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TransUnion credit score and monitoring review
Sign up for unlimited access to your VantageScore and get tools to help keep your report safe.
If you’re looking to buy a house or take out a big loan soon, you may not want to wait around for once-a-year access to your free credit report. On top of that, reports leave out one of the most important factors of determining your overall creditworthiness — your credit score.
Among the three largest credit bureaus in the US, TransUnion offers a comprehensive monthly subscription that includes access to your VantageScore, detailed analysis of your credit and more.
What is TransUnion?
Founded in 1969, TransUnion is the youngest of the “big three” credit reporting bureaus in the US. It’s also the smallest, though it holds a database of more than 1 billion consumers across 33 countries.
TransUnion uses the VantageScore 3.0 model, grading consumers from 300 to 850. Generally, the higher your score, the more likely you’ll be offered competitive terms and low rates from creditors and lenders.
How can I check my credit score with TransUnion?
Though it’s not always clear on TransUnion’s site, the bureau appears to offer only one way to see your VantageScore: Through its Credit Monitoring subscription service.
For about $20 a month, you become a TransUnion member with unlimited access to the TransUnion Score & Report, which includes your VantageScore 3.0 — an industry score developed jointly by the three main bureaus.
Like similar bureau packages, you’ll have access to expert guidance and resources to help you analyze your debt, dispute items on your report or learn more about the path to financial freedom.
How much does it cost?
|TransUnion Credit Monitoring||$19.95 a month plus tax|
Will checking my credit score negatively affect my overall report?
No. Inquiring about your own credit score or report won’t damage your score because it’s only a soft pull of your credit. A hard pull of your credit is what can cause a minor ding to your score.
What other services does TransUnion offer?
Your membership includes:
- Credit Lock Plus. Use this tool to freeze your TransUnion and Equifax reports, preventing creditors from taking a look without your permission.
- Instant alerts. Know whenever anybody attempts to apply for credit in your name.
- ID theft insurance. Get insured for up to $1 million if you’re a victim of ID theft or fraud.
On the business side, TransUnion uses its extensive database of consumer information to help companies and industries narrow their focus on specific customers and employees and assess consumer data and trends. It also designs products for the government that assess risk, ensure safety and prevent cyber fraud.
Pros and cons
TransUnion can give you an idea of what a potential creditor might see when you apply for credit or a loan. But creditors tend to rely on your FICO Score, not the VantageScore that TransUnion provides.
Here’s what you’ll want to know about benefits and drawbacks before you subscribe with TransUnion.
- One of the “big three.” TransUnion is among the three major credit reporting agencies in the US.
- Comprehensive subscription. For $20 a month, you get unlimited access to your VantageScore and credit report, tools that can prevent access by creditors without your say and expert guidance on disputes and healthy credit habits.
- Easy-to-use app. A well-designed dashboard makes it easy to access your score and details on the go from your phone.
- Site isn’t transparent. So many of its individual product pages simply redirect you to a form that isn’t clearly marked as its subscription service.
- Info is for one person. Unlike competitors, you can’t add your partner or children to your account for simultaneous monitoring.
- No one-time option. TransUnion only offers a monthly subscription.
How do I sign up?
To sign up for TransUnion’s credit monitoring service, go to its site and click My Credit Score & Report or Get Your Credit Score.
To create a TransUnion account to log in to for future access to your subscription’s benefits, you’ll need to:
- Submit your personal details including your full name, birthdate, current address and Social Security number.
- Create a username and password.
- Enter your credit card details for payment.
- Verify your identity with a series of security questions that only you should know the answer to.
Compare TransUnion with other credit score services
Is TransUnion legit?
Yes. TransUnion joins Experian and Equifax in leading credit reporting within the lending industry. It reports your credit score using the VantageScore model, created jointly with the other two bureaus.
But the VantageScore it reports could differ from your FICO Score, which is more widely used among lenders and creditors.
Is there a way to get my credit score for free?
Yes. Many major credit card companies — like Discover and Capital One — have started sharing credit scores with consumers, whether they’re cardholders or not.
Customer service from TransUnion has been reported to be frustrating. This seems to be the result of having department specific phone numbers which makes it hard to get in contact with the representative who can serve you best.
The easiest way to get started is to log in to your TransUnion account. In your dashboard, you’ll see options for managing your subscription, disputing an item on your report, freezing access to your credit history and more.
Or call TransUnion to speak with an agent:
- Subscription questions. Call 1-855-681-3196 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight EST and Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
- Report and credit disputes. Call 1-800-916-8800 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST.
If you’re looking to get your finances in order over a period of time, but don’t want to spend too much, TransUnion offers a great value for the monthly subscription deal. The Credit Score Simulator can also help you find ways to improve your rating.
However, the TransUnion website wasn’t as competitive when it came to offering different tiers of services. If you were looking for the cheapest way to purchase a one-off credit score, you may want to look elsewhere.
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