2018’s Best Credit Monitoring Service

WalletHub editors compared the leading credit monitoring providers so that you can find the one that best fits your needs

WalletHub

4.5 (14)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free membership includes all features

Features

  • Free Credit Scores, Updated Daily
  • Free Credit Reports, Updated Daily
  • Credit-Improvement Advice
  • Personalized Money-Saving Offers
  • Educational Tools

Editor's Notes

You can take this with a grain of salt if you wish, as our bias here is obvious, but we believe that WalletHub is the best credit monitoring service available because it’s free, reliable and accompanied by a number of awesome features that will keep your wallet safe and help you achieve top financial fitness.

Bankrate

4.5 (4)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free basic membership includes scores and ongoing credit monitoring
  • Upgraded membership includes full credit report and enhanced monitoring

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Bankrate offers all the basics with its free credit monitoring package. Users get score access, as well as all of Bankrate's debt calculator and rate resources. Full report access and enhanced monitoring are available with the upgraded membership. If you are interested in the tools and resources, this is definitely a site to check out.

Credit.com

4 (3)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free basic membership includes scores and ongoing credit monitoring
  • Upgraded membership includes full credit reports and enhanced monitoring from Experian

Features

  • Credit Score is provided
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Credit.com has a very strong credit monitoring service that it offers for free. It has one of the best dashboards in terms of simplicity and information conveyed, and is one of the only sites we saw with a 'goals' tool. The main downside is that the free membership does not include full report access, but this is included in upgraded membership. Definitely a site to consider for ongoing monitoring.

Credit Karma

4.5 (53)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free membership includes all features

Features

  • Credit Score is provided
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources (Coming Soon)

Editor's Notes

Credit Karma is one of the biggest names in this space, offering users two scores and reports for free. Scores are refreshed weekly, and membership includes a number of tools and resources, including a soon-to-come credit simulation tool. This is a solid option for regular free credit monitoring.

Credit Sesame

4 (9)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free basic membership includes scores and ongoing credit monitoring
  • Upgraded membership includes full credit reports and enhanced monitoring

Features

  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources (Coming Soon)

Editor's Notes

Credit Sesame offers one of the strongest tracking services as part of its credit monitoring package. The site has a strong dashboard and detailed tracking tools. The upgraded membership includes full report access and endhanced monitoring. Credit Sesame is a site you will want to look at for ongoing monitoring.

Compare Cards

3 (2)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free membership includes all features

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

Compare Cards offers one of the most basic credit monitoring packages with its all free membership. Users get score and report access, along with limited score analysis. The dashboard is one of the more confusing to interpret and navigate, and there are very limited additional tools and resources. This is not the place to start your search for free monitoring.

LendingTree

4.5 (3)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free membership includes all features

Features

  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

LendingTree offers one of the easiest to use credit monitoring services of all the sites reviewed. While full reports are not available, score and detailed analysis is. Factors affecting the user's score are displayed in an easy to understand manner. LendingTree also offers personalized recommendations on savings, based on a user's specific information. This is definitely a site to consider for anyone interested in savings.

Mint

4.5 (9)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free basic membership includes scores and ongoing credit monitoring
  • Upgraded membership includes monthly Equifax updates and annual 3 bureau updates

Features

  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

Mint does not focus on credit monitoring, but rather hollistic financial monitoring. Mint shows users their score, and includes a multitude of resources and tools to help the user's general financial situation. While a great site for this, its lack of focus on credit and credit monitoring may make it not as strong for these purposes.

Quizzle

4.5 (4)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free basic membership includes scores and ongoing credit monitoring
  • Upgraded membership includes monthly updates and identity protection

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Quizzle offers all the basics needed for credit monitoring as part of its basic membership. Users get scores, reports, and educational resources. Quizzle does offer one of the least frequent refresh periods (6 months) that we have seen, but users can upgrade to a faster refresh. Since all of this is available for free at other sites, this may not be the place to start looking.

