Reviewed: The 7 Best Credit Monitoring Services

Top 7 Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2017 | Video Review

Last Updated: July 06, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

Millions of Americans experience some form of identity theft every year. Being the victim of identity theft can result in not only financial hardships, but emotional stress as well. It can ruin your credit, cause you significant monetary losses, and result in legal problems. Credit monitoring is the first step in catching and stopping identity theft before it becomes damaging.

As a member of a credit monitoring program, you will be immediately notified if an account is opened in your name. This adds an extra layer of security between you and becoming a victim of fraud. Some services allow you to freeze your credit to prevent anyone from opening up a new account.

Credit monitoring isn't just about preventing identity theft, though. It can help you gain a better understanding of your credit score. Knowing exactly what is negatively affecting your credit puts you in a better position to correct course. It can help you integrate a strategy to increase your score.

Most credit monitoring services provide you with a credit score from all three bureaus. Knowing your credit score can help you plan your finances in advance. You will no longer have to chance damaging your credit score by applying for a loan you cannot be approved for. Instead, you will know your approval odds before you start the application process. Important notice: When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue.

Our Top Picks

Our #1 Pick Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame offers users a range of helpful services. It can be used to check your credit score, apply for credit cards, protect your identity, and more. The site also offers real-time credit monitoring. You don't ever have to submit any type of payment or credit card information. Every service they offer is completely free. It is an ideal resource to help you manage your credit strategy. It is also great for improving your credit score and finding your best options for loans.

Credit Sesame provides you with your Vantage 3.0 Transunion score. It is generally updated once a month. For some users they do periodically provide a second monthly score update. From the credit score dashboard, you can choose to see more details about the factors influencing your score. These include your payment history, credit usage, credit age, account mix, and inquiries. It also clearly shows exactly how much impact each of these factors has.

You're given recommendations on what credit cards you're most likely to be approved for based on your credit history. This can help prevent you from applying to cards you have little to no chance of actually getting. Your recommended cards are organized by the type of benefits they offer: cash back, airline miles, or points. Once you select the card you want, there is a link that takes you right to the application page.

Our #2 Pick Experian

Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus that track consumer credit information. At your request, they will provide you with a credit report. They can also provide you with your score. Other services they offer include identity theft protection, credit monitoring, and credit inaccuracy disputes. The website is a wealth of information on many financial topics. It offers tips on improving your credit score, preventing fraud, how to apply for loans, and how to get out of debt.

The credit report they provide lists all of the accounts that are currently attached to your name. This may include both currently open and closed accounts. It contains all of the information you need to dispute a negative mark that appears on your credit. When you request your credit score from Experian, you are provided your true FICO score. The FICO score is what banks and other institutions use to make loan and credit decisions. Many other sites provide a vantage score. The vantage score can differ significantly from your FICO score.

Experian's identity theft program monitors your credit activity across all three credit bureaus. It also monitors your social security number. You will be notified if any new addresses or aliases are linked to it. The identity theft program will also alert you if a new line of credit or a bank account is opened in your name. If you are concerned about possible identity theft, you can initiate a security freeze. This prevents any new accounts from being opened in your name.

IdentityForce provides members with one of the most comprehensive suites of identity protection tools. Their services go far beyond standard credit monitoring. They also provide court record, address, and fraud monitoring. If they notice any unusual activity, they will immediately notify you. This allows you to respond promptly to any threats. If you are somehow still the victim of identity theft, they provide identity theft insurance. You will also be assisted with an identity theft recovery plan.

IdentityForce provides you with credit scores from all three major bureaus: Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. It clearly displays your score from the main dashboard. They also show you how recently your credit information was updated. Users who click on the view report button will see a more detailed breakdown of their credit history. This includes the factors that affect your score, like late payments, open credit lines, and derogatory marks. The report can be printed for offline reference.

Your financial activity will be closely monitored by IdentityForce. This includes keeping track of any bank or credit accounts that are opened in your name. They will alert you of any large purchases on your credit cards. They will also notify you of drastic changes in savings and checking accounts. Members are even provided with lost wallet assistance.

Additional Options

Our #4 Pick Transunion

Transunion is a widely known credit bureau. You can use their website to pull your credit report and view your credit score. They also provide a simple process for disputing any inaccuracies that may be negatively affecting your score. To reduce the possibility of identity theft, they offer credit monitoring and identity protection services. The website itself is well-laid for simple navigation.

LifeLock can help reduce the possibility of you ever becoming the victim of identity theft. For those already affected, it can help you recover from the damages and restore your good credit rating. To do this, they provide a range of identity protection services. This includes credit monitoring, alert notifications, identity theft insurance, and recovery plans. They also offer stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation.

Our #6 Pick Credit Karma

Credit Karma is a free, easy-to-use website to obtain two of your Vantage credit scores: Transunion and Equifax. They also provide credit monitoring to help you spot early warning signs of identity theft. The website has a clean user interface that makes it simple to navigate. Upon logging in, you will immediately be presented with your credit scores. These scores are updated every seven days. Many other websites only update your scores once a month.

Our #7 Pick PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard offers members a variety of fraud protection services. These include credit monitoring, identity theft recovery plans, suspicious activity alerts, and more. On signup, members are provided a credit report from all three bureaus and credit scores. An updated report and scores are provided every month. To protect your identity, it monitors your social security number, bank accounts, and public records. Members who are the victim of fraud are provided with one million dollars in identity theft insurance.

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