Top 10 Best Credit Monitoring Companies | 2017 Ranking | Credit Monitoring Services


2017 RANKING AND COMPARISON
BEST CREDIT MONITORING COMPANIES & SERVICES


Overview: Finding The Top Credit Monitoring Companies

If you become a victim of ID theft, you’ll need to go through a time-consuming and expensive process of clearing your name or credit report. You’ll need to file lots of paperwork with financial and credit firms. Filing paperwork, working through disputes, and pursuing claims is a process that can take weeks, months, and even years.

To minimize the possibility of you becoming a victim of identity theft, it is recommended that you take a proactive step by using a credit monitoring service to monitor your credit. The best ID theft protection and credit monitoring service companies can help you monitor your credit reports and activities. Other services provided include monitoring your financial and credit accounts.

Award Emblem: Best Credit Monitoring Companies & Services

In addition, they can work with you to place fraud alerts or freezes on your credit file, a service that also involves removing your name from marketing mailing lists.


Which Credit Monitoring Firms Provide the Best Credit Monitoring Services?

When searching for the best credit monitoring service that can best meet their needs, consumers generally ask a couple of key questions.

These questions include: What is the best credit monitoring service available to me? Which companies provide the top credit monitoring services? And where can I find free credit monitoring services reviews?

To address the questions above, the AdvisoryHQ News research team performed a detailed review of popular credit monitoring companies, and we’ve published our findings in the credit monitoring services reviews publication below.



AdvisoryHQ’s List of Top 10 Best Credit Monitoring Service Companies

Sorted alphabetically:

Click here for the details: Credit Monitoring Comparison & Ranking Table



Top 3 Best Credit Monitoring Services

Of the top 10 monitoring companies presented in this review article, which companies or services can be considered the “top 3 credit monitoring services?”

Based on the comprehensive level of services provided relative to the amount that you’ll have to pay for the provided services (free or low, mid, and high fees), we’ve identified the three companies below as this year’s top 3 credit monitoring companies.

Identification Theft Alert

Image Source: BigStock

Credit Karma

  • Free; provides a sufficient number of services and features, especially for those with a limited budget or constrained income

LifeLock

  • Paid service, but LifeLock provides comprehensive coverage protection
  • LifeLock analyzes over a trillion data points a day and hundreds of thousands of sites using proprietary technology
  • LifeLock is one of the most popular and oldest credit monitoring and anti-ID theft protection companies
  • Consumers that use LifeLock do not mind paying the monthly subscription fees based on the extensive level of value protection that LifeLock provides
  • With LifeLock, you get a wide range of services and features including: Bank Account Takeover Alerts, Enhanced Credit Application Alerts, File-Sharing Network Searches, Sex Offender Registry Reports, Credit Reports & Scores – 3 Bureaus, and Monthly Credit Score Tracking services

IdentityForce

  • Just like LifeLock, IdentityForce is a paid service that provides a lot of highly valuable monitoring and protection services
  • In the event that you become a victim of ID theft, IdentityForce will provide complete ID theft restoration services via its Certified Protection Experts who are available 24/7

If you believe in a lifestyle approach that emphasizes quality/value over price, then LifeLock and IdentityForce should be given strong considerations. Full details are provided in the comparison table below.

However, if you just need the basics, then you’ll want to strongly consider Credit Karma.



Credit Monitoring Reviews

Identitytheft.gov is the US government bureau department to which consumers can report identity theft crimes and where victims of ID theft can get information to help them recover.

ID Theft Protection - Credit Monitoring Services

Image Source: Identitytheft.gov

Identity theft, also known as ID theft, continues to be one of the top 5 fastest-growing crimes in the US alone. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released its annual credit fraud and ID theft statistical report which showed that last year alone over 17.5 million US consumers became victims of identity theft. According to the DOJ, the total financial loss from last year’s identify theft was up to $15.4 billion.

An interesting part of the report showed that while over 87% of identity theft victims reported the issue to their financial institution, only less than 10% reported the crime to police.

Something to note here is that identity theft does not just involve your identity. Someone stealing and using your credit card or credit information is another instance of ID theft.



Here’s Something That You Need to Consider (Credit Monitoring Services Reviews)

No company or individual can fully protect you from becoming a victim of ID theft. ID theft and credit monitoring companies can help minimize the possibility of you becoming a victim, but there is no 100% protection guarantee against ID theft.

Shopping online or at a store, giving out your SS# at the doctor’s office, using public Wi-Fi at a hotel or restaurant or credit/consumer database breaches are just a few ways in which your identity or accounts can be comprised.

