Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2022

Insider’s experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our our partners, however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

Your credit score is a prominent factor in your financial profile. Good credit makes it easier to qualify for loans and secure low interest rates, so it pays to improve your score when it’s low and maintain it when it’s high. You can do both by paying bills on time and keeping your debt under control, but sound money habits aren’t the only steps to building and keeping a high credit score.

A 2013 study by the Federal Trade Commission found that 20% of Americans have an error on at least one of their three major credit reports. A 2021 investigation by Consumer Reports pegged that number at 34%. Credit reporting errors range from seemingly benign (like simple typos) to bad data and even fraud, but regardless of the root cause, mistakes of any kind can be costly.

Keeping an eye on your credit report is a great way to prevent such errors and minimize the damage they cause. Fortunately, a variety of credit monitoring services are available to help you do just that.

Insider’s Featured Identity Theft & Credit Monitoring Services

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Editor’s Rating

4.6/5

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

Editor’s Rating

4.7/5

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

Editor’s Rating

4.8/5

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring is the practice of regularly checking your credit files for errors, inaccuracies, or suspicious activity. While you can do this yourself, credit monitoring services can automate this process. They alert you of activity in your credit profile such as new credit inquiries, accounts being opened or closed, increasing or decreasing balances, and more. Alerts don’t necessarily indicate error or fraud — you might get one if you forget to pay a bill, for example — but they help you respond quickly in the event that your credit is compromised.

A credit monitoring service by itself is like the dashboard indicators on your car: It can detect and warn you about potential problems, but it won’t solve them. The onus is still on you to respond, and much like a flat tire or low oil pressure, ignoring the warning will likely make things worse.

For added protection, many credit monitoring services also offer security and recovery tools to help you avoid trouble and address it promptly when it arises. These varying levels of protection come at similarly varying prices. Free services typically offer limited monitoring capability from only one or two of the major credit bureaus, while high-end services package credit monitoring with identity theft protection and data security tools for a hefty monthly premium.

The best credit monitoring services

The best credit monitoring solution is the one that meets your needs at a price you can afford. The free options listed below will suffice if you just want an extra eye on your credit report, while the paid options offer a variety of additional services. Some credit monitoring capability is better than none, so don’t give up if you can’t find a plan that suits you perfectly.

If you want to be thorough, look for a service (or combination of services) that offers reporting from all three major credit bureaus. Many entry-level plans only monitor one bureau, leaving room for inaccuracies to slip through unnoticed on your other credit reports. Finally, look for a service you’ll actually use. This may be because the service comes with an app or maybe you just like how the dashboard is designed. If one service inspires you to be more proactive about monitoring your credit, that’s a strong selling point.

Here is our selection of the top credit monitoring services, and what you can expect from each one. The prices listed are the standard rates advertised at the time of writing, but you can likely find discounts through referrals or other promotional codes where applicable. Most services also offer a free trial so you can test them out before buying.

Best free monitoring: Credit Karma + Experian free credit monitoring

Experian Experian Free Credit Report

Experian Free Credit Report

Experian Experian Free Credit Report

Experian Free Credit Report

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Credit Karma Credit Karma Free Credit Report

Credit Karma Free Credit Report

Credit Karma Credit Karma Free Credit Report

Credit Karma Free Credit Report

On Credit Karma’s website

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Cost: Free

Credit Karma and Experian are separate credit monitoring services, both of which are available free of charge. Neither one reports from all three major credit bureaus — Credit Karma monitors TransUnion and Equifax, while Experian naturally offers data from its own reports — but together they cover all the bases.

As is often the case, when something is free, you’re the product. Using these services means sifting through marketing material like credit card, loan, and insurance offers, along with invitations to upgrade to a paid service (in the case of Experian). Once you look past the ads, however, you’ll see a detailed look at your credit score, including account balances, credit utilization, payment histories, average age of credit accounts, recent hard inquiries, and records of any derogatory marks.

Both services offer email and push notifications for a variety of events including data breaches or potential identity theft, changes to your credit report, and even reminders to pay bills. Both services also have highly rated mobile apps, which sets them apart from most apps offered by specialized identity theft protection services. That’s a big plus if you prefer to monitor your credit on a mobile device.

Best for light monitoring: CreditWise

Capital One Capital One CreditWise

Capital One Capital One CreditWise

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Cost: Free

CreditWise is a free credit monitoring service from Capital One. You don’t have to be a Capital One account holder to use it, but you can access CreditWise from within the Capital One app, so it’s convenient if you already have a Capital One credit card or other account.

Like Credit Karma, CreditWise monitors data from two of the major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion and Experian in this case). While you’ll get alerts about changes to both files, you’ll only be able to access data from TransUnion. CreditWise won’t show you details of your Experian file. That makes CreditWise less attractive if keeping an eye on all your credit reports is a priority.

