How Much Does Credit Monitoring Cost?
The frequency of data breaches and phishing scams has increased so much that more and more consumers are seeing the value of signing up for a credit monitoring service.
According to the latest figures from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there have already been 1,120 data breaches in 2017 with more than 171 million exposed records. Compare that to the 2016 totals of 1,039 breaches and 36.6 million records exposed, and the rising problem becomes clear. So it makes sense that credit monitoring services are on the uptick.
It was hard to miss the news about the Equifax data breach, which is now considered one of the largest in U.S. history. Despite knowing about the breach since July, the company didn’t make a public announcement until September. At that time, Equifax admitted that as many as 145.5 million American’s personal data was exposed including Social Security and drivers license numbers, birth dates, and home addresses. Equifax initially offered consumers a year of free credit monitoring with one catch—a promise to waive the right to sue. In many cases, “free” doesn’t necessarily mean better or more convenient.
When a Credit Monitoring Service is Worth Paying For
Having your identity stolen is not only inconvenient, but it can also be expensive. When the actions of another ruin your credit, it will not only take a significant amount of time for you to clean up the mess, but you also might not be able to make the purchases you had planned in the future. Signing up for a credit monitoring service makes sense if you want financial peace of mind, are planning to make a major purchase, or have had credit issues in the past.
While a credit monitoring service won’t necessarily lock out thieves, it will give you the best chance to catch fraudulent activity as it happens and prevent further damage. Once stopped, the cleanup efforts will be faster than if you were left unaware for weeks—or even months. Credit monitoring can help protect your credit score so that you can get the best deal on a mortgage or auto loan for major purchases, saving you money long-term. Also, if you’ve been the victim of fraud in the past or a mixed credit file (i.e. , your name is “John Smith”), it’s probably a good idea to closely monitor your credit with a service.
How Much Does Credit Monitoring Cost?
If you shop for credit monitoring services online, you’ll find that the offers vary considerably. Not only do the features provided by some of the top services differ, but so do their monthly fees. One thing to remember is that just because a service is the most expensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best credit monitoring service.
In fact, you might receive the longest list of features from the most affordable option. For example, some services charge as much as $29.99 per month, and they don’t even give you access to your credit reports. Another service, which charges just $9.99 per month gives you complete access to your three bureau credit reports, credit scores, and much more.
What Will the Best Credit Monitoring Service Do For You?
Identity theft has become so prolific that many consumers are choosing to protect their personal and financial data with a credit monitoring service. The good news is that the best credit monitoring service is also the most affordable. Smart Credit through Banks.com not only monitors your credit through the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), but it also gives you access to your credit scores and is a one-stop financial management solution. Receive instant identity theft alerts 24/7 with the ability to dispute activity and inaccurate information with the just the push of a button.