Credit monitoring services basically do what the title says – monitor your credit for you. They monitor the credit information reported on your credit record and notify you of significant changes via phone, email or both. It is usually a good idea to find a provider that offers several different kinds of monitoring. This will allow you to have the best protection at all times, covering all of your bases.
Monitoring credit reports can be a tricky business, so here are a few pointers to help make it easier for you. You want to choose a credit monitoring service that has an up-to-date and easy-to-use interface. The fewer things you need to do to set up the program, the more likely you will use it. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when choosing which service is right for you:
Many credit monitoring services offer an identity theft protection for free with your initial signup. Others may charge a small monthly fee to monitor your personal information for you. Before signing up for a service, read all of the fine print. If they are offering something for free, be sure to research whether or not it will be useful for your needs. Some services may charge for their services, but those are generally for more serious issues, such as fraud alerts and credit score monitoring. It is wise to only use a service that gives you options and doesn’t demand fees.
Some credit monitoring services offer a free credit report once per year. This is nice, but it is only a snapshot of what is on your report. To really ensure you are getting everything on your report, it would be beneficial to receive a full report on an annual basis. This way, you can check to make sure your personal information isn’t being reported improperly. Also, by doing this yearly, you will be able to spot any mistakes made and correct them before your credit scores to drop lower.
Many credit monitoring services send notifications via email or text message if certain pieces of your reports are changed. This can be very helpful in the event that your accounts have been abused by someone on the wrong end. For example, if someone has changed your address and you’re suddenly receiving harassing calls, you can alert the credit bureaus about this. They will perform an investigation and if they find out it wasn’t you make the change, they will inform you and have the account deleted.
Many services offer the ability to email or text report changes to your credit reports. This allows you to get instant notifications of anything that is reported in your credit history. However, some services offer a limited number of emails or texts per month. So if you don’t want to receive any additional messages, you may want to consider other services.
Some credit monitoring services offer alerts if you go above your credit limit. You will most likely receive an email or text message alerting you to the action. Obviously, this isn’t the best way to use your credit limit because if you go over your limit, you will be charged the maximum amount possible and possibly face legal action. The best way to use your credit limit is to use it responsibly and pay what you can afford.
Finally, the best credit monitoring services notify consumers of activity that could affect their scores. For example, if someone obtains your personal information and uses it for identity theft, that information will show up on your credit reports. Therefore, you need to know that your personal information isn’t being used improperly and that it is being reported properly. The services that provide this type of service are invaluable to consumers looking to protect their credit scores.