Internet, Networking, & Security Cloud Services Best Credit Monitoring Services Keep track of your credit report by Jessica Strull Updated on March 19, 2021 Tweet Share Email Cloud Services Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Family Tech Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Akapong Osotsil / EyeEm / Getty Images Credit monitoring is a subscription-based service that alerts you to any possible suspicious activity online. Suspicious activity can be anything linked to your identity, generally including your name and Social Security number. Any suspicious activity, especially any changes to your credit report, can signal that fraud or identity theft is happening. The best credit monitoring services include credit bureau monitoring and identity theft insurance to help pay for experts and lawyers needed to set things straight. Many of them also have extra features to help prevent identity theft. All of our top selections have easy-to-use websites and offer a mobile app to help keep your identity safe. The Rundown Best Overall: LifeLock Best for Identity Theft Protection: Zander Best Free Service: CreditWise by Capital One Best for Extra Features: IdentityForce Best for Families: IdentityWorks by Experian Best for Security Features: IdentityGuard Best Overall: LifeLock LifeLock Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: We choose LifeLock for its variety of plans, robust security features, and ease of use. They offer a free trial, money-back guarantee, and have an excellent reputation for their outstanding customer service. What We Like 24/7 phone and chat support Dark web monitoring Sex offender registry reports What We Don't Like Expensive plans compared to other services Doesn’t offer credit repair services Only top-tier plan monitors all three credit bureaus LifeLock is a comprehensive identity theft and credit monitoring service. Founded in 2005, Symantec acquired LifeLock in 2017 and changed its name to NortonLifeLock in 2019. It has become a leader in the identity protection industry, and in 2007, one of the co-creators, Todd Davis, even put his real Social Security number on billboards and ad campaigns to show his confidence in the company. LifeLock offers four different individual plan levels (Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus) that range from $11.99 per month to $34.99 per month and three family plans (Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus). The family plans cover two adults and five children under the age of 18. The family plans range from $38.99 per month to $81.99 per month. LifeLock offers a 30-day free trial on all monthly plans, as well as a 25% discount on annual plans. The annual plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service. With all plan levels, you receive identity and Social Security number alerts, credit monitoring at Equifax, at least $25,000 in stolen funds reimbursement, at least $25,000 in personal expense compensation, and up to $1,000,000 coverage for lawyers and experts in case of an identity theft event. Other benefits in every plan include U.S.-based identity restoration specialists, 24/7 live member support, stolen wallet protection, dark web motoring, and data breach notifications. Only the Ultimate Plus plan monitors all three credit bureaus, while the other plans monitor Equifax only. You can see a full list of benefits if you want more information. Best for Identity Theft Protection: Zander Zander Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: Zander Insurance ID Theft Solutions is a cost-effective way to monitor for any potential identity theft event. What We Like Simple, low-cost plans Flexible family plans to cover different family types Assigned recovery specialist in case of identity theft What We Don't Like No free trial for services Does not offer credit monitoring Computer security tools not offered Zander Insurance ID Theft Solutions is a member of the Zander Insurance family. They have been in the insurance business since the 1920s. Zander identity theft has a team of certified recovery specialists waiting to help those who experience identity theft. While no system can 100% guarantee to stop identity theft, Zander provides proactive monitoring of your personal information. They will alert you if there are any changes or any unusual activity. Zander protects all types of identity theft. They cover financial, medical ID, tax, criminal, Social Security, child ID, and employment fraud. These alerts help you reduce the risk of becoming an identity theft victim. However, Zander does not monitor all three credit bureaus. They believe that by watching all the other information, they will stop any potential credit report fraud. If one of the alerts does look suspicious, you can contact Zander by phone 24/7. Zander’s subscription plans are quite simple. You can choose the individual plan for $6.75 per month or $75.00 per year to cover just one person. Or you can choose the family plan at only $12.90 per month or $145.00 per year and pick who has coverage. The family plan has coverage options for two adults, one adult and up to 10 dependents, or two adults and up to 10 dependents. Zander defines dependents as either unmarried children under the age of 26 who reside in the primary address or children under the age of 26 who are full-time students. If you want to cover more than just yourself, the family plan is your best choice. Best Free Service: CreditWise by Capital One CreditWise Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: CreditWise from Capital One is a free service meant to help you improve your understanding of your credit score and help monitor your credit information. Anyone can sign up; no relationship with Capital One is needed. What We Like Will not impact your credit score Monitors two credit bureaus, for free Credit simulator to help make better credit decisions What We Don't Like No paid upgrade option Updates credit score only once a week No customer service help in the event of ID theft CreditWise from