Credit checks are not only important when you consider opening a new credit card. You may also want to check your credit score if you are in the market for a new home or vehicle, or because your identity has not been stolen. Please note that viewing your credit score does not affect your credit.
If you haven't checked your credit score in the past, start with a known company like Experian and Credit Karma (full list below). There are several that offer a range of services at different price points, including a free online check and free 30-day trial. Keep in mind that some companies need your credit card information, but they usually provide additional services, such as identity theft insurance, and abuse of suspicious use of your social security number.
So how does a credit score work? Everyone starts with a FICO score, which is your credit rating number that can range from 300 to 850. The higher the number the better. Some factors that affect your FICO score include "hard requests" such as applying for credit (your credit is under review); "derogatory rating" like paying an invoice late (these can keep your score down); and how much of your total credit you use (the less you use the better). You get a FICO score from the three major US credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This is how these services look down.
- Free 30-day trial
- Price: $ 20 per month
- Offers tools that help increase your credit score  Includes Identity Theft Monitoring
- Saying It Will Deal With Fraud If Your Identity or Personal Information Is Stolen
- Showing Your FICO Points For All Three Agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax)  Monitoring Your Credit
Experian (or download the app for iOS or Android) is one of the major credit monitoring services that offer your FICO points for the three agencies. Experian can help you increase your FICO score by using utility bills that you already pay to apply for your credit. Your new credit points will immediately enter into force.
The company monitors identity theft and conducts daily scans ofpages to discover if your information has been stolen. If something is discovered, Experian says its support team helps.
- $ 25 per month
- Includes free identity protection
- Unlimited points and report access
- Credit Lock Plus
- Up to $ 1,000,000 in ID theft insurance
Even among the three largest credit monitoring services are TransUnion (or download the app for iOS or Android). With TransUnion you can check your credit score report as often as you want to see if your score has changed.
Identity protection is part of Javelin, an identity protection service provider. Your monthly fee includes credit monitoring, immediate alerts if someone applies for credit in your name and up to $ 1,000,000 in ID theft insurance. TransUnion Credit Lock is a service that keeps your credit profile on lockdown until you unseal it. For example, if a criminal applies for credit in your name, the lock will prevent them from stealing your credit information.
- $ 5 for a 30-day trial
- $ 20 per month
- Showing your 3-Bureau FICO points
- Includes identity protection
- Sending suspicious activity alerts
- Monitoring Credit and Social Security Numbers
The third US headquarters, Equifax (or downloading the iOS app) suffered one of the worst data violations in 2017 affecting. Equifax has a three-year plan to .
If you feel forgiven, Equifax's services are on a par with your competitors. It provides a copy of your Equifax credit report and monitors your credit and social security numbers by scanning websites where consumer information has been sold. Equifax also sends out suspicious activity alerts, such as someone applying for credit in your name across the country. . “/>
Equifax monitors your credit and social security number.
Screenshot of Katie Conner / CBS Interactive