In our last chapter, we gave you an in-depth overview of debt management. We discussed many of the complexities of debt management including budgeting, saving money, and debt repayment. You should now have a strong idea of how to do all of these things.
But having a debt free life is about more than managing your money well. It is also about managing your credit well. And to manage your credit well, you first need to have an idea of what your credit score is and what your credit report looks like.
As discussed in Chapter 4: Getting, Reading, & Understanding Your Credit Report, requesting your free annual credit report is a great way to do this. If you are deep in debt, however, this is often not enough.
For those struggling with debt or poor credit, credit monitoring is one of the best ways to keep on top of your overall credit health. This is why we focus on credit monitoring in this chapter.
Below you will find information on the best ways to monitor your credit score along with a discussion of the very best credit monitoring services to help you accomplish this task.
The Importance of Credit Monitoring
It is naturally much harder to stay on top of a task if you do not know why it is important for you to do so. This is why it is so essential to understand the importance of credit monitoring.
As briefly mentioned above, credit monitoring is the key to staying on top of your credit health. It is one of the only ways to know what your credit score is at all times and why it is that way. It can help you pinpoint problems with your spending and finances so you can make amends that will benefit your credit score.
Maintaining a high credit score is important for so many reasons. First of all, it is a sign you have solid money management skills and that you are financially “okay.” Most people suffering from poor credit do so because they cannot handle their money responsibly.
Banks, credit card companies, and other organizations take notice of your score for the same reason. They want to know that you are able to manage your money and credit responsibly before loaning money to you.
A high credit score means you have accomplished this in the past which means they will be more likely to extend a loan your way. (Credit.com)
How to Monitor Your Credit
You have two main options when it comes to credit monitoring. The first is, of course, doing it yourself. The second is hiring a credit monitoring company to do it for you.
Right off the bat, it is important to point out the reasons for hiring a credit monitoring service is slightly different than those discussed above.
Credit monitoring services monitor your score and send detailed reports back to you on a regular basis. If you are worried about your credit or have had trouble maintaining it in the past, this is reason alone to hire a credit monitoring service.
But for many people, the real benefit of a credit monitoring service is their ability to stop credit fraud in its tracks and prevent credit errors from taking place.
The primary mission of these organizations is to protect their customers from credit fraud, such as a thief running up charges on your credit card. If you do not catch the thief early on, it will be much more difficult to get your money back.
When it comes to DIY (do it yourself) credit monitoring, the main thing you can do is check your credit report regularly. The specifics of this are discussed in Chapter 4 and the action can be done up to three times per year for free.
DIY credit monitoring should also consist of checking your bank and credit card statements frequently. Going through them with a fine-toothed comb on a monthly basis is a surefire way to stop identity theft in its tracks.
And remember: whichever of the two options you choose, you should always place safety first. Make sure to protect sensitive information online and shred any print documents with important information on them.
Protecting yourself from credit fraud is all about common sense. (WallStreetJournal.com)
The Best Credit Monitoring Services
Using a credit monitoring service is a personal choice. If their services align with your goals, then it can be a very beneficial relationship to pursue.
However, it is important not to just choose any old credit monitoring service. You want to choose the absolute best one for you.
The most important characteristic to look for in a credit monitoring service is the amount of coverage they provide. Depending on your specific needs and goals, you will require a different amount of coverage than someone else. For most people, however, the basic package offered by most companies is more than enough.
Another factor to keep in mind is reliability. Whenever you select any company in the debt or credit industry, it is important to make sure they are reputable.
Checking online reviews, going with a trusted and popular agency, and looking them up on the BetterBusinessBureau.org are all excellent ways to make sure a company is who they say they are.
At Project Debt Relief, we want to make sure that you receive the best credit monitoring possible. That is why we have taken the time to break down several of the top agencies. A few of our favorites include:
- TrustedID – TrustedID is one of the best credit monitoring services around. Well-known for their TrustedID IDEssentials, they offer the very best in identity theft protection and personal information management.
- Equifax – One of the major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax is naturally a great go-to for credit monitoring. Their on-the-go mobile app for credit monitoring is one of the highlights of this organization’s service.
- Identity Guard – With Identity Guard, the name says it all. They are a reputable company, focused on keeping your finances safe and sound.(Creditcards.com)
There is little denying that credit monitoring is extremely beneficial. The information above will help you select the absolute best credit monitoring service or monitor your credit score and credit report yourself.
In our next chapter, we will discuss debt relief. For many of those in debt, the sheer number of relief options can be overwhelming. We break down the best options available to make things easier and simpler for you.
- Credit.com, “The Importance of Credit Monitoring”
- WallStreetJournal.com, “Monitoring Your Credit Score and Credit Report”
- CreditCards.com, “Credit Monitoring Services: Pros, Cons, and How to Pick One”