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Credit Monitoring Products: Taking Charge of Your Credit with Credit Monitoring
By Peter Schoenrock
The fact is, keeping an eye on what’s in your credit report and knowing your credit score could save you money. A better credit score could get you better interest rates and make a big difference in the amount of your loan payments.
Your credit score is based on the information contained within your credit report, so keeping track of what’s happening with your credit and how your credit behavior impacts your credit score is important. Credit monitoring is one way to stay on top of what’s happening with your credit-and protect your identity.
Credit monitoring products enable consumers to track and protect their credit and identity by monitoring at least one, but often times all three, of their nationwide credit reports and alerting them of key changes to the information in their credit files throughout the year.
How Credit Monitoring Helps You Understand, Track and Protect Your Credit:
- Identify fraud quickly. Identity theft and fraud can drop your credit score like a rock. You can check your credit report every few months for accounts and activity you didn’t initiate, but credit monitoring will help you quickly identify any unauthorized changes to your credit report. And the sooner you can identify fraud on your credit report, the easier it will be to get started on the path to restoring your identity.
- Understand how your credit behavior can impact your credit score. There’s a lot of discussion over what is the “right” credit score. The score is a reflection of the data collected in your credit report, translated into numerical form. Generally speaking, if your score has been steadily rising over time, creditors will look at you much more favorably than if you dropped say 75 points in the last year. By seeing how your credit behavior can affect your credit score, you can work to change your behaviors. Some credit monitoring products like Equifax Complete include features like the Interactive Score Simulator to show you how your actions may change your score.
- Understand how lenders and creditors view you. If you’re looking to buy a new house, you prepare for the purchase: you research neighborhoods and check out the schools; you hire an inspector to look at your potential home. Your preparation should also include looking into and understanding your credit score. You’ll want to understand how lenders and brokers will see you and get a sense of what kind of rates you’ll qualify for, as well as what price range you should consider. And if you know your credit score does not meet the lenders requirements ahead of time, you can focus your time and efforts on raising your score before you make a major purchase. A higher credit score can get you a better interest rate.
- Access to free, exclusive and/or customizable features. There are many credit monitoring products on the market. Price should not be the greatest determining factor. Make sure that the credit-monitoring product you choose provides the features you need. Some products will send alerts to your wireless phone and some even offer identity theft insurance. However, you need to assess your financial goals and determine what features you need to best take control of your credit. For example, Equifax Complete not only includes monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files, but it also has a feature exclusive to Equifax, Automatic Fraud Alerts. This feature will renew your Equifax initial 90 day fraud alert request automatically every 90 days, free of charge.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.