credit monitoring, you sign on with a company that agrees to monitor your credit reports for changes or suspicious activity. They advertise these services as a way to detect fraud or ID theft. But they can also help you keep a closer eye on your overall financial health.

How can credit-monitoring services help me?

A credit-monitoring company can be a way for you to monitor what potential lenders and creditors see in your bureau reports. Most include services like:

  • Text and email alerts. You’re notified immediately after changes to your credit report, giving you a chance to spot inaccuracies and fix mistakes before your score is affected.
  • Fraud monitoring. By keeping close tabs on your report, these third parties can pinpoint strange activity that could be a result of credit card fraud.
  • Identity theft insurance. Some services offer identity theft insurance for a cushion of protection if your sensitive information gets into the wrong hands.

What credit monitoring can’t do

Though useful, credit monitoring has its limits. It can alert you to potential credit card fraud or ID theft, but it can’t:

  • Prevent fraud or a stolen identity from occurring in the first place.
  • Keep phishing calls or emails from reaching you.
  • Stop a fraudster from applying for credit in your name.
  • Take steps to correct errors in your credit reports.

Can I monitor my own credit?

Yes. But you’ll need to build it into your schedule.

Monitoring your credit means asking for copies of your credit report from all three reporting bureaus and regularly patrolling your report for inconsistencies or inaccuracies. To help you watch for fluctuations in your score, look into whether your bank, creditor or lender allows you free access to your FICO or other scores.

Should you spot anything suspicious, contact the appropriate credit bureau immediately to protect your credit score. Consider freezing your credit with the bureaus, rending your reports less accessible to anybody but your existing creditors until you’re able to resolve the problem.

Do I need to buy credit monitoring?

No. But it might make sense if you don’t have the time to monitor your credit yourself. If you’re already dealing with theft or fraud, credit monitoring can provide peace of mind that you’re actively protecting your credit from another offense.

Monitoring your credit yourself might make sense if:

  • You’re willing to freeze your credit reports. It’s just one tactic you can take to safeguard your credit without paying for a service.
  • You know how to read your reports. It takes time, but you can request your reports and regularly monitor the activity within them on your own.

Order your credit report online

Details Features
myFICO
myFICO
Get quarterly access to your most widely used FICO® Scores and a 3-bureau credit report
  • Get quarterly access to your most widely used FICO® Scores
  • Credit report change alerts
  • FICO® Score analysis
Go to site More info
Experian Credit Report
Experian Credit Report
Get your credit report and FICO score for just $1 with enrollment in Experian CreditWorks credit monitoring. Cancel anytime.
  • 3 credit reports
  • Track your FICO® score
  • Easy to use dashboard
Go to site More info
TransUnionCredit Report
TransUnionCredit Report
TransUnion credit score, monitoring and identity theft insurance.
  • Unlimited updates to your TransUnion credit score
  • Up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance
  • Personalized debt analysis
Go to site More info
Equifax Business Credit Monitor
Equifax Business Credit Monitor
Monitor your key business relationships to protect your company from losses.
  • Bankruptcy Alert
  • Derogatory Alerts
  • New Inquiry Alert
Go to site
GoFreeCredit.com
GoFreeCredit.com
$1 for a seven-day trial to get access to your credit score and credit report from TransUnion.
  • Credit reports from all 3 bureaus
  • Email alerts when your credit report changes
  • Up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance
Go to site More info
Details Features
Self Lender — Credit Builder Account
Self Lender — Credit Builder Account
Savings account that helps you build credit.
  • No hard credit inquiry
  • Available in all 50 states
  • It typically takes 60 days for new accounts to appear on credit reports
Go to site More info
The Credit People
The Credit People
Professionals work with you to clean up your credit and raise your credit scores. Cancel anytime.
  • 7-day trial for $19
  • Get access to your credit reports
  • Most customers see results within 2 months
Go to site More info
CreditRepair.com
CreditRepair.com
Online credit repair service.
  • Credit report repair
  • 24/7 credit monitoring and alerts
  • Score tracker and analysis
Go to site More info
CuraDebt: Tax Debt Relief Free Consultation
CuraDebt: Tax Debt Relief Free Consultation
Debt relief professionals helping individuals and small businesses nationwide.
  • Free consultation and 100% confidential
  • 15+ years experience
  • Debt relief help for credit cards, medical bills and taxes
Go to site
The Credit Pros: Legal Credit Repair
The Credit Pros: Legal Credit Repair
Online credit repair service that gives free consultations.
  • Delete inaccurate information on your credit report
  • Practical, honest credit advice from professionals
  • Get help setting realistic, reachable credit goals
Go to site More info
Lexington Law Credit Repair
Lexington Law Credit Repair
Law firm that specializes in credit repair.
  • Remove incorrect listings from your credit file
  • Get free access to your credit report
  • Personalized credit repair services
Go to site More info
CreditFirm.net
CreditFirm.net
Professional credit repair service that can help you create a step by step action plan. Cancel anytime.
  • Free credit consultation
  • Over 15 years of credit repair experience
  • Get help optimizing your credit file
Go to site

Bottom line

Credit-monitoring services promise to keep track of changes to your credit report. But while they can alert you to potential inaccuracies in your report, they can’t prevent them from happening.

Learn more about how you can monitor your financial history on your own in our comprehensive guide to your credit report.

Frequently asked questions

Shannon Terrell

Shannon Terrell is a writer for finder.com who studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto. On any given day, you can find her researching everything from equine financing and business loans to student debt refinancing and how to start a trust. She loves hot coffee, the smell of fresh books and discovering new ways to save her pennies.

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