As such, a very important service that some of these credit monitoring service companies provide is a guarantee that they’ll assume the process of clearing your name if ever you should fall victim to ID theft.

In the event that your identity, financial accounts or credit cards are compromised, these companies will provide you with one or more specialists who will work on your behalf to help clear your name.

They’ll retain lawyers and other experts if needed and will be responsible for paying any court-related fees.



Which Is Better – a Paid or Free Credit Monitoring Service Plan?

In regard to finding the best credit monitoring companies to use, you can choose to go with a paid subscription which provides additional protection and monitoring features, or you can choose to go with a free credit monitoring service.

Are Paid Monitoring Services Better?

No! It all depends on how much coverage you seek and what “additional services” you think you might require.

If you are mostly concerned with monitoring, then you’ll want to go with one of the free credit monitoring services. Since credit monitoring companies will notify a consumer whenever a new account has been opened in his/her name, many US, UK, Canadian, and Australian consumers use credit monitoring as a means of preventing identity theft.

However, if you seek additional protection and coverage, then it would be best to go with a paid or “all-inclusive” monitoring package.

Click here for a detailed overview: Paid and free credit monitoring reviews

The section below presents a list of the best paid and free credit monitoring services and companies. This list is followed by a comparison ranking table that outlines what we liked about these firms and why they’ve been included on our list of best credit monitoring companies.

Click here for a list of what credit companies monitor.



Top 10 Credit Monitoring Services – Detailed Comparison Reviews

Sorted by fees (lowest to highest)

Name

Monthly
Fees

Details – What We Like About These Monitoring Service Providers

Credit Karma

Free

  • Credit Karma provides free credit monitoring services
  • Tracks your credit report on a daily basis and notifies you of any significant changes on your credit report
  • Notifies you whenever a new account has been opened in your name
  • Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring service is powered by TransUnion
  • Involves Equifax and TransUnion monitoring
  • Credit Karma is able to provide a free credit monitoring service by leveraging an advertising revenue model. Advertisers pay to display advertisements
  • The free service means that your personal information is analyzed (via algorithms) for displaying credit card and other offers to you

Identity Guard

$5 intro price, then $19.99

  • Credit report monitoring – all 3 credit bureaus
  • Credit score updates – 4 times a year
  • Lost wallet protection
  • Enhance credit application alerts
  • Computer protection software
  • Identity Guard® kID Sure℠ product is the most comprehensive identity protection available for kids
  • Public record monitoring with enhanced alerts
  • Monitors the Internet and public records, looking for activities that involve or mention you
  • Every 3 months, receive your credit scores from Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion
  • Address change monitoring
  • $1M ID theft insurance protection 

Identity Force

$23.95

  • Continuous tracking and monitoring
  • Receive instant notification of suspicious activity as soon as it happens
  • Change of address monitoring
  • Payday loan, fraud, criminal court, and other types of monitoring
  • IdentityForce monitors sex offender registries to monitor for illegal use of your identity
  • Searches criminal, court and public records across the country to ensure your identity is not being used illegally
  • IdentityForce’s DeleteNow feature allows you to see suspicious sites that show/sell your personal information so you can automatically remove this information
  • IdentityForce’s ChildWatch feature offers additional protection for children and members of your family
  • Notifies you whenever a new account has been opened in your name
  • In the event that you become a victim of ID theft, IdentityForce will provide complete ID theft restoration services via its Certified Protection Experts who are available 24/7

LifeLock

$29.99

  • LifeLock offers three monitoring services ($9.99/mo: LifeLock Standard, $19.99/mo: LifeLock Advantage, and $29.99/mo: LifeLock Ultimate Plus™)
  • According to LifeLock, its $29.99/mo LifeLock Ultimate Plus™ package has the best value
  • LifeLock works to protect your identity by using a unique combination of detecting, alerting, and restoring
  • The firm analyzes over a trillion data points a day and hundreds of thousands of sites using proprietary technology
  • If you become a victim of ID theft, LifeLock will provide specialists who will be responsible for making the calls, filing the necessary paperwork, and taking all the steps needed to restore your identity
  • LifeLock offers a free 30-day trial & also a 10% discount
  • Free scores from Equifax, Experian, & TransUnion
  • Bank account takeover alerts
  • Credit inquiry activity alerts
  • Instances of file-sharing network searches for your identity and information
  • Monitoring of sex offender registry reports
  • Monthly credit score tracking
  • Up to $1M in ID theft insurance protection
  • And many more…