Wise Piggy

3 (5)
1 Bureau Monitored Free, No Credit Card Required Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Free membership includes all features

Features

  • Credit Score is provided
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Wise Piggy offers a solid basic credit monitroing package. While it does not include full report access, it does have educational resources, and one of the more detailed debt paydown calculators we saw. If you are interested in this tool, this is definitely a site to consider.

Free Credit Score

3 (13)
1 Bureau Monitored Free Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

Free Credit Score gives users their score for free, along with minimal credit monitoring. This is an option for monitoring, but is not as strong as other free servies, so not the place to start a search.

AARP

0
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (14 days) $12.99/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

AARP offers its members an ID Protection service that inlcudes credit monitoring. Users get access to their scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, but not much else in terms of tools or resources. Given this, and the fact that the focus is ID and not credit monitoring, this may not be the best place to start looking for monitoring (for AARP members).

Credit Reports and Scores

2.5 (3)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (7 days) $14.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes score and analysis
  • Upgraded Membership includes reports from all three bureaus

Features

  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

Contrary to its name, Credit Reports and Scores does not include full reports with its basic membership. Users can see their score, and minimal credit monitoring resources, but need to upgrade to get their 3 bureau reports. Given this, it is not the place to start looking for monitoring services.

SmartAsset 360

2.5 (3)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (7 days) $14.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources

Editor's Notes

SmartAsset 360 offers one of the most comprehensive packages on the market. Users get access to reports and scores from all 3 bureaus, as well as strong additional tools and resources for credit monitoring. The only major downside is the price tag given the monthly membership fee, but this is certainly a site to keep on the list.

Credit ID Protect

1 (1)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (30 days) $14.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Credit ID Protect is powered by Identity Guard, and looks to be a weaker version of Identity Guard's own offering. Users can find all of the services it offers on other sites.

Free Scores and More

3 (2)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (14 days) $19.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Site includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Free Scores and More offers basic credit monitoring pertaining to scores with its membership. Users can see scores from all 3 bureaus, as well as solid educational resources. Users cannot see their reports, and there is a monthly fee, so this is not a strong option for ongoing monitoring.

Identity Guard

3.5 (3)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (30 days) $19.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes scores and reports
  • Upgraded membership includes monthly score and report updates

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Identity Guard specializes in ID Protection, but offers credit monitoring as a part of this service. Users get access to scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, but the focus remains on ID rather than credit monitoring. This is a solid option, but stronger comparable options exist for paid monitoring.

Fast 3 Credit Scores

1.5 (2)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (14 days) $24.99/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Fast 3 Credit Scores offers a credit monitoring service that does not include much else. Users can see scores from all 3 bureaus, but do not get access to reports or other resources. Given this and the monthly fee, this is not the place to start looking for monitoring services.

My Score

3.5 (3)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (7 days) $29.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

My Score offers a solid credit monitoring service for a fee. Users get access to scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, as well as educational tools and discounts at certain vendors. Given the monthly fee, and comparable services, this is not the place to start if you are interested in monitoring across all 3 bureaus

Equifax

4.5 (8)
3 Bureaus Monitored Free Trial (7 days) $17.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Equifax, one of the 3 bureaus, has the strongest of all the bureau memberships. Users get scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, as well as one of the strongest suites of tools and resources that we have seen. Overall, Equifax represents one of the better credit monitoring sites we reviwed, but the monthly fee is a big deterrent for ongoing monitoring.

Trusted ID

4.5 (2)
3 Bureaus Monitored $1 Trial (14 days) $14.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Trusted ID specializes in ID Protection, but offers credit monitoring as a part of this service. Users get access to scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, but the focus remains on ID rather than credit monitoring. This is a solid option, but stronger comparable options exist for paid monitoring.

TransUnion

3.5 (8)
1 Bureau Monitored $1 Trial (7 days) $17.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes scores and reports
  • Upgraded membership includes scores and reports from all 3 bureaus

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

TransUnion, one of the 3 bureaus, offers credit monitoring with its basic package. Users get scores, reports, and some extra resources. While stronger than Experian's offering, TransUnion is still not the best of the 3 bureaus in this space.