Capital One is a completely free way to monitor your credit score and help prevent identity theft. You do not have to have an existing relationship with Capital One to take advantage of this program, and you can sign up quickly on their website without entering in a credit card number. CreditWise from Capital One will help educate you on the key factors that either negatively or positively impact your credit score. It monitors the TransUnion and Experian credit bureaus and alerts you to any usual activity through email or notification on the mobile app as well as your Social Security number for any new applications or uses. CreditWise from Capital One also scans the dark web to ensure your Social Security number or any other private information isn’t for sale. A unique feature that CreditWise from Capital One provides is its Credit Simulator. This allows you to estimate what effect different credit scenarios will have on your credit score. For example, if you want to make a large payment on one of your cards, if you apply for a loan, or allow your accounts to become delinquent. The credit simulator will show you the potential impact each action will have on your credit score, helping you to make better financial decisions. Best for Extra Features: IdentityForce IdentityForce Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: IdentityForce starts with a 30-day free trial before you commit to their monthly subscriptions. They offer two plans, UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit, and both plans are available for both individuals and families. What We Like Resource page for both personal and business protection Two months free on any annual plan Unlimited children allowed on family plan What We Don't Like Only two plans offered No refund if you pay annually and don’t use the whole year Does not offer member assistance through chat IdentityForce, a Sontiq brand, is a leader in digital identity protection and resolution. Founded in 1989, they currently hold a 100% recovery success rate in stolen identity-related events and they boast a 95% member satisfaction rate with a 24/7 customer service line with agents speaking multiple languages. Though they offer only two plans, UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit, IdentityForce provides a lot of features, including junk mail opt-out, court records monitoring, dark web data analysis, and deceased family member fraud remediation. Payday loan monitoring, sex offender monitoring, investment account alerts, credit freeze, credit report fraud assistance, mobile attack control, and monitoring at all three credit bureaus are also included. Another great feature that IdentityForce offers is a special after-hours phone number that they provide to their members who are confirmed victims of identity theft. This number gives members access to their expertly trained Identity Restoration Specialists to help them get their identity restored as quickly as possible. Prices range from $17.99 per month to $35.90 per month for all plans. If you pay for a year at once, you get two free months. Best for Families: IdentityWorks by Experian Experian Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: IdentityWorks by Experian offers each of their most popular plans for families and prices them based on how many adults would be on the plan. What We Like Customizable family plans to fit your family 30-day free trial for monthly memberships Members can lock and unlock their credit report with Experian What We Don't Like Customer service isn’t 24 hours a day Two levels of plans Lower plan only has $500,000 identity theft insurance IdentityWorks by Experian offers two family plans, allowing you to choose from having one adult and up to 10 children covered or two adults and 10 children covered. With flexible plans, it's a relief to parents not to have to pay for more coverage than they need. The two plans, IdentityWorks Plus and Premium, range from $9.99 for the basic individual plan to $29.99 for the premium plan for two-adult families. Members can save 17% by paying annually for their plan. The Plus plan monitors Experian only, but the Premium plan does include monitoring at all three credit bureaus. IdentityWorks customer service is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Among other features, IdentityWorks by Experian offers dark web surveillance, lost wallet assistance, and the ability to lock and unlock your Experian credit file on both plans. Upgrading to Premium also gives you sex offender registry alerts, informing you if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood, and social network monitoring, which monitors social media for any personal information. Best for Security Features: IdentityGuard IdentityGuard Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: IdentityGuard provides identity theft and credit monitoring with the extra security feature, Safe Browsing, which is a tool to help you avoid online scams while banking, shopping, or paying bills online on your computer and your smartphone. What We Like Uses IBM Watson AI to monitor information U.S.-based customer service team Safe browsing tools What We Don't Like Provides credit reports on an annual basis only Does not provide specific computer tools No trial period IdentityGuard was founded in 2001 by Intersections, Inc., and is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. To date, they have protected more than 47 million identities. They have three plan levels: Value, Total, and Ultra. Only the Total and Ultra tiers offer credit monitoring at all three credit bureaus and provide monthly credit score updates, while the Value plan does not provide credit monitoring at all. The plans range from $8.99 per month to $29.99 per month, and IdentityGuard offers a 17% discount if you pay annually. One of the best features that IdentityGuard provides is tools for safe browsing. These tools can be used on a computer and a smartphone to provide extra security when using sensitive information online, like your address or credit card number. This makes paying your bills, shopping, and banking online much safer and keeps your data from being hacked. They offer a U.S.