Best Credit Monitoring Service Reviews 2020

We have compiled a list of top service providers in the credit monitoring field, so you don’t have to spend hours sifting through the clutter.

Consulted 8 experts

More than 130 hours evaluation

250 people interviewed

17 services assessed

Your personal credit history plays a factor in everything, from buying a car to renting an apartment. Even if you’re responsible and careful with your money, your financial future could be jeopardized if you don’t carefully monitor your credit for signs of fraud.

The best credit monitoring service is IdentityForce, thanks to its robust insurance and 24/7 support. It has a good basic plan with a reasonable monthly price and still has many features that give you peace of mind. Its free Childwatch add-on protects your children’s future by keeping their identities from being stolen.

Higher-level plans offer more insurance and three-bureau monitoring.

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3-Bureau Credit Monitoring/Reports/Scores

Social Media / Dark Web Monitoring

Identity Theft Protection

$1 Million Identity Theft Insurance

Bank and Credit Card Activity Alerts


Top Choices in the Market

 

Best Overall

Best FeaturesBest in ValueBest for FamilyBest Single BureauBest Free
IdentityForceLifeLockIdentity GuardExperian IdentityWorksTransUnionCredit Karma
Starting Price$17.95$11.99$7.50$9.99$24.95Free
Credit Monitoring Bureaus333311
1-Million InsuranceYesYesYesYesYesNo
24/7 Customer SupportYesYesYesYesYesNo
Social Insight ReportYesYesYesYesNoNo

Best Credit Monitoring Reviews 2020 (UPDATED)

Strong Protection and Insurance

IdentityForce employs a team of identity protection experts who are available 24/7 for all customers. Both the UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit tiers include up to $1 million in reimbursement for stolen funds, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of fraud.

Get the UltraSecure+Credit tier for three-bureau monitoring and other extended monitoring features. They even offer a 30-day free trial to see all the features for yourself.

Social Media Monitoring

In addition to dark web monitoring and anti-malware and anti-phishing software, IdentityForce allows you to monitor your social media accounts for signs of hacking or abuse. The monitoring looks for spam, hate speech, or other signs that your account may have been hijacked.

It’s an excellent investment for social media mavens or even users who don’t use social media often enough to notice a compromised account.

Childwatch Security

Each parent account can add a child’s personal information to monitor for signs of identity theft, including applications for government benefits, for just $2.29 per month.

Even young children could have their names or SSNs stolen, so Childwatch provides additional security for your child’s future by making sure they can start adulthood with a clean slate. This puts IdentityForce a level above competitors like Privacy Guard.

PROS

  • 30-day free trial so you can be sure you’re happy with your choice
  • 24/7 expert customer service available to both tiers, so you can address problems as soon as they arise
  • Social media monitoring can inform you if an account has been hijacked, plus other computer features like anti-phishing protection
  • Child identity theft protection provides peace of mind
  • Investment account and payday loan monitoring at both tiers
  • One of the best deals among the paid credit monitoring programs, with two months free if you pay annually

CONS

  • Only two tier options, providing less flexibility for getting the features you need

2. LifeLock Best in Security Features

Full Suite of Protection

Credit monitoring from LifeLock includes USPS address change verification, stolen wallet protection, dark web monitoring, and data breach notifications. Personal expense and stolen funds compensation starts at $25,000 and increases at higher tiers.

Higher tiers of LifeLock include protection of retirement and investment accounts, monitoring for three credit bureaus, and ID verification monitoring. Having four tiers available allows a greater selection of features, setting it apart from similar competitors like myFICO and letting families get what they need without overpaying.

Expert Help Available

LifeLock’s customer service team is both friendly and incredibly knowledgeable, with 24/7 phone support available for all customers.

Even the most basic tier includes up to $1 million in reimbursement for lawyers and experts in case they are needed to dispute charges. LifeLock consistently gets good reviews for the level of help they make available in a crisis.

Computer Security Features

LifeLock’s higher tiers include Norton Security features like virus protection, parental controls, secure VPN, and anonymous browsing for multiple computers. Norton’s team also provides free technical support for removing a virus if one somehow slips through their defenses. The combination of computer and general credit protection makes LifeLock and Norton a powerful combination.