On the positive side, CreditWise is a little easier to use than Credit Karma, as it presents the most vital data concisely and upfront without subjecting users to ads. It’s a great tool if you’d rather use a single service and don’t have a pressing need for more thorough credit monitoring or identity theft protection services.

Most comprehensive: IdentityForce UltraSecure+Credit

IdentityForce IdentityForce Ultra Secure+Credit

IdentityForce Ultra Secure+Credit


Fees

$23.95 monthly or $239.50 annually at standard pricing

IdentityForce IdentityForce Ultra Secure+Credit

IdentityForce Ultra Secure+Credit


Fees

$23.95 monthly or $239.50 annually at standard pricing

On IdentityForce’s website


Fees

$23.95 monthly or $239.50 annually at standard pricing

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Cost: $23.95 per month or $239.50 per year

IdentityForce is a product of TransUnion, but the +Credit plan monitors Experian and Equifax reports as well. On top of credit monitoring, IdentityForce offers broader monitoring of social media accounts, banking and investment accounts, mobile device scanning, and dark web data analysis. That additional scrutiny improves the odds you’ll detect suspicious activity and credit-related fraud, making it a good fit for anyone whose personal information has already been compromised.

IdentityForce goes beyond detection by offering a variety of security tools to help prevent identity theft from occurring in the first place. These include anti-virus and malware protection, a virtual private network (VPN) for safe browsing, password management software, and an online vault for storing sensitive digital documents.

Best for families: Aura 

Aura Aura – All-In-One ID Theft Protection

Aura – All-In-One ID Theft Protection


Fees

$9 to $25 per month for individuals and families.

Aura Aura – All-In-One ID Theft Protection

Aura – All-In-One ID Theft Protection


Fees

$9 to $25 per month for individuals and families.


Fees

$9 to $25 per month for individuals and families.

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Cost: $15 per month or $144 per year (individual). $29 per month or $264 per year (couple).

Aura provides fewer monitoring services than IdentityForce — it doesn’t include social media, for example — but it still offers well-rounded protection with monitoring and real-time alerts for all three credit bureaus. You’ll also get a similar array of security tools, as well as email aliases to reduce spam and exposure to data breaches. 

Aura shines brightest with its couple and family plans, which provide the same protections for additional members at what amounts to a heavily discounted cost per person. Aura’s family plan also offers some parental controls for mobile and other devices.

Best deal: Complete ID 

Complete ID Complete ID


Fees

$8.99 monthly for Executive members, $13.99 monthly for Business and Gold Star members

Complete ID Complete ID


Fees

$8.99 monthly for Executive members, $13.99 monthly for Business and Gold Star members


Fees

$8.99 monthly for Executive members, $13.99 monthly for Business and Gold Star members

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Cost: $8.99 per month or $13.99 per month with Costco membership

Complete ID is exclusively available to Costco members, and like many deals at Costco, the price is hard to beat. Every plan offers monitoring from all three credit bureaus, digital security tools like a password manager and VPN, and restoration services with 24/7 support. Like Aura, Complete ID’s monitoring services are less extensive than IdentityForce, but the essentials are covered. 

Couple and family plans come at an even lower cost per person. For example, the cost for two adults is $15.99 per month (less than the cost of individual plans from many similar services). If you’re a Costco member seeking credit monitoring with identity theft protection, give Complete ID a look.

How can I monitor my credit score?

You can play an active role in monitoring your credit score by frequently checking your credit report. While normally you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus, you can request a free credit report from each bureau each week until the end of 2023. 

You can also access a free credit score through various sources, most likely through a financial institution that you use such as a credit card or a bank. While this information won’t allow you to check for specific inaccuracies in your credit report, a sudden change in your score will signal that you may need to check on your credit file.

The problem with this strategy is the time gap between when something happens to your credit and when you are notified. Additionally, if you’re relying on your credit score to indicate any problems, you’ll only know about an issue after the fact. Credit monitoring services can close this gap. 

Should you pay for credit monitoring?

Monitoring your credit is a strong financial practice akin to balancing your checkbook and examining credit card statements. As shown with some of our top choices above, you can do it effectively on your own at no cost. Free services like Credit Karma and CreditWise provide the information you need to detect something amiss on your credit file, so long as you’re paying attention. If you have no acute concerns about the security of your personal information, that level of monitoring should suffice.

Paying for credit monitoring (along with additional monitoring and identity theft protection) is more attractive if your personal data has been compromised before. The odds of illicit activity on your credit file are higher in that case, so the cost of more comprehensive protection is easier to justify. Paid services are also a good fit if digging into your credit regularly sounds like too much of a hassle.

If you’re not sure what level of protection you want, start with a free service to get acquainted with your credit report and see whether it suits your monitoring needs. If you find the free services lacking, you can always upgrade.

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