The other day we covered the new rules governing how companies can advertise “free” credit reports.
The bottom line?
There’s only one place to get a truly free credit report: annualcreditreport.com. If you want your credit score, however, you must pay for your actual scores. As it so happens, TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, just launched a new such credit score monitoring service called zendough.
What’s it all about?
TransUnion bills zendough as “the complete path to master your finances”. For a service that’s all about your credit, that’s going a bit far, in my opinion (there is far more to mastering your money than a good credit score). Nevertheless, zendough offers slightly more than some other services by combining all three of your credit scores with credit monitoring and ID theft protection services (for what they’re worth). In a nutshell, zendough provides:
- Credit scores from each of the three credit bureaus
- Your credit score grade and how you stack up against others
- A debt and credit card usage analysis
- Automatic credit alerts
- An ID risk score, ID alerts, and an ID theft case manager
zedough is free for seven days and then charges $14.95 a month. If you cancel during the free trial, you get to keep your three credit scores free. (These terms are about average. Experian’s service is $14.95 a month; myFico.com’s Score Watch is less but provides credit alerts and nothing else.)
Is zendough for you? Not everybody needs credit monitoring. If you’re living more-or-less debt-free (as I would recommend), you might be fine checking your free credit report once a year to make sure everything checks out. That said, I do think there is value to credit monitoring if you’re within six months to a year of buying a home. Perfecting your credit score can lead to a lower mortgage rate, which can save you bundles in the long run. If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, such a service might also put your mind at ease.
If that sounds like you, you might give zendough a try (or get your credit scores and cancel the monitoring within seven days, but don’t tell them I told you to do that).