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How a Credit Monitoring Service Can Help You

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Credit monitoring services can help you remain current with the changes occurring on your consumer credit report, which is generated by the three major credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Many credit monitoring services alert you when your credit score increases, decreases or reaches a personal goal level, which you can manage and change as your personal goals change.

Receiving alerts about key changes – these could include new lines of credit, new bank accounts and interstate moves – occurring on your credit report in real time can help you make smarter financial decisions and act swiftly in the event of fraud or identity theft.

Getting Started

In choosing a credit monitoring service, you want to be certain you completely understand the terms of the service and how it works. Because credit monitoring services are designed to help you detect identity theft and credit errors faster, you want to be sure you can gain access to your credit reports as new information is delivered, which oftentimes means having access to a secure online connection. This way, you can remain as informed as possible about how your credit is changing from day to day. A good credit monitoring service will offer 24-hour emergency assistance and comprehensive information about your credit report coming from the major credit bureaus.

Because not all credit monitoring services work the same or offer exactly the same things, it is important for you to inquire about a particular credit monitoring service before signing up with it, particularly how it works and what you should expect.

You should inquire whether the firm’s services will include monitoring of your credit report through all three major consumer credit bureaus, or if the monitoring will be done through just one. Also, be certain to inquire about fees, which should always be disclosed in writing. Many credit monitoring services are paid on a monthly basis; however, some are paid on an annual basis for greater savings, so request a price summary before signing on the dotted line.

Helpful Services 

Credit monitoring services can assist you in enacting a fraud alert, which is a security feature that allows you to prevent new lines of credit from being opened in your name. The fraud alert is comprehensive – it extends to all three major consumer credit reporting companies – and can last up to 90 days.

Another helpful service is the credit freeze, which allows a consumer to stop new and existing creditors from viewing their consumer credit report until the freeze is removed. This feature is particularly helpful when a consumer suspects identity theft or is attempting to resolve a credit issue that could adversely affect their borrowing ability.

Picking the Right Service

Credit monitoring is not free, but it is well worth the cost. Prices vary considerably, with some credit monitoring companies offering a variety of service plans, but they typically are affordable for the average person. Be certain to ask around for referrals or recommendations or to browse the website for credit monitoring services. Signing up for even six months of credit monitoring service can be extremely beneficial, as this is sufficient time to determine how your spending is affecting your consumer credit score.