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Comparison of Credit Monitoring Services

Below is a list of all of the credit monitoring services offered by the three US credit agencies plus a couple affordable, full-featured services. If you decide credit monitoring is right for your situation, this guide will help you find the service that best fits your needs.

The information in these charts was difficult to compile. Many important details about these services are buried in fine print or took phone calls to determine.

The first column in the chart is the most important. It shows how many of the three credit bureaus the service monitors. It just makes sense to monitor all of the bureaus that are monitoring you!

Experian's TripleAdvantage is both the most famous and the most infamous credit monitoring service. The free credit reports hawked by the charming musical trio at FreeCreditReport.Com automatically enroll its users in TripleAdvantage; surprising many who skip the fine print.

If you're not up to speed, learn all about credit monitoring services and alternatives available to you.

Identity Guard

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Service NameBureaus MonitoredCredit Report AccessCredit Score Type / AgencyFraud AlertsInsur. / Deduct.Trial PeriodMonthly Price

1  Offers all 3 credit scores. Only 2 credit monitoring services provide all 3 credit scores: Identity Guard ($19.99/month) and CreditCheck Total ($29.95/month).

Identity Guard1 *3
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
CreditXpert /
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
No$1M/0**30 Days$19.99

 

 

Experian

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Service NameBureaus MonitoredCredit Report AccessCredit Score Type / AgencyFraud Alerts6Insur. / Deduct.Trial PeriodMonthly Price

1  Family Secure monitors two adults and all children in one family. Children's credit reports not available online.

2  Business Credit Advantage is business credit report monitoring. Monitor the credit file of your own business or any other business.

3  Offers all 3 credit scores. Only 2 credit monitoring services provide all 3 credit scores: Identity Guard ($19.99/month) and CreditCheck Total ($29.95/month).

4  Plus a $1 upfront fee allowing Experian to legally use the words "free credit report" on the sign up page.

5  Monthly plan not available. $129 per year.

6  Credit alerts were LifeLock's main feature until Experian sued LifeLock and forced them to stop. Now Equifax offers credit alerts on some of their credit monitoring services. Is there a showdown brewing?

TripleAlert3No Credit ReportsNo Credit ScoresNo$10K/0None$8.95
TripleAdvantage3ExperianPLUS / ExperianNo$50K/07 Days$14.99
CreditCheck Total33
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
PLUS /
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
No$25K/07 Days$29.954
Family Secure11ExperianPLUS / ExperianNo$2M/0None$19.95
Business Credit Advantage21ExperianNo Credit ScoresNoN/ANone$10.755

 

 

TransUnion

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Service NameBureaus MonitoredCredit Report AccessCredit Score Type / AgencyFraud AlertsInsur. / Deduct.Trial PeriodMonthly Price
TransUnion Credit Monitoring1 *3 TransUnion VantageScore / TransUnion No $25K/0 7 $17.95

1  Plus a $1 upfront fee allowing TransUnion to legally use the words "free credit report" on the sign up page.

 

 

Equifax

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Service NameBureaus MonitoredCredit Report AccessCredit Score Type / AgencyFraud Alerts5Insur. / Deduct.Trial PeriodMonthly Price

1  Includes privacy monitoring from reputation.com, alerting you to online mentions of you. It also allows you to remove slanderous or misleading information about yourself online.

2  Also includes: Free freezing and unfreezing of your Equifax credit report. Equifax WebDetect monitors "underground" Internet sites for your SSN and up to 10 credit cards.

3  ScoreWatch offers two free FICO scores and two free Equifax credit reports per year. Otherwise, it notifies you of changes in your FICO score and credit report.

4  Not unlimited access. 1 Equifax credit report and 1 Equifax Credit Score upon sign up and once a year thereafter.

5  Credit alerts were LifeLock's main feature until Experian sued LifeLock and forced them to stop. Now Equifax offers credit alerts on some of their credit monitoring services. Is there a showdown brewing?

6  Free credit reports and scores from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian upon sign up. Unlimited access to Equifax report and score thereafter. Free credit report from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian once per year.

7  Not unlimited access. 4 Equifax credit reports and 4 Equifax Credit Scores per year.

8  Equifax Family Complete Package includes credit monitoring for 2 adults and 4 minor children. It includes $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance for each adult.

Equifax Complete Family Package1 2 83Equifax6Equifax / Equifax6Yes$1M/08None$29.95
Equifax Complete Premier1 2 *3Equifax6Equifax / Equifax6Yes$1M/0None$19.95
Equifax Complete Advantage1 *3Equifax6Equifax / Equifax6No$25K/0None$17.95
Debt Wise*1
Equifax
4 per Year
7
Equifax / Equifax
4 per Year
7
No$25K/0None$14.95
Score Watch*1
Equifax
2 per Year
3
FICO / Equifax
2 per Year
3
NoN/ANone$14.95

 

Figures Last Verified: March 6, 2013

 

Legend

Learn more about credit monitoring features in our article, "What is Credit Monitoring?"

Bureaus MonitoredNumber of credit bureaus this service monitors. A "1" indicates that only that agency's credit report is monitored. "3" indicates that all three U.S. credit bureaus are monitored.
Credit Report AccessSome credit monitoring services offer unlimited access to your credit report. Lists the credit agency or agencies from which your credit reports are available.
Credit Score Type / AgencyWhen credit scores are available with the service, lists the scoring model and credit bureau report from which the score is calculated. FICO is the most popular credit score used by lenders. PLUS, TransRisk Equifax Credit Score and CreditXpert are FICO-like scores with similar score ranges but are not used by lenders. The VantageScore range is higher- 500 – 990 vs. 300 to 850 for FICO and is used by some lenders. It is impossible to purchase your Experian FICO score as a consumer even though lenders can purchase it.
Fraud AlertsPlaces a credit alert on your credit report every 90 days asking a lender to call you before extending credit. Credit alerts were LifeLock's main feature before Experian sued and forced LifeLock to end the practice. Now Equifax is offering credit alerts in spite of Experian's objections.
Insur. / Deduct.Identity theft insurance coverage. If this policy is offered, the total amount covered and the deductible are shown. The insurance only covers incidental losses (lost wages, long distance phone calls, attorney's fees, etc). It does not cover stolen funds. Identity theft insurance is not available in New York state because it doesn't meet the traditional definition of an insurance policy.
Trial PeriodThe number of days you can try the credit monitoring service for free. The first charge appears on your credit card after the trial period ends. If you cancel the service before free trial ends, you will not be charged.
Monthly PriceThe amount your credit card is charged every month for the credit monitoring service.

 

Disclaimers and a Disclosure

* Knowzy earns a commission on services marked with a *. Our policy is to show all competing services, even if we don't earn a commission from them.

Learn more about how Knowzy puts your best interests before our selfish desire to turn a profit.

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** Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language.

© 2011 Intersections Inc. All Rights Reserved. Intersections, IDENTITY GUARD, TOTAL PROTECTION and any associated logos are registered or federally registered trademarks of Intersections Inc.

 

Originally Published:  Monday, August 14, 2006, 5:00 PM PT

Last Updated:  Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 1:18 PM PT

Version 21

 


 

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Credit Monitoring: Prudent or Pointless?

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