Having the right credit monitoring service can be the number one, best weapon in your arsenal for improving your credit score. I mean, seriously, how amazing is it that you can pay a little bit of money every month and get emails every time something changes on your credit report?!
So, what is a credit monitoring service. What credit monitoring does is check credit reports for any added information, deleted info, or changed info. So basically, anytime something changes, you get notified. The service also typically gives you quick access to your credit report and credit history from all the credit bureaus (all three to be precise).
Also, besides the monitoring elements, you’ll get to take a look at your credit score on a continual basis. Additionally, you can subscribe to see your FICO score from the service. The FICO score is probably the most important score out there… It’s used to determine your approval for a loan, mortgage or a credit card.
After you start fixing your credit history with the credit monitoring service, you’ll be able to get new credit score updates – usually once per month. All you have to do is hit a button and it’ll recalculate it for you.
This can have a huge effect on your score because you’ll be able to instantly see whether what your doing or not is working. Occasionally, you’ll see some of the credit monitoring services offer tools that will tell you what effect on your credit certain actions you take might have on your rating. For instance, applying for a mortgage or paying off a credit card. This feature alone can be very beneficial in fixing your credit score.
When you start to dive into fixing your credit reports, you’ll quickly be able to see the differences in your three bureau’s credit reports. Since each of the credit bureaus keeps their own client database, there will most definitely be differences on all of them! Yep – your credit reports aren’t even standardized! Better yet, different banks and lenders check different reports… So if two out of your three reports are pretty clean, and your mortgage is checked against the one that’s not, you’re in a bit of hot water!
The fact that each of the different credit bureaus has separate information really reinforces the fact that you should have a copy of all three credit reports on a fairly consistent basis. Unfortunately, you won’t know which credit agency your lender will check!
A good credit monitoring service does something called alerting. Alerting is a feature that I was talking about that will email notices of any changes that should happen on your credit report. These can be good and bad alerts – but alerts none the same.
Most services allow you to monitor changes from all three credit bureaus which can be a great way to protect identity theft and watch your FICO score. Also, if you’re looking to get a mortgage loan or an automobile loan, you are going to need to know if anything changes on your credit report in advance of submitting the paperwork to the bank.
Additionally, quite a few of the credit monitoring services have Identity Theft insurance. Depending on the monitoring service, if someone steals your identity you can receive up to $25K or $50K in damage coverage. That is an awesome feature! Especially with all the unease of shopping online.
In a nutshell, a good credit monitoring service will let you watch your credit reports at the 3 major credit agencies. You can also see your individual credit score with the agencies and your overall FICO score. Then, you can set up alerts and ID theft coverage to further protect your credit history and credit score.
I’ve been using a credit monitoring service for quite some time and I can’t speak highly enough about it. I would have to say that the service alone is the reason I was able to build my (terrible) score of 610 up to a 740 – making me able to buy my first house! I can’t recommend having one enough!