Your credit score can determine how much access you have to other credit products. Maintaining an error and fraud-free credit report is more crucial now than ever, as many businesses now rely on your credit score to accept your applications for whatever you desire.
Apart from helping you to keep an eye on your credit report and score, credit monitoring services will also notify you on time, about any changes observed in your credit score as well as help to detect instances of one of the top common crimes in the United States – identity theft.
Protecting oneself from identity theft is one crucial way of ensuring that the thieves don’t use your identity to incur huge bills and then leave you to deal with the damage caused.
What Is A Credit Score?
A credit score is a three-digit number that carries information on your potential credit risk as well as your likeliness to repay a loan or credit balance. It usually ranges from 300 to 850 and it is a product of your credit report analysis.
The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting credited or granted access to credit products. There are ratings to it and the rating you have is determined by your credit score. Typical ratings usually include good/excellent, fair/average, and bad/poor.
The range of a credit score varies based on the type of model used and the credit bureau that gives the score. Common models include FICO and VantageScore while credit bureaus include Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
What Is Considered A Good Credit Score?
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What constitutes a good credit score is usually set by each lender. The popularly used credit score model is that which ranges from 300 to 850 and scores are usually categorized as seen below:
- 720 and higher: excellent credit
- 690-719:good credit
- 630-689:fair credit
- 629 or lower: bad credit
AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to check your credit reports from each of the major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, free of charge but only once in 12 months. The reports will not give you your credit score and as such, you will need to use a third-party service. There are a couple of websites that will give you your credit score for free without asking for a credit card.
10 Best websites to check credit score
Here are 10 credit monitoring companies:
1. Credit Karma
Credit Karma harnesses information obtained from TransUnion and Equifax to create an estimate of your FICO score which according to reports from various users, is usually very close to the actual FICO score. The app does not require you to enter your credit card number and the service is completely free without any free trial or trial subscription.
Credit Karma updates your credit score each time you sign in to your account and your credit report weekly. It reports factors like credit card utilization and payment history which affect your credit score. Along with credit score monitoring, you will also be notified of any unusual activity suspected on either of your two credit reports.
Another useful feature of the app is the ability to link all your credit card accounts to the app and then track your expenditure in one place. Credit Karma’s drawback is that you will need to use a third-party service to monitor your third credit report from Experian.
Credit Sesame does not require a credit card to join. It grants users access to their VantageScore from TransUnion for free and also offers personalized tips that are based on analysis of their credit profile.
Apart from the provision of credit score, Credit Sesame will also provide you with options to cut down payments in cases where you are overpaying in fees and interest. It will notify you if your identity or profile is compromised and also include an identity theft insurance of $50,000 which covers costs like documents and legal fees.
Though free, Credit Sesame also gives you an option to upgrade for a premium service that costs $9.95/month for advanced credit monitoring. Their Platinum Protection plan will cost you $14.95 per month.
Mint is one of the best financial apps on the market. The app will help you to monitor your credit score through a very simple process and without asking for your credit card. To get your fully analyzed and properly explained credit report and score, all you need to do is sign up and verify your identity.
Mint offers suggestions on how you can improve your credit score, will help you understand the factors that are influencing your credit score, as well as recommend the credit card that you can get approved for, considering your current credit score, and also how they can positively or negatively affect your credit score.
Unlike others on the list, myFICO is not free to use. Their services require you to pay a fee depending on how often you want to get your financial report. To get a single-bureau credit report, you will be charged about $19.95 per month. Quarterly credit reports cost $29.95 per month while monthly credit reports cost $39.95 per month.
myFICO is the official monitoring app for FICO credit monitoring and just as expected, it features the FICO score that is used by a greater percentage of U.S. financial institutions to decide on applications for things that are based on consumer credit.
CreditWise is by Capital One and unlike other apps that diversify into other aspects of financial well-being, it focuses only on credit score monitoring and credit report. The app is free to use and by anyone, Capital One member or not.
The app has a credit score simulator that allows you to see the impact your financial decisions may have on your credit score, before making them.
PrivacyGuard provides a paid credit monitoring and security service. It can monitor your credit reports as well as your credit scores for the three credit bureaus. Their daily credit monitoring will notify you whenever there is a change in your credit report information, by text, email, or phone.
PrivacyGuard allows you to try its services for 14 days for just $1, after which the amount charged will be based on the chosen plan and on a monthly basis. Their basic ID Protection monitors your profile for any pointers of identity theft and it cost $9.99 per month.
For $19.99 per month, you will get credit protection which includes credit reports from all three bureaus, daily credit monitoring as well as a credit score simulator. Their Total Protection plan includes a combination of all features of the Credit Protection and that of the ID Protection Plans, it cost $24.99 per month.
IdentityForce offers two high-value products. They have a plan that protects your identity and also monitors your credit, and also a plan that solely monitors your identity only. The two plans are UltraSecure plan – solely identity monitoring services; UltraSecure+Credit plan – monitors both your credit and identity.
The UltraSecure plan costs $9.99 per month or $88.99 per year, while the UltraSecure+Credit Plan is priced at $17.99 per month.
TransUnion Credit Monitoring will monitor credits for your TransUnion credit score and credit report and give you monthly reports. It will also alert you to any changes to any account listed on your credit report. The service is however not free. TransUnion credit monitoring is priced at $24.95 per month.
Identity Guard will monitor your credit files from all three of the major credit bureaus. They have three plans designed for both individuals and families: Value plan, Total plan, and Premier Plan. The price for each plan ranges from $13.33 to $19.99 for an individual whereas, for family protection, the price ranges from $19.99 to $26.67.
WalletHub provides daily credit reports to its users. An individual’s credit report changes whenever creditors update the credit bureaus and as such, there may be a frequent change in the information present in the credit report. Checking the reports monthly, quarterly or monthly, can make you miss out on things in your report.
WalletHub will give you up-to-date information from your TransUnion credit report, personalized credit advice solely based on the analysis of your credit information, free credit score based on VantageScore 3.0, etc.