Updated 2019. The government requires the credit bureaus to provide you a free credit
None of the services below require a trial or credit card number to sign up, so you don’t have to worry about any surprise charges. These are either ad-supported (they will pitch you stuff) and/or they are “freemium” services with a paid upgrade option (but you can stay on the free tier forever). Each of them offers something unique, and together form a comprehensive daily monitoring of your credit.
- Free daily credit monitoring. Credit Sesame also offers free daily credit monitoring of your TransUnion data, with alerts coming via e-mail, text, or smartphone app. This service tracks more than 40 different credit activities such as a balance change, address change or when a new account is opened.
- Free identity protection and restoration services. Credit Sesame also includes $50,000 in identity theft insurance and access to identity restoration support in their free membership level.
- Free credit monitoring. Credit Karma also offers free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your TransUnion data.
- Free identity theft monitoring. Credit Karma uses your email address to search and notify you of breached accounts and threats to your identity.
- Free credit monitoring. They also offer free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your Experian data.
Note that some of the scores above are not FICO scores because Fair Isaac charges more money in licensing fees and these companies may not be able to cover those costs with their advertising. However, these services are still be very useful for tracking changes in your credit history. I enjoy getting alerts if a credit card balance is paid in full, if there is a new credit inquiry, or if my credit utilization ratio gets too high on a specific credit line. This is also a great way to get early warning of any fraudulent activity.
Bottom line. Used in combination, I use the services above to keep track of any daily changes to my credit reports across all three credit bureaus for free. None of them require my credit card number, and they alert me to things like new accounts, new credit check inquiries, and high credit line usage.
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