Monitoring your credit can be an effective way to safeguard your money and your identity. So is credit monitoring something you should pay for?
Money expert Clark Howard has some thoughts.
You Should Never Pay To Have Your Credit Monitored
“No one should ever, EVER, pay for credit monitoring,” Clark says. “If you want credit monitoring, do it for free. There are so many places where free services are now available. The easiest of all is to just go to Credit Karma. You get credit monitoring and dynamic credit scoring for free. Credit Sesame is a great free resource as well.”
Best Sites for Free Credit Monitoring
Credit Karma is owned by Intuit, a company that specializes in financial software. Credit Karma offers credit scores, reports and insights on your financial health all for free.
Clark recommends that people set up a free account with Credit Karma before they freeze their credit, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Entrepreneur Adrian Nazari founded Credit Sesame as a site that helps consumers to learn about and improve their credit scores.
Like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame is a site that Clark recommends; if you’re going to freeze your credit, you should also set up your Credit Sesame account ahead of time.
Several Team Clark members have accounts with either Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.
Protecting Your Credit
Many people may make the assumption that credit monitoring is sufficient for safeguarding your credit accounts. Not so, says Clark.
“Credit monitoring is such an ineffective tool versus a credit freeze,” he says. “A credit freeze locks your credit down. Credit monitoring tells you only when someone’s messing with your credit, and it may be too late.”
His recommendation is to set up a dashboard with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame before you freeze your credit. If you already have a credit freeze, you’ll have to unfreeze your credit to sign up for either of those services.
You also need to freeze your credit with all three major credit bureaus. That’s the only way to ensure you’re fully protected because different creditors use different bureaus.
Knowing that your personal information may be vulnerable to criminals can seem scary. Taking a few minutes to set up free credit monitoring and to freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus could help you sleep more soundly at night.