Credit Monitoring Services & Credit Score Monitoring Review

Editor's Choice: Credit Monitoring Services Reviews'

Choosing the right credit monitoring services can be very confusing. That is because these days, many companies bundle their products. Hence, many identity theft protection services also offer credit monitoring as part of their package. Some credit monitoring also offer credit scores and some do not. Furthermore, only a couple of companies actually offer FICO® score monitoring. I think that when you are choosing a credit monitoring service, you have to ask yourself if you would also like identity theft protection as well, or would monitoring your FICO® score be more important. Plus, there is no one product that offers all three (or even 2) FICO scores. Some choosing the right service always involves some compromises.

For those looking at a combination of credit monitoring and identity theft protection service

IDENTITY GUARD® Total Protection If you are looking for a service that provides both credit monitoring and identity theft protection, then the service from Identity Guard Total Protection would probably make the most sense. Aside from offering a pretty comprehensive identity protection package, they also monitor your three credit reports. They actually also give you your "credit score" quarterly. But these aren't your FICO score but instead are proprietary scores that are meant to "be as close to" your FICO score. You get a 30 day free trial and thereafter, the monthly fee is $14.95

For those looking at credit monitoring and FICO score monitoring

Equifax ScoreWatchIf monitoring your credit score is important as well, there are a couple of routes to go. For example, could get the Equifax ScoreWatch™, which monitors your Equifax FICO Score. Your Equifax credit report is also monitored daily and you will be alerted to changes in any of your credit reports. You will get what is called a Power Score Report twice a year, which explains and compares your Equifax scores with the nations' average and shows you how you could potentially improve your score. Though you cannot get your hands on your TransUnion or Experian credit report with this service, you are entitled to a free copy once a year anyway. So this service will appeal to those who want to monitor both their credit report and score (in this case - from Equifax). The cost is $12.95 a month.

If you want to monitor your TransUnion credit score, then you should get the FICO Quarterly Monitoring, which allow you to monitor your TransUnion credit report and score. They also throw in a little identity theft insurance into the package. Like the equifax product above, you only get to see your score and report from one bureau. But like I said earlier, you could get your other credit reports for free once every year. The best feature of this package is the cost - at only $4.95 a month or $49.95 if you decide to pay the annually. Note - if you decide to get this and click on the links above, you would have to register a new account before proceeding (which can be a little irritating).

But what about Experian?

Well, since agreeing with the FTC not to market their credit monitoring service under because it actually isn't free, Experian is now marketing their service under! But the problem is that their score is actually not the FICO® score (which lenders use). Instead, it is some proprietary version even they admit (in the fine prints) is not presently sold to lender! Which makes it worthless IMO! Prior to that, Experian decided not to make FICO® scores available to the public, so you can never get your Experian FICO® score from anyone. That is why we do not recommend their credit monitoring servie.

What if I just want to buy my credit score and not pay a recurring monthly fee?
FICO® Standard Well, such an option is available. You could buy your either or both your TransUnion and/or Equifax FICO® score from FICO Standard. For a one time price of $15.95, you can get either of their credit report and your credit score for 30 days online. You also get access to a simulator that tells you how you credit score will move if you do certain things. Getting your score this way will appeal to folks who may need a loan in a year or two, but simply do not want to pay a recurring bill for credit monitoring services. They can then get their credit reports free once a year. Note - if you decide to get this and click on the links above, you would have to register a new account before proceeding (which can be a little irritating).

Final Note - There are many other services that do offer credit monitoring services for all three credit bureaus. Some even offer 'credit score monitoring". The reason why we never recommend these products is because the credit score is not the real FICO® score! Secondly, many of these are new startups and make their money by upselling other services to you! They also do not offer a comprehensive ID theft protection service with and very often, they cost just as much as the ID theft folks who offer credit monitoring! So these services mentioned here should fit the bill for most. All Rights Reserved

*See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer. *See the online application for details.