-based customer service team that is open for limited hours. Monday through Friday 8 a.m.–11 p.m. ET and Saturday 9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET. They are closed Sunday. The alerts for unusual activity, delivered through email or app notifications, let you click on “unrecognized,” which lets IdentityGuard know to take action on it. Conclusion While there isn't a credit monitoring service that can 100% guarantee that you will not be the victim of identity theft, they can help you catch suspicious activity quicker. You will have the experience and dedication of a support team behind you to help you recover your identity if a theft does occur. Picking the right credit monitoring service for you is an important step to securing your financial future. When picking a credit monitoring service, make sure you look at all features and costs, as well as how accessible the customer service is and if there’s a mobile app offered. All of the choices on our list are good, but we picked LifeLock as our best overall choice because of its prices, reputation, and credit monitoring and identity theft features offered. Based on your needs, you might want to pick one of the other companies, though. Note that most plans cover at least one credit monitoring service except Zander, and the majority of plans offer 24/7 customer service either by phone and/or chat except for IdentityWorks and IdentityGuard, which have limited phone support hours. Compare Providers Company Why We Picked It Cost per Month LifeLock You’ll receive proven identity theft protection, excellent customer service, and competitive rates for a plan that fits your situation $11.99-$81.99 Zander You’ll receive excellent identity theft protection for an affordable price $6.75-$12.90 CreditWise by Capital One You’ll receive free credit monitoring and an excellent way to stay on top of your credit health Free IdentityForce You'll receive a plethora of unique features for a competitive price $17.99-$35.90 IdentityWorks by Experian You’ll receive a family plan that fits your unique situation so you aren’t paying for features you won’t use $9.99-$29.99 IdentityGuard You’ll get the best security features to shop online, pay bills, and bank online safely $8.99-$39.99 FAQs What Is Credit Monitoring? Credit monitoring is a subscription service that alerts you to any unusual activity on your credit report and makes you aware of any potential identity threat. Many companies will go beyond monitoring your credit reports, look at the dark web for any of your personal information and account numbers, monitor court records, help with lost or stolen wallets, and even provide identity theft insurance to pay you back for any expenses incurred while fighting a theft. How Does a Credit Monitoring Service Work? In general, most credit monitoring services utilize AI (artificial intelligence) to scan the internet, online court records, online banking information, and the dark web to see if your name, Social Security number, or account information is located or being used where it shouldn't be. The monitoring system then alerts you and helps you let the credit monitoring software take action against any potential threat if needed. Why Should I Use a Credit Monitoring Service? Credit monitoring services should, ideally, be used by everyone. While you can monitor your credit report for unusual activity, most people do not have the time and resources to keep tabs on every piece of information. Credit monitoring services can provide this ongoing, consistent attention on your behalf. It may also benefit you if you have already been the victim of identity theft or are at high risk due to your Social Security number being disclosed through a known data breach or if you have ever lost your Social Security card. A credit monitoring service could also benefit you if you know you are not the type of person to monitor your credit reports independently. If someone is to steal your identity, the repercussions can be catastrophic and take months of your time and money to restore your name and credit. A credit monitoring service is one form of prevention that can help you avoid these issues by notifying you before it becomes a problem. Will a Credit Monitoring Service Protect Me From Identity Theft? Credit monitoring services cannot 100% guarantee that they can prevent identity theft, and be careful with any company that makes that claim. What a credit monitoring service will do, though, is scan through all available online records, accounts, and the dark web to see if your account or personal information is for sale or is being used in places it shouldn't be. They will alert you and you will be able to take steps earlier to stop any further identity theft or damage to your credit report. How We Choose the Best Credit Monitoring Services To compile this list, we looked at 16 different credit monitoring companies. We took into consideration price, the credit bureaus they monitor, features/add-ons, and their customer service. We reviewed how easy it was to file a claim if you had one, and if the company provided its members with identity theft insurance (except for the free services because none of them did). We also looked at how a user would interact with the company. Lastly, to narrow down the choices, we compared the features with the monthly/annual prices to see which companies provided the most “bang for your buck.” All of the providers chosen offered easy-to-use websites and mobile apps available for both Apple and Android users, a long list of features, identity theft insurance, and were cost-effective. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day Email Address Sign up There was an error. Please try again. You're in! Thanks for signing up. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you for signing up. Tell us why! 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