Estimated Monthly Savings: $25
There’s no denying the fact that credit monitoring can have a two-pronged effect on your finances. Not only will having a good credit score enable you to do more and get better deals financially but catching signs of possible identity theft early will save you tons in the long run.
This, of course, is why you see so many commercials and ads for companies willing to monitor your credit for you for a fee — the thought of identity theft is a scary prospect! Do you really need to pay someone to monitor your credit for you, though? The answer is: No!
There are several tools at your disposal that allow you to monitor your credit and finances yourself — for free — that not only don’t sell your information to third parties but also allow you to take a hands-on approach to ensuring the health of your finances.
Get your annual credit report.
A free, annual credit report is available for everyone from AnnualCreditReport.com, which will allow you to get an in-depth snapshot of your credit history, and enable you to take actions to fix anything that’s not the way it should be.
Check with your bank or credit card companies.
These companies and institutions will often offer you free tools and alerts that will allow you to get notifications when certain transactions happen or changes occur to your accounts. You often have the ability to set specific guidelines for what kind of alerts happen and when, or could even just take advantage of regular update alerts that let you keep an eye on things.
Some companies also partner with actual credit monitoring sites and offer that as part of being a customer with them, so it’s worth looking into.
Free credit score sites with good reputations.
Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are both good examples of these kinds of websites — they’re free, they don’t sell your information, and they offer recommendations, advice, and help from financial experts if you’re struggling or could use a little help with your credit situation. They usually will give you a monthly report or a heads-up when your score changes, but you can also log in as often as you would like and get a run-down of how things look. This is a very hands-on approach to monitoring your credit and is a great way to stay on top of things.
If you find the idea of monitoring your own credit time-consuming or daunting, consider how many times you check your phone, social media, or email a day. Most of these services offer an app or simple texts alerts, which only take a few seconds or a couple of minutes to check! With all the time you spend connected to your devices and the internet a day, just think of how much money you could save yourself if you used a couple of minutes of that for doing your own credit monitoring.
After all, you’d still have to check the alerts a paid credit monitoring company would send you, wouldn’t you?