Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Saturday, March 2nd
If you're going to monitor your credit, why not go directly to one of the three credit bureaus? Experian lets you do that at absolutely no cost - a big improvement over our last evaluation, when they charged for those services. While naturally there are some limitations - it's not like Experian is going to give you access to your credit reports from the other two bureaus - you'll still find some great free resources here, including some that aren't offered anywhere else.
Monthly updates to your credit report
When you sign up for Experian's free credit monitoring, you'll get an updated report every 30 days. You'll get notifications when your spending increases or decreases, as well as when your credit utilization ratio changes. Finally, expect real-time alerts if there are new inquiries and accounts, changes to your personal information, or suspicious activity detected.
Experian score + FICO
But, that's not all. Experian is one of just a few options on our list that also give you FICO score tracking. What's the difference? It's a little lengthy to go into detail here, but suffice it to say that FICO scores are used most often by lenders (like banks and auto dealerships) to determine if you're going to qualify for a loan. It's a good idea to keep an eye on both your credit bureau scores and your FICO score, so Experian gets points for connecting consumers with each one. And, because you're working directly with Experian, it's easy to submit and track disputes if you find any inaccuracies with your credit report here.
Give your score a free boost
One unique feature of creating an Experian account for credit monitoring is their Boost service. If you connect the bank accounts you use to pay your bills, your FICO score will get a boost for paying for things like streaming services, phone, utilities, and even rent. While you shouldn't expect a huge jump in your score, every point can count when you're improving your credit. You can see a ticker on the Boost information page that shows you what people around the country are seeing when they use this feature: an 11-point boost for someone in MA who connected a telecom and a utility account, a 7-point boost for someone in PA who did the same, you get the idea.
Not a lot of love for Experian as a whole
Now, let's point out a few things. First off, people really dislike Experian in general. Is there anyone who's a huge fan of any credit bureau? The Better Business Bureau has received over 12,000 complaints in the last three years and gives the company a not-so-fantastic "C+" rating - not just for the quantity of complaints but also for not responding to them in a timely fashion, as well as for issues with data breaches in the past.
Don't expect identity monitoring here
Second, you won't get a whole panorama of credit monitoring features here. There's no identity theft services (or corresponding insurance protection if it happens), no dark web monitoring, and so on. That shouldn't really be a surprise, given that Experian's service is 100% free.
Best credit monitoring if you're on a budget
That said, Experian could be an excellent choice for credit monitoring. If your budget is tight, you can't do better than "free" , and this particular option still gives you some pretty decent features (like the Boost) for nothing. You'll still get monthly score updates on your Experian credit report, and you'll have access to your FICO score as well. We recommend Experian for credit monitoring that goes a little beyond the basics without costing a dime.
In today's interconnected digital world, maintaining a strong credit profile is essential. That's where credit monitoring services come into play - valuable tools to safeguard your financial well-being and keep you informed about your credit health. These services provide continuous oversight of your credit report and alert you to any significant changes.
Credit monitoring lets you to detect and respond swiftly to potential threats like identity theft, fraud, or errors on your credit reports. They do this by sending you alerts via email or text whenever there are significant changes in your credit report. They offer ongoing monitoring of your credit reports from major credit bureaus, allowing you to stay vigilant without manual effort. Moreover, many credit monitoring services provide educational resources and tips for improving your credit scores and managing debt.
In the unfortunate event of identity theft, reputable credit monitoring services often offer assistance in resolving issues and restoring your credit, providing you with valuable support and guidance during a challenging time. It's important to note that credit monitoring primarily focuses on credit-related activities and may not detect all forms of identity theft or fraud, such as medical or criminal identity theft.
Additionally, you may receive alerts for legitimate actions, which could lead to unnecessary concern or alert fatigue. And, it's crucial to understand that credit monitoring services can't prevent or stop fraudulent activities; they can only provide information and alerts, underscoring the importance of your own proactive vigilance in protecting your financial well-being.
Now that you understand what credit monitoring can (and can't) do for you, how do you choose which option is right for you? There are a lot of similarities among providers of this service, and it can get frustrating trying to sort out the minute differences that could impact your decision.
Consider these factors that might illuminate those differences and make it clearer which one you should choose:
Credit monitoring services offer you valuable tools to protect your financial well-being and maintain a healthy credit profile, and Top Consumer Reviews has done the legwork to make it easy to compare today's most popular providers. We're confident that this information will empower you to take control of your financial life and stay on top of your credit profile.
Select any 2 Credit Monitoring Companies to compare them head to head
TheGrio on MSN
The credit score system is a scam, but there are ways to play the ...
The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio. I was on “TheGrio with Marc Lamont Hill” last week, and one of the topics we discussed ...
Fri, 01 Mar 2024
With credit card debt on the rise, consumers should watch their FICO ...
But that could be changing, according to new research from Chicago-based TransUnion, one of three main providers of consumer credit reporting. More than 100 million U.S. consumers joined one of the ...
Thu, 29 Feb 2024
ProfitGuard launches redesigned cloud-based credit reporting and risk ...
ProfitGuard (PG), a leading provider of business credit information to the industrial sector, in partnership software developer Combustion LLC, says it has redesigned its online platform to improve ...
Tue, 27 Feb 2024