Truecredit

3.5 (2)
1 Bureau Monitored $1 Trial (7 days) $17.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes scores and reports
  • Upgraded membership includes scores and reports from all 3 bureaus

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Truecredit is powered by TransUnion, and has much the same offering as its parent's basic package. The main difference is Truecredit has a stronger focus on education. This makes it a slightly stronger offering for less credit-savvy users, yet still is not comparable to other offerings.

Experian

4 (12)
1 Bureau Monitored $1 Trial (7 days) $19.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features
  • Special discount for Premier Bank Cardholders

Features

  • Full credit report is provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Experian, one of the 3 bureaus, offers credit monitoring with its basic membership package. Users get scores, reports, and a few extra tools and resources. Despite this, it represents the least strong offering of the 3 major bureaus for monitoring. As such, look at the other two first if you are set on going straight to the bureaus.

Privacy Guard

4 (1)
3 Bureaus Monitored $1 Trial (14 days) $19.99/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources
  • Membership includes specialized tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Privacy Guard specializes in ID Protection, but offers credit monitoring as a part of this service. Users get access to scores and reports from all 3 bureaus as well as educational tools, but the focus remains on ID rather than credit monitoring. This is a solid option, but stronger comparable options exist for paid monitoring.

CreditReport.com

3.5 (10)
3 Bureaus Monitored $1 Trial (7 days) $24.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

CreditReport.com offers a basic credit monitoring package. Users get scores and reports from all 3 bureaus, but not much in the way of additional tools or resources. Given this and comparable services, this is likely not the place to start your search.

Credit Check Total

1.5 (33)
3 Bureaus Monitored $1 Trial (7 days) $29.95/mo after Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services

Editor's Notes

Credit Check Total offers a solid credit monitoring service for a fee. Users get access to scores and reports from all 3 bureaus. Given the monthly fee, and comparable services, this is not the place to start if you are interested in monitoring across all 3 bureaus

Protect my ID (Experian)

3 (1)
3 Bureaus Monitored Refundable 14 day trial ($15.95/mo after) Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Trial includes all features
  • 10% discount if 55+ years of age

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Membership includes Identity Protection Services
  • Site also includes educational tools and resources

Editor's Notes

Protect my ID is Experian's ID Protection offering that includes credit monitoring. Users get access to reports, as well as limited educational tools. Given this, and the monthly fee, this is not the strongest option on the market.

myFICO

4 (5)
3 Bureaus Monitored $14.95/mo Go to Site More Details

Fee Details

  • Membership includes scores and reports
  • Upgraded Membership includes enhanced monitoring and optional one-time purchases of additional scores and reports

Features

  • Full credit reports are provided
  • Credit Score is provided

Editor's Notes

myFICO offers direct from the source credit monitoring. It is the only way to get scores or reports directly from FICO. It does not offer much outside of scores and reports, and the monthly fees are a deterrant from using it for ongoing monitoring.

Popular Questions

What is the best credit monitoring service?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

There are many credit monitoring services to choose from these days, including both free and paid options. And that’s good news considering how often major data breaches happen as well as the prevalence of fraud. But using them all would be overkill. So it’s important to find the best credit monitoring service for your needs. And while we’re obviously biased, we truly believe WalletHub is the right choice.

WalletHub provides free 24/7 monitoring of your TransUnion credit report and will notify you immediately whenever there is an important change. WalletHub even allows you to set up SMS text alerts for a faster response time, which most credit monitoring services don’t do. Plus, WalletHub is the only site with free credit scores and reports that are updated on a daily basis, so you can make decisions based on the latest info.

It’s important to do your due diligence before choosing a monitoring service, though. And for your convenience, we compared some of the most popular options in a handful of key categories.

