Over the past few decades, credit scores have become an ever more important part in life. Whether you need to take out private student loans, grab a credit card for groceries, buy a new car or even a home, credit scores are there and can either help you get a great rate, or shut the door on those purchases. Here, we will take a look at 5 of the best free (or almost free) credit score monitoring services available in 2017. Keep in mind that many of these are subscription based, so those that are 100% free will be marked as such and subscription terms will be listed as needed. So here we go, in reserve order the best free ways to view your credit score or monitor your credit score in 2017.
5. Free Score and More (Free Score, 30 Day Free Trial Monitoring)
Starting off our list of top five Credit Score and Monitoring options is the aptly named Free Score and More. As the name implies, with sign up, Free Score allows users to see their credit scores from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax upon sign up and for free. Subsequently, the site allows for a 30 day free monitoring trial, which allows for the observation of credit inquiries, as well as monitoring of potential fraud and the ability to dispute credit issues. They layout of the site is quite simple, which may leave some advanced users wanting for greater options and inquiries. That being said, for the average user it is a fine choice for a monitoring platform, and worth checking out for at least the free month. After that, the monthly charge is about $15 a month for continual monitoring.
4. LifeLock (Free Trial, Varies)
Probably one of the most well known credit monitoring platforms to make this list, LifeLock is a great service, but at a price. While it may be at times hard to find, coupon codes for free trials are available depending on the time of year and allow for very high quality monitoring and your standard 3 bureau scores. More important to many however, is LifeLock’s identity theft protections. These allow for email alerts for any changes to your credit score, including opening new lines of credit or claims against it, a team of identity specialists to help restore proper credibility, and daily checks of the three big bureaus. A nice feature for parents is the LifeLock Junior monitoring service, which can insure that your children are not the victims of identity theft, a good solution to the lingering problem of stealing the identity of children and infants for financial gain. While not free unless you find a trial code or link, at around $25 a month, if credit and identity theft is a major concern to you, this may be a great option.
3. Creditwise (Free for Capital One Account Holders and Public)
Creditwise is the first truly free service, being the first big credit supplier to allow for monitoring and credit score reporting. While it is a free service, it is aimed primarily at Capital One members, or applicants to Capital One card services, which does make sense. This doesn’t mean that non-card holders should feel obligated to get a card for the sake of getting all the benefits. Everyone can access tools such as the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0, and a truly great choice simulator. This simulator allows you to play out many potential financial events and see how it would affect your score. Should you put that $600 purchase on one card, and pay down another, or try to defer a month payment? Perhaps you want to see how cancelling a credit card you never use may affect your credit? Either way, Creditwise has the answer. Creditwise also features a great score summary, notifications to changes, and a history showing what has happened in your financial history and how it has affected your score. While not offering the big 3, Creditwise makes up for it in terms of free pricing and depth of service.
2. Identity Guard (Free Trials)
Making it to the runner up spot is yet another paid service, Identity Guard. While not as flashy as other sites in this article, Identity Guard does simplistic well, and allows for easy monitoring of credit data and scores. Much like LifeLock, Identity Guard does allow for $1Million in identity theft insurance in case something does go wrong, and allows for regular credit updates. Likewise, it offers unlimited toll free customer service in case you need to speak to someone regarding potential or current credit issues, and email alerts due to changes in credit status or applications. With multiple plans (ranging from under $10 a month to $23) which can also include features like lost wallet protections and a decent mobile app, Identity Guard’s free 30 day trials for monitoring may be a good thing to look into.
1. Credit Karma (Free)
Taking the number one spot for credit monitoring and scores for 2018 is Credit Karma. Credit Karma offers the ability to check your credit at a pretty frequent basis, allow for monitoring of potential negative marks against your credit and the ability to dispute them, as well as even allow for tax filings. However, this comes at a bit of a cost. While initially looking like a good thing, some consumers may be put off by Credit Karma’s ad system, which targets specific credit cards tailored to your credit score and information in an effort to increase your score and credit limits, while providing these firms another customer. There is also ample information about car and private loans available. However, these may in fact be useful to the user, and the monitoring alongside the large community and resource pooling it provides may be just what your credit needs for 2018.