Pros

  • Four tiers make it easy to choose a level with features you’ll actually use
  • Excellent reimbursement system with up to $1 million each for personal expenses, stolen funds, and legal support, depending on the tier
  • 24/7 support at most tiers
  • Norton Security features protect computers, tablets, and smartphones with a range of anti-virus and privacy features
  • Dark web monitoring, stolen wallet protection and other perks available at the lowest tier
  • Retirement and investment account monitoring features

Cons

  • After the first year discounted rate, each tier is more expensive than competitors’ approximate equivalent
  • Child protection is relatively expensive
  • Lowest tier offers minimal customer service

3. Identity GuardBest Value

Three Tiers at Value Pricing

Identity Guard’s standard individual rate is $8.99 per month for their Value tier, but even their most expensive tier is just $24.99 per month. They offer a 15% discount if you pay annually. All three tiers include features like high-risk transactions and dark web monitoring, in addition to standard credit monitoring.

Their Family Plan is also a great deal, with rates as low as $12.50 a month for the annual Value tier. Since the Family Plan includes all household members, it’s perfect for large families.

Dedicated Support

All three tiers include access to US-based dedicated case managers if any problems arise, plus up to $1 million in insurance and stolen funds reimbursement.

The top tier even includes a Social Insight Report to walk you through your own Facebook posts to show you how you may be sharing too much information online.

Broad Internet Protection

In addition to standard dark web monitoring, Identity Guard uses IBM’s artificial intelligence software called Watson to scan the internet for malicious content.

This includes social media posts from other users who may be sharing your information without your permission. Watson flags any relevant threats, and Identity Guard can walk you through the next steps to protect yourself.

Pros

  • Three tiers with clear features for each one, with powerful tools like high-risk transactions and dark web monitoring, included as standard
  • Great prices on all three tiers, with affordable coverage for the whole family starting at $12.50 per month
  • Dedicated case manager support if fraud is detected
  • Up to $1 million in insurance and reimbursement
  • Watson web monitoring uses AI to scan the internet for relevant threats
  • Unique advice from Social Insight Report to help you secure your social media and prevent oversharing

Cons

  • Limited customer service hours, with no support on Sundays
  • Fewer computer protection features than close competitors

4. Experian IdentityWorksBest for Families

30-day Trial and Annual Discount

Experian IdentityWorks’ base price is comparable to its competitors, but it increases its value by providing a 30-day free trial to monthly subscribers and two months free if you pay annually.

Both tiers offer dark web monitoring, lost wallet protection, address change verification, and more. The higher tier provides much more detailed services, including sex offender registry monitoring and payday loan monitoring.

Experian CreditLock

The best credit monitoring app in the industry allows users to lock and unlock their Experian credit with just a tap. Though TransUnion and Equifax credit reports require their own separate locks, being able to lock your Experian credit can still provide some protection against fraud.

Direct access to Experian’s expert staff means that any discrepancies can be cleared up quickly, then relayed to the other credit bureaus.

Affordable Family Coverage

In addition to two tiers of individual coverage, Experian has solid family features, making it the best credit monitoring agency for families. Family coverage starts at $14.99 per month for a single parent and up to 10 children and starts at $19.99 per month for 2 parents and up to 10 children.

Adding the premium features only costs $10 more per month, making it a great investment for securing your children’s futures.

Pros

  • Great value and features for families, with reasonable monthly rates for both large and small families
  • Dark web monitoring, address change verification, and lost wallet protection for both tiers
  • Good overall identity protection features at the higher tier
  • 30-day trial for monthly users, or two months free if you pay annually
  • Direct access to Experian allows for faster resolution of disputes and true expert help
  • Experian app allows you to lock and unlock your Experian credit as needed

Cons

  • Only two tiers available, though in three family sizes
  • Very limited computer and internet protection
  • Lowest tier offers very few identity theft monitoring features

5. TransUnion Credit MonitoringBest Single Bureau

Robust Security

Like Experian, TransUnion’s credit monitoring service offers one-touch credit locking in their smartphone app. Although TransUnion’s monthly service currently only provides credit report updates for their service, you can also lock and unlock your Equifax credit as needed and get urgent alerts for changes to your scores from all three bureaus.

TransUnion also offers up to $1 million in fraud insurance and unlimited access to their team of fraud experts, so it’s a solid investment. When you start your standard single-bureau credit monitoring service, you can pay a one-time fee to access your three-bureau credit report.

Instant Alerts

TransUnion’s credit monitoring cuts out the middleman to give you email and app alerts almost immediately after someone accesses your credit.

If there’s any sign of trouble in your credit report or a new line of credit is opened without your authorization, just lock your credit and call TransUnion to resolve the disputed changes.

Educational Features

In addition to standard credit report features, TransUnion has a library of educational information to help you make good financial decisions.

They offer personalized debt analysis, credit card spending help, and industry updates from all three credit bureaus. It’s a solid resource if you want detailed information to guide your next financial choices.

