The cost of a credit monitoring service depends on the company and which features you choose to use. Some allow you to use their services for free, while others can range from around $10 to almost $40 a month.
Typically, a free credit monitoring service provides everything you need, including your credit score, credit history, and alerts to changes on your report. If you’re paying for a credit monitoring service, it should monitor reports from all 3 credit bureaus and offer insurance protection, for an extra cost, in the event of fraud. Paying for credit monitoring or identity theft protection service can make sense in certain circumstances.
If you don’t have the time to monitor your credit reports or you’ve been a victim of identity theft, paid services can be helpful. When you decide to pay for credit monitoring, shop around first to make sure you find the right service that fits your needs. Before signing up, you’ll want to ask these questions:
- How extensive is the credit monitoring?
- Does the service monitor reports from all 3 of the major credit bureaus?
- Do you also need identity theft insurance, and what does it cover?
- Will the service help you recover from a data breach?
Free Credit Monitoring vs. Paid Credit Monitoring
Your bank or credit card company may offer you free credit monitoring services, but there are also paid services that bill you on a monthly or annual cycle. These paid services can offer additional benefits, such as dark web and public records monitoring. Other add-ons may include insurance protection, meaning that you wouldn’t be held liable for charges that occur if your identity is compromised or stolen during a data breach.
It’s important to understand what’s covered by your credit monitoring service. If you do choose a paid service, consider how the cost fits into your monthly budget and if it offers the features you’re looking for. It might make sense to use a paid service if you’re already a victim of identity theft, are at high risk for it, or if you just don’t want to monitor your credit on your own.
While a paid service may sound unnecessary at first, it’s important to understand that you often get what you pay for with credit monitoring services. A free product may be enough for some people, but for others, it may be worth it to pay for more comprehensive monitoring to better protect your financial well-being.