Monitoring your credit is important to make sure that no one has stolen your identity or has opened an unauthorized account in your name.
There are a lot of credit monitoring services out there. Some are free, while others cost money. So is it ever worth it to pay for credit monitoring? 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.”
Resources for Free Credit Monitoring:
But Clark doesn’t stop there. “Credit monitoring is such an ineffective tool versus a credit freeze,” he says. “A credit freeze locks your credit down. Credit monitoring only tells you 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 in place, 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. Follow Team Clark’s guide to freeze your credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
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.