Pros

  • Solid customer service and easy report access, with no middleman to deal with during fraud claims and disputes
  • Up to $1 million in insurance and reimbursements
  • Fast alerts via smartphone app and email if someone opens credit lines
  • Immediate credit-locking capabilities for both TransUnion and Equifax via the smartphone app
  • Provides urgent alerts if something suspicious occurs in your Equifax or Experian file
  • Educational content is a great value for financial literacy

Cons

  • Relatively few monitoring and identity protection features compared to larger, three-bureau providers
  • Recently increased monthly price to $24.95, making it less of a good deal than before

6. Credit KarmaBest Free

Easy to Use

Credit Karma consistently gets the best free credit monitoring service reviews because of its easy-to-use features. There are few false alarms and little extra paperwork to worry about. You can easily access your reports, get important notifications, and lock your TransUnion and Equifax credit as needed.

Credit Karma also has plenty of educational tools, making it a great choice for young adults who are still learning about credit. Members can write reviews of credit cards and other financial tools, creating another free resource for the community to use.

Free, Yet Secure

Credit Karma is a legitimate service that pays for itself by advertising for credit cards and other financial services. They will periodically offer you products that you may be interested in and get an affiliate fee from the advertiser if you get the product.

There are no other fees or catches in their online services, and they add new features regularly.

Includes Data Breach Information

CreditKarma also includes basic data breach notifications. It checks your email address against information exposed during data breaches, then lets you know if your email address, full name, physical address, passwords, or other information may have been exposed.

Pros

  • Free, thanks to affiliate advertising, with no hidden fees or catches
  • Includes weekly credit reports and credit locking, both of which have easy-to-use features and clear explanations
  • Contains security tips, useful information about loans and mortgages, and reviews of credit cards and other financial services
  • Data breach notifications let you know when and where your email address, physical address, date of birth, passwords, or other sensitive information may have been exposed online

Cons

  • Far fewer features than paid options, including no computer software and no insurance
  • Only provides credit reports and locking for TransUnion and Equifax; Experian must be managed separately

Final Thoughts

If you’re still wondering what the best credit monitoring service to use is, IdentityForce is a tremendous overall option with ample features at a reasonable price. It has a full suite of protection features, with live experts available to help 24/7. It has inexpensive Childwatch identity theft monitoring, so you can ensure that no one takes advantage of your child’s future.

Identity theft and credit card fraud are growing threats, even as computer security improves. Credit monitoring services are essential to protecting yourself and your family from massive credit card bills or other debts being incurred in your name. Get credit monitoring as soon as possible so you can keep your finances and reputation intact.


About Credit Monitoring Services

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring registers your Social Security Number, date of birth, and other personal information, and lets you know when it is used to set up lines of credit in your name. The credit monitoring company sends you alerts if a creditor makes a hard inquiry into your account, which usually indicates an attempt at opening a new line of credit.

Credit monitoring also provides you with quarterly or weekly updates to your overall credit score. Some credit monitoring includes insurance, or it can be upgraded to include dark web monitoring or other forms of identity theft, such as medical identity theft.

What are identity thieves looking for?

Identity thieves usually want your full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number to try to open a line of credit. They may get this information from hacked online accounts, bills, tax documents, or a stolen purse or wallet. Sometimes usernames, passwords, and driver’s license numbers may also come in handy for someone impersonating you.

Once they have your information, they will try to open a new credit card or other line of credit at a bank that you don’t already have an account at. They will typically open the biggest account possible, then spend as much money they can in a few days before you can even notice.

How can credit monitoring services protect me?

Credit monitoring services protect you by giving you a chance to react and respond to fraud. Usually, new credit cards can be set up with a different email address, so credit thieves can maintain control over the account. Once they switch the account to paperless billing, you might never see any physical sign of the account until the thieves have already run up a huge bill.

If you received an alert indicating fraud, you must take action by telling the credit monitoring company and closing the fraudulent account. The credit monitoring company can help walk you through any remaining steps you should take, including double-checking other bills and accounts.

How to Choose the Right One for You 

Credit monitoring services come with different features, and some features are more valuable than others. Older adults, for example, might not need social media monitoring as much as young, tech-savvy users.

Dark web monitoring, three-bureau monitoring, and computer protection software are good features to look for in a credit monitoring service. Individuals with retirement or investment funds may want to get features to monitor those accounts.

If you’re about to buy a house or car, getting the best credit monitoring service with FICO scores can help you fix any credit issues before the purchase. Insurance and reimbursement policies are also essential. Invest in a service with higher limits if you have large amounts of money in savings or checking accounts.


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