How to Choose a Credit Monitoring Service

Three Methods:Using Plan Comparison WebsitesComparing PlansConsidering the Company's Reputation

A credit monitoring service is a company or service that keeps track of your credit report and your credit score for you. They will also alert you of any sudden changes in your credit and will check for errors on your credit report for you. By using plan comparison sites, comparing the perks each plan offers, and considering the company's reputation, you should be able to find the credit monitoring service that's right for you.

Method 1
Using Plan Comparison Websites

  1. 1
    Find a credit monitoring review site. Not all sites are equal and some are actually run by the companies selling the services. is a non-profit site aimed at consumer protection, so they might be a good choice. Next Advisor, though not a non-profit, also aims to be independent in their reviews, and they are accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ ranking. These are the places to go first, but you can also do an individual search on any particular company to see what comes up in a web search.[1][2]
  2. 2
    Look through the criteria listed. Review sites will often include what credit bureaus the credit monitoring services monitor. They will also generally include price comparisons, notes about free trials, and a link to a lengthier review that will describe the company and their experience of it in more detail.[3]
  3. 3
    Read the full reviews. To understand the company's strengths and weaknesses, it's best to read the full review. While a chart of the key differences will allow you to get a basic sense of a company's quality in comparison with other companies, the full review will allow you to get a sense of the experience of working with that company.[4]
  4. 4
    Consider any potential biases of the reviewer. If you are unfamiliar with the site, or there are significant differences between one particular company and all the rest, you should take the review with a grain of salt. You may even want to compare any of these review sites with, a nonprofit organization that reviews products and services with the interest of the consumer in mind.[5]

Method 2
Comparing Plans

  1. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 2
    Check the price. You will have to pay either a monthly or annual fee for the monitoring service. Also check exactly what you are paying for. Sometimes you can eliminate certain services that you will not use in exchange for a lower rate.[6]
  2. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 1
    Make sure that the company monitors all 3 of the major credit bureaus. Most credit monitoring services claim to give you reports from all 3 reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. However, only a few actually do. Make sure that the company you choose will give you access to the reports from all 3 bureaus since your credit report can differ a little between each agency.[7]
    • A reputable company will say clearly which of the three bureaus they get their data from, or if they get data from all three.[8][9]
  3. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 6
    Check how often the company will update your credit report and credit score. The company that you choose should update your information at least once a month. Updating once a month is sufficient enough to track changes in your credit report and score. Anything less than that and you may miss a big change or not get alerted right away.[10]
  4. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 4
    Find out what the company will monitor. Look for a credit monitoring company that will monitor your reports and will alert you right away if they suspect identity theft or any other suspicious activity. You may want a service that will also alert you to any changes in your report or score, good or bad. They should also alert you if any new accounts are opened in your name.[11]
  5. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 3
    Check to see if the company includes 24-hour customer support. You will want to choose a company that offers complete customer service. Since something can happen to your credit at any hour of the day, it is best to have a company that has 24-hour customer service support. Look for a company that offers 24-hour phone service and real time email response.[12]
  6. Image titled Choose a Credit Monitoring Service Step 5
    Try a free trial. Most services will let you sign up for a free trial period. This period can vary anywhere from 7 days to a month. Trial periods are a good way to test drive a credit monitoring service to determine if they have the features you are looking for. You will most likely have to enter your credit card information when you sign up for the free trial, so make sure you keep track of when your trial period is over.[13]
    • You may want to do a web search on the company first to see if other users had any trouble unsubscribing if they were unhappy with the trial.

Method 3
Considering the Company's Reputation

  1. 1
    Do a web search on the company. This will give you the basic reputation of the website. In order to get the best results, narrow to news items, as big stories on a particular company will appear there. You can also type "-site:website's url" (, for example) to get only search results from other websites than the company itself.[14][15]
  2. 2
    Check the company through the Better Business Bureau. This is a non-profit business-monitoring agency that allows you to look up a business to see if it has had customer complaints and if the company has addressed those complaints. Companies will often have a rating from A+ to F with A+ being the best rating the BBB can give. Checking with the BBB can help you feel more secure in trusting a credit monitoring company.[16] You can also check with the State Attorney General Office to determine if a service is reputable.[17]
  3. 3
    Ask friends about their credit monitoring experiences. This can be an easy way to find out if a friend has found a particular credit monitoring service to be helpful or if there are any credit-monitoring horror stories to look out for. In any case, it can give you an in-depth look at someone else's experience with a credit monitoring service, that neither the BBB, nor online reviews typically provide.[18]


  • Most companies will automatically start charging the monthly or annual fee to your card on file if you do not call and cancel once the trial period is over.
  • Make sure the company is reputable before you enroll in their service.

Article Info

Categories: Credit and Debt