Credit Monitoring, Credit Reporting Services and Identity Protection

    Consumers’ financial identities are always at risk. A single late payment might bring down your credit score, a clerical error may lead to inaccurate or outdated information being reported, and an identity thief can wreak havoc on your credit report. Such credit problems occur every day, but there are actions consumers can take against negative credit information.

    Options like credit reporting services, identity protection, credit score tracking and credit monitoring can help you safeguard your credit history by preventing problems or alerting you if issues arise. Such services are offered by credit bureaus directly, as well as by banks and other financial institutions.

    Credit Reporting Services

    Credit reporting services allow you to check your credit report regularly for a flat fee. Simply put, it is a way of subscribing to your own credit report. It monitors your credit report at each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    The service alerts you of any changes from day to day, allowing you to check the accuracy of your report constantly and to correct mistakes as quickly as possible.

    This type of service is useful for those who fear identity theft or are recovering from identity theft. Should identity theft occur, you’ll immediately be notified of the thief’s activity, whether he or she opened new accounts, made unauthorized charges or conducted other financial activity in your name.

    If your identity was stolen recently and your accounts were compromised, credit reporting services can help you keep a close eye on the recovery of your accounts and financial history. For example, you’ll be able to see when unauthorized accounts are closed and when the thief’s debts are reversed.

    Identity Protection

    Identity protection, much like credit reporting, monitors your credit report at the three credit bureaus and identifies changes daily. It is designed to flag any activities that could be a result of fraud or identity theft. If such a situation occurs, a fraud resolution will work with you to pinpoint and resolve problems.

    Credit Score Tracking

    Credit score tracking allows you to keep tabs on your credit score and any changes to it. It also helps educate you on the importance of your credit score and informs you when you move to a different “risk level.” For example, it can inform you when you become eligible for better loans with lower interest rates.

    Credit score tracking can be a helpful tool for people who are actively trying to improve their credit scores or who are preparing to make a large purchase. Lenders tend to consider scores above 720 or 740 as ideal, and scores below 600 or 620 as troublesome.

    Even a seemingly minor change in your credit score can qualify or disqualify you for reduced interest rates. If you’re looking to buy a home, for example, a 20-point jump in your score could result in you saving thousands of dollars in interest over the course of a mortgage.

    Credit Monitoring

    Credit monitoring is a service that combines credit reporting services, identity protection and credit score tracking for an all-around safeguard of your financial well-being. It allows you to check up on your credit reports daily. It includes with a monthly statement which summarizes the changes to your reports, as well as your credit score and a review of basic information found on your report.

    Credit monitoring services can help you stay on track or get back on track after a financial mishap. The benefits of credit monitoring can help you protect your identity and save money.

    Al Krulick

    Al is an award-winning journalist with dozens of years of writing experience. He served as a drama critic, high school teacher, arts administrator, theatrical producer and director. He also dabbled in politics, running twice for a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida. Al is a Certified Debt Specialist with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and specializes in real estate, credit and bankruptcy advice.

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