Credit monitoring is a crucial part of building and maintaining your credit. Through monitoring, you can view your credit score, watch for signs of fraud, and receive suggestions on how to increase your odds of getting financing with higher limits at lower rates.
In a study conducted by Consumer Reports, 10.31% of those surveyed said that they found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to access their credit reports. If you’re one of these people, this list might have the solution you’re after.
Gone are the days that consumers need to request their reports directly from credit bureaus. Fortunately, monitoring can now be done through a plethora of third-party services that provide daily alerts, funding opportunities, tips for boosting credit scores, and more.
Today, we’ll explore the costs, features, and highlights of the best credit monitoring services of 2022. Here’s everything that’s covered:
- What to Look for in a Credit Monitoring Service
- The Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2022
Now, let’s get to it!
This is What to Look for in a Credit Monitoring Service
What you should look for in a credit monitoring service, at its core, depends on your personal needs and wants.
First, why are you interested in credit monitoring? Are you trying to maintain or boost your credit score so that you can apply for a loan? Do you want to make sure someone isn’t using your identity or inaccuracies haven’t been reported by your trade line issuers? Or, do you want recommendations for lenders that are likely to finance you?
Next, what’s your budget? There are several monitoring services that you can access for free. Keep in mind that the providers have to make money somehow and will likely try to sell you something. In most cases, that “something” is a push to apply for a loan or line of credit that you may not necessarily need. Some of the best credit monitoring services, on the other hand, are a bit spendy.
Online Credit Monitoring Service Features
You can expect some or all of the following features from a credit monitoring service:
- Free credit score (VantageScore or FICO Score)
- Transunion credit report
- Equifax credit report
- Experian credit report
- Identity theft monitoring
- Recommended financing offers
So, what is the best credit monitoring service? The answer, frankly, depends on what you need and how much it’s worth to you. Here, read a breakdown of the top credit monitoring services with costs and features.
The Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2022
If you’re ready to find out what to expect with credit monitoring and decide which service is best for you, take a look. The table below shows the highlights from the best credit monitoring services. Below, you’ll find a complete, truthfully unbiased summary of each offer.
Credit.com offers a full-featured credit monitoring service, ExtraCredit. Build, guard, track, and restore (available in select locations) your credit, plus uncover your chances to earn up to $2.5K in rewards.
ExtraCredit has a few standout features. First, you can access 28 different FICO scores — home lenders may not see the same score as credit card lenders. But, with this service, you’ll know what each type of lender will see.
Next, you can use this service to legitimately build credit with the bills you’re already paying every month. Get credit for paying your for your monthly phone, gas, and water bills, and even your rent on-time.
Cost: $24.99 per month
2. Credit Karma
Certainly the most popular consumer credit monitoring service is Credit Karma. The platform is absolutely free and user-friendly. But, is Credit Karma worth using?
With Credit Karma, you can access daily, real-time information from your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports as well as estimates of your two credit scores. For free?… sure! You will be prompted to apply for quite a lot of credit cards and loans from their partners. So, proceed with caution, and don’t apply for every offer.
|Note: Your Experian score isn’t accessible through Credit Karma, which is why some people use Experian’s free monitoring and Credit Karma to see the whole picture.|
In addition to credit monitoring and financing recommendations, Credit Karma offers financial tools. For example, a user favorite is the Credit Score Simulator, which shows what might happen to your credit score should you take certain actions like get a new loan or increase the limit on an existing credit line.
3. Identity IQ
Another widely-accepted choice for consumer credit monitoring is Identity IQ. This service costs from $9.99 to $29.99 per month, depending on the subscription level. You can use Identity IQ’s services to access up to 12 credit reports per year from all three credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) with select plans.
According to Identity IQ’s terms & conditions, VantageScore or FICO may be delivered, based on the proprietary model used by the third-party data provider.
With this service, you can obtain identity theft insurance, dark web monitoring, family protection, real-time monitoring for suspicious activity, and identity restoration in the case of fraud or inaccurate reporting. As part of an Identity IQ plan, you can also access Bitdefender VPN for secure browsing on multiple devices.
Cost: $9.99 to $23.99 per month
MyFICO provides another trusted credit monitoring service that you might want to leverage. Here, you have a couple of options.
First, MyFICO Free Score Estimator allows you to answer questions about your circumstances to make an educated guess as to what your FICO score is likely to be.
Next, MyFICO subscription plans range from $19.95 to $39.95 per month. Here’s where you can access helpful features like three-bureau monitoring that updates monthly or quarterly, FICO scores, and identity monitoring and restoration. You can also access one-time reports for $19.95 (one-bureau) to $59.95 (three-bureau).
|Note: If you’re simply interested in a single credit report from each bureau for the year, I recommend you grab it for free from annualcreditreport.com.|
Finally, anyone interested in learning how to obtain new financing and leverage their existing lines of credit to improve their credit, MyFICO Forums can be invaluable. Members frequently ask and answer questions and share credit building anecdotes to help one another.
Cost: $19.95 to $39.95 per month
Officially, LifeLock is an identity theft protection service. You can leverage the platform to easily lock your credit file, safeguard your home title, and “take back your online privacy.” Yet, for $9.99 to $23.99 per month, you can also access one-bureau or three-bureau credit monitoring.
One-bureau credit monitoring features in LifeLock plans are isolated to Equifax monitoring. And, you will need to successfully identify yourself through the bureau using your social security number to access credit features.
