Free Credit Scores with Monitoring
Free credit scores are often offered as an inducement to consumers to sign up for a free trial to a credit report monitoring service. Normally if you do not wish to continue the credit monitoring service, you must cancel the service during the trial period, or your credit card may be charged for the service. Even if you cancel the service before your credit card is ever charged, you are normally free to keep a copy of your credit report and maybe also your credit score – hence the Free Credit Report aspect of the offer. Obviously the goal of the offer is to get consumers to continue the monitoring service beyond the trial period.
Do you need credit monitoring? Getting a credit monitoring service certainly makes sense for lots of consumers who are sensitive not only to identity theft issues but also those who are credit active and just want to keep track of changes in their credit report.
In the former category of those who are concerned about identity theft, credit monitoring is a tool that keeps you aware of changes in your credit report that may have been made by someone else. These changes or alerts as they may be called, may sometimes be emailed to you, or some services even send text message alerts to your cell phone. Whichever method you have, it is preferable that the credit monitoring service sends you alerts of material changes in your file at least daily. When you review the alerts, you may look for changes in your mailing address of record that you did not authorize, or review inquiries into your credit report that you did not initiate, or check for new credit cards and loan arrangements that you did not agree to.
For those in the category that just like to keep track of their credit, credit monitoring is also valuable. My friend for example is rebuilding his credit and likes to make sure that changes to his credit record are positive, and that he can address any new inaccurate negative information reported right away before a prospective lender may see it.
When choosing the monitoring service that is right for you, decide if you want to monitor all 3 credit reporting agencies or just one. In the United States there are 3 credit credit report agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. If there is not much difference in cost it makes sense to monitor all 3 instead of just one of the credit agencies because the information is not always the same at each credit bureau.