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A Beginner's Guide To Credit Monitoring Services
FICO credit scores are compiled by the three leading credit agencies in the country, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and range from 300 to 850. A higher credit score is ideal for you since it's a measure of creditworthiness by financial lenders, ensuring you get low-interest credit with favorable repayment terms and conditions. Additionally, an excellent credit score is increasingly becoming vital in rental and lease agreements and job applications.
Since most lenders and transparent, you are always guaranteed to receive periodical updates about your credit score. However, with the increase in cybercrime and consequential credit card and financial fraud, a breach in your credit lines can go undetected until it's too late.
It is essential to get credit monitoring services to track the fluctuations of your score in real-time, enabling you to report suspicious transactions on time.
However, to get started, you should compare the top credit monitoring services and select the best service provider. This is daunting and expensive if you get it wrong. The implications can take years to correct, not to mention losing your subscription fees in the short term.
Below is all you should know about credit monitoring services.
Signing Up And Creating Accounts
Like any other online services, the initial step is to select a credit monitoring service provider. Set up an account by submitting personal information, such as the social security number, list of your credit lines, bank account details, date of birth, state of residency, current address, and any other vital information.
Setting up a password is the next step. At this stage, it is crucial always to select the best credit monitoring platforms that have strong security features such as multi-factor authentication before allowing access to the account. Moreover, mobile phones, tablets and all computer devices should support the software to maximize accessibility and convenience. Ideally, any activity pertaining to your identity should trigger a cellphone or computer notice.
Some credit monitoring companies keep a check on all three credit bureaus, but other companies may only keep an eye on one or two.
Selecting The Best Credit Monitoring Service
It is a daunting task to compare the top credit monitoring services as there are hundreds of them. Also, you can fall prey to scammers who sometimes set up phony platforms, which use your data to steal your identity, or for illegal dark web activities. Therefore it is essential to exercise due diligence and do a background check on each platform before signing up. For instance, you can call the customer service line, search the physical location to see if the company exists, and even check through city and town records to ascertain that the business complies with all legal requirements.
Some of the red flags to look out for scams include:
Types on the landing page,
Lack of a physical address,
Lack of reviews,
A website that looks like it is not domiciled in the country,
Poor command of the English language by the customer service representatives,
Lack of standard pricing.
Are The Three Agencies Covered?
Ideally, a credit score monitor should be able to track data in real-time from the agencies. This is because if you settle for a service provider that does not cover all the platforms, you may be disadvantaged when you seek credit at one point and your prospective lender uses a credit report that you are not aware of. On the other hand, you never know which agency will capture a suspicious transaction linked to your identity, and it is always advisable to track your scores in all the bureaus.
Are There Extra Services?
Credit monitoring by itself it's not enough to protect your credit lines from hackers and online theft. It would be best to opt for credit monitoring services that offer more services, like building credit scores and personal data protection.
Building scores entails building additional relevant credit records such as timely rent settlements and lack of other obligations such as parking tickets. This can be vital depending on your circumstances and your expenditure areas. In the meantime, personal data protection entails tracing your identity and social security number to all platforms where it can be used and identity theft insurance and data recovery services following a hacking.
Additionally, if your credit monitoring services can alert your credit card company about suspected fraud, this can take the weight off your shoulders.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes