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CreditWise vs. Experian

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated December 18, 2023​

5 min. read​

Credit health is an important aspect of financial well-being, and monitoring it regularly can help you stay on top of your credit score, credit report and credit history. Capital One’s CreditWise is a free tool that allows you to monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and provides targeted advice, tools and alerts to help you improve your credit. On the other hand, Experian offers a range of credit monitoring and identity theft protection services – some for a fee. Understanding the key features of each option can help you decide which is best for you.

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Monitoring Your Credit Score with CreditWise vs. Experian: Overview


CreditWise from Capital One is a free credit monitoring service that allows you to access and monitor your credit report from TransUnion. By using CreditWise, you can keep track of your credit score and get alerts about significant changes to your report. CreditWise provides key information, such as your credit utilization, payment history and other factors that may impact your score.


Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus that provide credit reporting services. Experian offers both free and paid options for monitoring your credit scores and reports. With the free option, you can access your Experian credit report and FICO Score, updated monthly.

Compare CreditWise vs. Experian

Here’s a closer look at the key differences between CreditWise and Experian.

Credit Scoring Model

CreditWise uses the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit scoring model, which is different from the FICO Score used by the majority of lenders. Your CreditWise score is based on the information gathered from TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus. On the other hand, Experian utilizes the widely-accepted FICO Score based on the information available in your Experian credit file.

Frequency of Updates

With CreditWise, you can access your credit score and credit report weekly. This frequent update allows you to keep an eye on changes to your credit score and catch any unusual activities. In contrast, Experian offers monthly updates for your credit report and FICO Score when you sign up for its free credit monitoring services.

Credit Bureaus Monitored

When it comes to credit monitoring, CreditWise focuses on tracking your credit information from TransUnion. However, Experian not only keeps track of your credit report from its own collection of data but also provides information from all three major credit bureaus, including Equifax and TransUnion, when you opt for one of its paid premium accounts.

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Free Services

Both CreditWise and Experian offer a range of free services. With CreditWise, you get a free credit score and report from TransUnion, while with Experian, you can access your free credit report and FICO Score each month. Free Experian accounts also let you take advantage of Experian Boost to improve your credit score instantly, along with Experian Go to build credit from scratch.

Premium Features

Experian offers additional premium features to help protect your credit. Their paid plans include features like three-bureau credit monitoring, monthly three-bureau credit report and FICO score updates, identity theft monitoring and insurance of up to $1,000,000, Experian CreditLock, and so much more. CreditWise, on the other hand, is primarily a free service without any premium options.


As mentioned earlier, CreditWise is a free credit monitoring service provided by Capital One without any additional charges. Experian offers both free and paid options. Its CreditWorks Premium membership starts at $24.99 per month following a free 7-day trial. Or you can enroll in a premium identity protection plan. The latter also starts at $24.99 per month following a 7-day trial and features an assortment of resources and tools to help protect your personal and credit information and boost your credit health.

When to Use CreditWise vs. Experian

If your primary goal is to monitor your credit score on a regular basis without incurring extra costs, both CreditWise and Experian’s free plan could be suitable options. However, if you’re actively seeking new credit cards or loans or if you want more detailed insight into your credit history, it might be worthwhile to consider Experian’s paid services.

When to Use Experian vs. CreditWise

If you are looking for a more comprehensive and detailed credit report to apply for major loans or credit cards, Experian may be a better choice for you. Conversely, if you want a convenient and free way to monitor and manage your credit, CreditWise from Capital One could be the right solution. Understanding the strengths and limitations of each service can help you make the best decision for managing and optimizing your credit health.

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Comparing the Two Options

There are differences between these two services that might sway your preference. For instance, Experian provides more detailed information on your credit report, with FICO scores accepted by a larger number of lenders. However, Creditwise offers free credit monitoring and emphasizes ease of usability, making it an excellent tool for those who want to keep an eye on their credit score without spending any money.

While both CreditWise and Experian provide valuable information and insights regarding your credit profile, it’s essential to keep in mind that different lenders might have preferences for the scoring models they use. FICO credit scores are used by more than 90 percent of top lenders and creditors to make lending decisions. VantageScore is starting to rise in popularity but isn’t yet as prevalent.

Here’s another look at how the two stacks up:

Features CreditWiseExperian
Credit-scoring model TransUnion

VantageScore 3.0
Frequency of updatesWeekly Monthly (with free plan)
Credit bureaus monitored TransUnion Experian (with free plan)

TransUnion and Equifax (with paid plans)
Free servicesWeekly CreditWise credit score updates

Dark web monitoring

Real-time Experian and TransUnion credit report updates
Credit report monitoring

Monthly Experian credit report and FICO Score updates based on Experian data

Experian FICO Score alerts

Experian Boost
Premium services Not applicable Daily Experian credit report and FICO Score updates

Monthly 3-bureau credit report and FICO Score updates

Industry-specific FICO scores

FICO Score Simulator

Experian CreditLock

Identity Theft Monitoring and Protection
Pricing FreeFree and paid options

Ultimately, it’s advantageous for you to be aware of both your VantageScore and FICO score, as well as to monitor your credit through different platforms for a comprehensive understanding of your financial profile.

How to Sign Up with CreditWise

Signing up for CreditWise is a straightforward process. First, visit the CreditWise from Capital One website and click on the “Sign Up Now” button.

You’ll be asked to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, date of birth and Social Security number. This is necessary to confirm your identity and ensure the security of your account. Make sure to enter accurate information to avoid any issues during the sign-up process.

Once you’ve entered your personal information, the site will ask you to confirm some details to further protect your identity. This may include verifying past addresses or answering questions about your financial history. Be prepared to provide accurate answers to these security questions.

After confirming your identity, you’ll need to set up your account by creating a username and password. Choose a strong, unique password to keep your account safe from unauthorized access. If you’re already a Capital One customer, you can use your existing online credentials to access CreditWise, making the sign-up process even simpler.

Once your account is set up, you can start using CreditWise to monitor your credit score and report. Remember to regularly check your credit information and take advantage of the tools and resources available to you through CreditWise. This proactive approach will help you stay on top of your financial health and make informed decisions for your financial future.

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How to Sign Up with Experian

It’s also simple to sign up with Experian. Start by visiting the Experian website and look for the option to create a new account. When you find it, click on the “Sign Up” button to start the registration process.

During the sign-up process, you will be asked to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. This information is essential for Experian to accurately generate your credit report and is used for security purposes to verify your identity.

Once you have entered your personal information, continue filling out the required fields to set up your account. This will include creating a username and password and selecting security questions. It’s essential to use a strong, unique password and memorable security questions to ensure the safety of your account.

After completing the account setup, you can access your Experian dashboard, which will display your credit report information. From here, you can also view your FICO score and sign up for credit monitoring services if you’d like.

Maintaining your Experian account is vital for staying on top of your credit health, and it will enable you to observe any changes that may affect your credit score and overall financial well-being. Remember to review your account periodically and update your personal information as needed to ensure the accuracy of the information Experian has on file.

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