Best Credit Monitoring Services in 2024 | LendingTree

Best Credit Monitoring Services in 2024

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Written by Carol Pope | Edited by Jessica Sain-Baird and Xiomara Martinez-White | Reviewed December 26, 2023

If you’re rebuilding your credit or rebounding from identity theft, you know how crucial it is to keep tabs on your financial health — that’s where credit monitoring can come in.

There are tons of credit monitoring services out there, each with its own benefits, drawbacks and price tag. How do you know which one to choose? We can help. Our personal finance professionals took a deep dive so you can find the best credit monitoring service for you.

Best credit monitoring services

Aura logo

Best paid service overall: Aura

Monthly fee: From $12 to $45, depending on plan and annual discount.

ProsCons

  Three-bureau monitoring comes standard

  Includes VPN, ad blockers and password managers for up to 10 devices per person

  AI-assisted spam blocker helps filter scam phone calls and texts

  Can only lock Experian report

  No free plans

  Parental controls are only available on the family plan — unable to add this feature to an individual account (which could be inconvenient for single parents)

Credit Sesame logo

Best free service overall: Credit Sesame

Monthly fee: Free (Premium plan is available for $9.99 per month).

ProsCons

  Provides $50,000 in identity theft coverage at no additional cost

  Real-time credit score alerts

  App is highly rated by both Apple and Android users

  One-bureau monitoring (TransUnion)

  Must create a free account to see full range of premium services

  No phone or chat for customer service

ID Watchdog logo

Best for robust ID theft protection: ID Watchdog

Monthly fee: Individual plans range from $14.95 to $21.95, with family plans between $23.95 and $34.95. Discounts are available if you pay annually.

ProsCons

  Can lock Equifax and TransUnion on Premium plan

  Credit freeze assistance is available on all plans

  In-house customer service available 24/7/365

  No free plans

  No money-back guarantee

  Must purchase the most expensive plan for three-bureau monitoring

Identity Guard

Best for value: Identity Guard

Monthly fee: Plans range from $6.67 to $29.99, plus a discount for paying annually.

ProsCons

  Cheapest plan is less than $10 a month, yet provides up to $1 million in identity theft coverage

  Can add unlimited children to the family plan

  60-day money-back guarantee on annual plans

  Must opt for Total or Ultra plan for credit monitoring

  Credit freeze assistance isn't available, and must have Ultra plan to lock (Experian)

  Lackluster mobile app ratings from Android users

IdentityIQ logo

Best for three-bureau monitoring: IdentityIQ (Secure Max plan)

Monthly fee: $29.99, or $25.50 if paid annually.

ProsCons

  Monthly three-bureau credit reports and scores

  Family coverage is included at no additional cost

  Up to $25,000 in ID theft protection for eligible children

  No email or chat options for customer service

  Website is unclear if credit freeze or credit lock is available

  Customer service phone line isn't available 24/7

MyFICO logo

Best for FICO monitoring: MyFICO

Monthly fee: From $19.95 to $39.95, depending on plan.

ProsCons

  Uses FICO Score model when most services use VantageScores

  Identity restoration team is available 24/7

  Every credit monitoring alert includes your current FICO Score

  Cybersecurity options are lacking

  Unable to freeze or lock credit

  With a basic plan at almost $20 per month, not the cheapest paid service on this list

ID Shield logo

Best for customer service: ID Shield

Monthly fee: Individual plans range from $14.95 to $19.95. Family plans are between $29.95 and $34.95.

ProsCons

  Phone, email, live chat and help center are available

  Offers a reputation management service to help you improve or maintain your social media persona

  Includes VPN, malware detectors and parental controls in all plans

  No discount for paying annually

  No credit locking

  Must submit written notice to deactivate account

Experian CreditWorks logo

Best for bad credit: Experian CreditWorks (Basic plan)

Monthly fee: Free.