Cost: $9.99 to $23.99 per month
CreditWise is a credit monitoring service from Capital One, though you don’t have to have a credit line open with the bank to access it — it’s free to everyone. Get instant access to your Transunion credit report and score when you sign up and verify your identity.
Use CreditWise’s Score Simulator to make informed choices and boost your credit score, see historical score changes, and receive alerts to monitor your credit. As time goes on, CreditWise will also send you personalized product suggestions (credit cards, loans, etc.) and insights with topics that focus on your credit journey.
You can access one of the most popular free credit monitoring services directly through Experian (one of the top three consumer credit bureaus).
IdentityWorks is a paid identity theft protection program from Experian. You can try it free for one month, then pay monthly thereafter. Essentially, it is an ID theft insurance offer for $500K to $1M that costs $9.99 per month and $19.99 per month respectively. It also offers features like dark web monitoring, lost wallet assistance, and access to a US-based fraud resolution specialist.
Experian Boost is a popular promotional offer, which claims to increase users’ credit scores immediately upon joining. Note that this only applies to the Experian FICO Score, and does not affect Transunion or Equifax credit scores.
For a one-time payment of $39.99, Experian can provide you with a 3-bureau credit report with FICO scores.
Cost: Free to $19.99 per month
Branded as an identity theft protection service, IdentityForce is a pretty powerful credit monitoring service for individuals and businesses. For personal credit monitoring, sign up for the UltraSecure+Credit Monitoring plan.
In addition to the base UltraSecure identity theft features, you will get three-bureau credit monitoring, reports, scores, and access to the score tracker and simulator. The credit score tracker is a month-to-month graph that shows visual changes to your credit scores. And, the simulator can help you explore how various financial decisions can impact your score, hypothetically.
Cost: $23.99 per month
9. Identity Guard
Another identity theft protection service, Identity Guard also offers credit monitoring and bank account protection with insurance up to $1M. This offer also includes a family plan for a few extra bucks per month.
While the service monitors your reports from all three bureaus, they provide your VantageScore from just one bureau, Transunion.
Identity Guard has an excellent TrustPilot rating. The most common complaint is that users are sometimes charged when they thought they had cancelled their subscription. So be sure to read the fine print and cancel immediately if you don’t want to continue with your plan.
Cost: $8.99 to $29.99 per month
10. Credit Squad
Credit Squad offers yet another credit monitoring service with ID theft protection for individuals and families. The competitive edge that they tout is that they compile a seven-year history on users for a bigger picture view of credit — this is why they made the list.
While the price is comparable to other similar offers, I have to caution against this service… for now. The thing is, I couldn’t find any glaring negative reviews or anything to send up a major red flag. Still, the company is not as transparent as they could be.
Nothing on Credit Squad’s website states which score (FICO or VantageScore) is reported to users. And, when you call the phone number listed on the website, you’re taken to a recording that quickly spouts a customer service email address.
I reached out and did not find the answers to my questions.
Cost: $14.99 to $29.99 per month
With Privacy Guard, you have three fundamental options:
- Identity theft monitoring
- Credit monitoring
- Identity theft and credit monitoring (Total protection)
This service continually monitors your credit with all three bureaus and keeps track of your scores. With ID theft monitoring, like most services, they also monitor the dark web and provide you with updates about breaches.
You’ll get email and text alerts, access to your own, dedicated fraud prevention specialist, and a suite of financial calculators to help you keep your score on-track.
Cost: $19.99 to $24.99 per month
12. Credit Sesame
Similar to Credit Karma, Credit Sesame is a free monitoring service, designed to help users take control over their finances while offering financial service recommendations from their partners.
You can see your credit score in real-time (refreshed daily). They offer a “credit report card,” which is essentially a credit report summary, and help you find more offers in alignment with your credit history.
The standout feature is their suite of financial tools. My Debt and My Assets help you take control over debt repayment and asset monitoring to give you a bird’s-eye view of your finances.
13. Complete ID
Complete ID is an exclusive credit monitoring service available to select Costco members. Executive members can sign up for $8.99 and up, while Business & Gold Star members can join for $13.99 per month. Additional family members and entire families can be added to a Complete ID account for a few extra bucks per month (see pricing).
Complete ID also comes with $1M in identity theft insurance. The platform is powered by Experian.
While most of the features are standard with this type of service, the stand-out offer is the savings, which is in alignment with most other Costco member benefits. So, if you’re already a Costco member or you want to become one, this is definitely a good option.
Cost: $8.99 to $13.99 per month
14. ID Watchdog
Our final contender here is ID Watchdog, an ID theft and credit monitoring service from Equifax. This service is commonly offered as an employee perk. So, check with your employer before you sign up, because they may already have this covered for you.
There are two tiers: Select and Premium. The Select plan offers one-bureau (Equifax) monitoring and a monthly score update. And, the Premium plan offers daily score updates (Equifax-only) with three-bureau monitoring.
Both offers can be upgraded to include families and come with $1M identity theft insurance. The Premium offer includes an additional $1M 401K and stolen funds reimbursement.
Cost: $14.95 to $21.95 per month
Anyone interested in accessing loans or lines of credit — for any purpose — will benefit from keeping an eye on their credit. You can do this the old fashioned way by requesting an annual report from each bureau, or you can sign up for monitoring through one of the services above.
Now, we don’t think you should stop there. In fact, we teach how you can transform your life with business credit (for real).
Are you ready to learn how to obtain $100K in business credit in 30 days? We break it down for our members in a way that’s super easy to understand — join Business Credit Workshop today to learn a simple, 7-step process.