Defining a credit monitoring service is pretty straightforward‚ as these programs literally keep a watchful eye over your credit report for you; but pinning down the myriad benefits of a credit monitoring service is a little more complicated. Some can only alert you to potential fraud taking place in your name‚ while others offer assistance in helping you resolve problems resulting from identity theft should it happen.
Are all credit monitoring services created equal?
The answer to this question is "hardly"‚ but it also depends on how much you ask of your credit monitoring service and what benefits you are looking to reap. Credit monitoring companies function by monitoring one or more of your three reports that are created by the three major bureaus to document your financial activity — TransUnion‚ Experian and Equifax.
While you can request a copy of each of these credit reports yourself for free annually‚ a credit monitoring service will continually be aware of certain changes that show up on your report. These three bureaus calculate your credit score and draft up your report differently‚ they all paint a somewhat similar picture of your financial standing. Even still‚ it is best to go with a service that keeps track of all three just in case one report shows signs of identity theft that another may have missed
What are the sure-fire signs of a good credit monitoring service?
When picking a credit monitoring service‚ do your homework before signing up for anything. You'll want to go with a company that has established their reputation through years of service and is a name you can trust. To determine this‚ check in with the Better Business Bureau or customer review websites to see the company's standing. And if a service seems to be offering more than they can actually deliver‚ this is probably the case. Shop around and make sure you choose a program that will work hard for you.