ProsCons

  Experian Boost allows users to add utility, streaming service and rent payments to improve their FICO Score

  Provides FICO Scores rather than VantageScores

  Credit freeze assistance for Experian report

  One-bureau monitoring (Experian)

  No dark web monitoring

  Alerts for attempted credit inquiries are not sent in real time

Experian IdentityWorks

Best for digital experience: Experian IdentityWorks

Monthly fee: The Basic plan is free, Premium is $24.99 a month and the Family plan is $34.99 a month.

ProsCons

  Mobile app is highly rated by Apple and Android users

  Experian credit lock available on Premium

  Uses FICO Scores

  Customer service isn't available 24/7

  No money-back guarantee

  Three-bureau credit reports and FICO credit scores are available on the Premium plan, but only once a quarter

IdentityForce logo

Best for families: IdentityForce

Monthly fee: Individual plans range from $17.99 to $23.99 a month per member, per month, with a discount for annual members. Child identity theft protection is an additional $2.75 a month per child.

ProsCons

  ChildWatch provides comprehensive credit, social media and identity monitoring for children

  Includes anti-phishing, anti-keylogging and malware prevention software

  Instant alerts for bank account withdrawals over a certain threshold

  Mobile app user ratings range from middle-of-the-road to poor

  No credit lock

  Additional cost with each child added to plan

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring is a tool that helps consumers track their credit history and stay abreast of changes to their credit reports. Depending on the service, certain actions (such as credit score changes or a hard inquiry in your name) will trigger a push notification or email alert. To see what’s in your credit report, you’ll need to log into an online account or mobile app (if your service offers this feature).

In addition to monitoring your credit report, most credit monitoring services provide some sort of identity theft protection. For instance, the most exhaustive plans offer “white glove” fraud restoration, identity theft insurance and cybersecurity tools.

What to look for in a credit monitoring service

  Three-bureau vs. one-bureau monitoring

To find the best credit monitoring service, you’ll need to understand which credit bureaus the service keeps track of — and that can be tricky. This is because some credit information may make it to only one bureau. For the most comprehensive view, you should look for credit monitoring that offers three-bureau reporting (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Three-bureau monitoring tends to be the most expensive.

On the flip side, although most free credit monitoring services only offer one-bureau monitoring, they can still be a budget-friendly way to keep your finger on the pulse of your overall credit health and any suspicious activity.

  FICO Score vs. VantageScore

There are also two different types of credit scores your monitoring service can show you: your FICO Score or your VantageScore.

Most financial institutions use the FICO model when underwriting loan applications, but generally speaking, most credit monitoring services use VantageScore. When you check your credit score using a credit monitoring service, there’s no guarantee that it’s the one your lender uses. Still, your FICO Score and VantageScore tend to be fairly similar, so knowing either one can give you a good idea of your creditworthiness.

  Personalization

The general idea behind credit monitoring is the same, but specific offerings vary from company to company. While you’re shopping, ask yourself what you hope to achieve with credit monitoring. Are you more concerned with your credit score or identity theft — or both? Once you know what you want your credit monitoring service to do for you, you’ll have an easier time choosing a company best suited for your needs.

How we chose the best credit monitoring services

We reviewed 16 of the most well-known credit monitoring services (both paid and free). All of our picks monitor your credit and send alerts on a regular basis. We focused on metrics we think are most important for a credit monitoring service, including:

  • Features and benefits (40%): We ranked services higher for having more features like three-bureau monitoring, dark web alerts, credit freeze or lock options and bonus elements like a VPN or password manager.
  • Value and variety (30%): Services with more plan options were ranked higher. For paid services, we also prioritized annual discounts and money-back guarantees.
  • Customer service (20%): Higher rankings were reserved for services that offer 24/7 assistance and more avenues for getting help.
  • Digital experience (10%): We reviewed App Store and Google Play rankings for each service’s app and ranked higher those with scores of at least 4.7.

After choosing the best overall paid and free credit monitoring services, we reviewed the next highest-scoring services and determined their most valuable and unique features.