A credit monitoring service keeps 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 make sure your identity stays out of the wrong hands, but they can also be extremely helpful as you try to improve your credit score in anticipation of getting a car loan, a mortgage or a business loan. I recommend Experian Credit Monitoring through freecreditscore.com.
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.