Credit monitoring services keep track of changes to your credit report and score and alert you via emails of any changes (such as a new account, a balance increase, a late payment or a change of address). A credit monitoring service can be useful to ensure your identity stays out of the wrong hands or as you try to improve your credit score in anticipation of getting an auto loan or mortgage.
Prices for credit monitoring services range from free to $30 a month, but not all are equal. Some focus on identify theft protection: These offer features to help in the event somebody steals your credit information, but they may not provide regular, detailed access to your credit information. Others let you access all 3 credit scores and reports upfront as well as monitor your scores going forward.
How Often Should You Check Your Credit?
Although you should check your credit at least once a year, I recommend you do it more frequently. Checking your credit twice a year or quarterly is smart to make sure your credit is consistently free of errors and knowing where you stand with lenders. If you are currently working to erase errors, improve your credit score, or plan to get a mortgage in the next year, you may want to watch your credit report monthly.
Your Free Annual Credit Report
If it’s just your credit report you need (not your credit score, credit monitoring or identity theft protection), federal law gives you the right to a free copy of your credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.