Credit Sesame

Free

  • Similarly to Credit Karma, Credit Sesame provides free monitoring
  • Free $50k ID theft insurance
  • Tracks Experian data only
  • Notifies you whenever new financial accounts have been opened in your name
  • Provides you with a free monthly credit score

Equifax

$19.95

$19.95: Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Equifax’s Complete Premier Plan comes in a very easy to understand and consolidated format, which includes in-depth information and a breakdown of the factors impacting your scores
  • Although you have unlimited access to your Equifax Credit Score™ and can view this anytime, your 3-bureau credit scores and profile are only provided once a year
  • Get real-time credit file monitoring and alerts of changes to your credit file across Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
  • Ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report™
  • Up to $1M in ID theft insurance protection
  • Access to an identity theft specialist should you become a victim of identity theft
  • Web Detect™ – scans suspicious websites on the Internet and sends you alerts if your personal information is found on any of these sites

Experian

$4.95 intro price, then $19.95

  • Monitors your Experian credit report on a daily basis
  • Notifies you when key changes are detected on your Experian credit report
  • $50,000 Experian Credit TrackerSM Guarantee – ID theft insurance protection
  • Includes access to a Fraud Resolution Specialist in case you ever become a victim of ID theft
  • Tracks your FICO Score
  • Receive a monthly statement with your FICO Score, a report of recent activity alerts, and other information

myFICO

$29.95

  • Get your FICO® Scores from all 3 credit bureaus every quarter
  • Monitor your credit files across all 3 bureaus
  • Get continuous monitoring of your identity
  • Get ID threat alerts and notifications
  • If you do become a victim of identity theft, myFICO will provide you with a certified specialist to work with you

TransUnion

$19.95

  • Get instant email alerts and notification – the latest in identity protection
  • Access to your TransUnion Credit Score
  • Up to $1,000,000 in ID theft insurance

USAA

  • USAA offers three monitoring plans
  • CreditCheck® – free service for USAA members
  • $7.95 CreditCheck® & ID Monitor – Experian service
  • $12.95 CreditCheck & ID Monitor Experian®, Equifax®, TransUnion® service
  • The free service does not provide the basic monitoring and detection service provided for most other credit monitoring service companies, even the companies that provide free services
  • The $7.95 and $12.95 packages provide the basis identity monitoring, alerts, and protection features and services. A key difference between the two plans is that the $12.95 plan provides you with access to your TransUnion and Equifax credit files and scores


What Do These Credit Companies Really Monitor?

Below is a list of the various information and accounts that are reviewed regularly by monitoring companies.

This list is not a comprehensive list, and not every company monitors every element presented below.

Monitoring to identify new accounts opened under your name/identity:

  • New bank/credit card
  • New retail loan
  • New student loan
  • New home equity loan
  • New mortgage loan
  • New business loan
  • New installment loan
  • New recreational merchandise
  • New auto loan
  • New auto lease

Monitoring for credit inquiries on your credit reports:

  • Installment loan inquiry
  • Recreational merchandise inquiry
  • Auto lease inquiry
  • Rental inquiry
  • Utility inquiry
  • Bank/credit card inquiry
  • Retail loan inquiry
  • Student loan inquiry
  • Home equity loan inquiry
  • Mortgage loan inquiry
  • Business loan inquiry
  • Auto loan inquiry
  • Credit card processor inquiry

Monitoring credit usage on your behalf:

  • Bankcard utilization increase or decrease
  • Retail credit card utilization increase or decrease
  • Unsecured line of credit utilization increase or decrease
  • Home equity utilization increase or decrease

Monitoring increases or decreases to your non-revolving loan balances:

  • Home equity balance increase or decrease
  • First mortgage balance increase or decrease
  • Auto loan balance increase or decrease
  • Student loan balance increase or decrease

Monitoring credit limit changes:

  • Bankcard credit limit increase or decrease
  • Retail credit limit increase or decrease
  • Unsecured line of credit limit increase or decrease
  • Secured mortgage credit limit increase or decrease
  • Home equity credit limit increase or decrease
  • First mortgage credit limit increase or decrease
  • Auto loan credit limit increase or decrease
  • Student loan credit limit increase or decrease

Monitoring of derogatory information on your credit reports:

  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure
  • Foreclosure
  • Repossession
  • Charge-offs
  • Collections
  • 180/150/120/90/60/30 days delinquent
  • Settled for less than full balance

Monitoring public records for your information and alerting you of:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Lien filed
  • Civil action satisfied
  • Civil action judgment filed
  • Lien released/satisfied


AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.