Here are the best credit monitoring services:

Credit Monitoring Service Free 24/7 Monitoring? Free Credit Reports? Free Credit Scores? Daily Report & Score Updates? Free Mobile App?
WalletHub Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit Sesame Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Mint Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Credit Karma Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Bankrate Yes Yes Yes No No


The WalletHub mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android. It’s a great way to stay on top of your credit on the go.

How do you monitor your credit report?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

Monitoring your own credit report is very hard to do. And there’s really no point in trying. Yes, it’s a good idea to review your three major credit reports at least once a year, in addition to keeping a closer eye on one of them. But no one can constantly watch over his or her own credit reports. Round-the-clock credit monitoring is physically impossible, after all.

Yet you can’t afford gaps in your defenses, either. The sun never sets on fraudsters, who can be found in all corners of the globe. And that’s why it’s great to have technology on your side.

You don’t have to attempt monitoring your own credit because there are plenty of free 24/7 credit monitoring services that can do it for you. You still need to be engaged, of course. A credit monitoring service will immediately notify you about important changes on your credit file. But you have to take action when you receive a notification about suspicious activity.

Still, that’s a whole lot better than trying to do everything yourself. And it should provide significant peace of mind.

How much does it cost to monitor credit?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

Some credit monitoring services cost as much as $29.95 per month. But credit monitoring is one thing you don’t need to pay for. There are many reputable free credit monitoring services, which keep watch over at least one of your three major credit reports 24/7.

For example, WalletHub offers free 24/7 monitoring of your TransUnion credit report, providing notifications via email and/or text message. And that service is in addition to free credit scores and reports that are updated on a daily basis, plus personalized credit-improvement tips and money-saving recommendations. Only WalletHub offers that collection of free perks.

At the end of the day, there’s really nothing a paid credit monitoring service can do for you that other options can’t provide for free.

Does credit monitoring affect your credit score?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

No, credit monitoring does not affect your credit score. Credit monitoring only requires “soft credit checks,” same as when you check your own credit score or report. That’s because credit monitoring is not being done for the purpose of evaluating you for a loan or line of credit.

As a result, credit monitoring can only have a positive impact on your credit. How? Well, a credit monitoring service will tell you whenever there’s an important change to your credit report. That may help you catch credit-report errors and fraudulent activity before it can harm your credit standing and cost you money.

In other words, you’ll have more to worry about if you don’t sign up for credit monitoring than if you do.

What is identity theft protection?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

Identity theft protection is an enhanced form of credit monitoring that provides services beyond watching over one or more of your credit reports. For example, an identity theft protection plan may include:
  • SSN monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Coverage for expenses related to identity theft
However, while many free credit monitoring services are available, identity theft protection typically requires paying a monthly fee. Some people may think it’s worth the money, if only for the added feeling of security such services can provide. But you’re probably better off holding onto your dough.

Free credit monitoring will warn you when someone tries to open a loan or line of credit under your name, your address gets changed, and more. Plus, you’re protected in other ways if a fraudster makes unauthorized purchases with one of your existing credit card accounts or uses your debit card to siphon money out of your bank account.

All credit cards have $0 fraud liability guarantees. The same is true of debit card transactions that aren’t authorized using your PIN. And federal law provides some baseline coverage, too. For more information, check out WalletHub’s Fraud Liability Study.

Finally, if you’re really worried about falling victim to identity theft, you can save a lot of money by simply freezing your credit reports rather than signing up for identity theft monitoring. Freezing your reports will prevent anyone from accessing them without a PIN, thus making it impossible to open an account without your permission.

What is the best site for credit scores?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

WalletHub is the only site with free credit scores (and reports) that update on a daily basis. Other sites update weekly, monthly or even quarterly. So if you want to see your latest score and avoid making financial decisions based on outdated info, WalletHub is the way to go.

WalletHub not only does free credit scores better than anyone else, but it also provides a number of other free services that will help take your finances to the next level. This includes personalized credit-improvement advice, credit card savings monitoring and much more.

So you’d be wise to join WalletHub now. It’s completely free. You don’t need a credit card. And signing up only takes a couple minutes.