Credit tracking websites are a convenient way to keep your FICA score and personal identity safe.
Easy to use websites help you monitor your credit score by getting regular reports and emails regarding changes to your score.
They are safe and most of them offer a free report if you know how to do it and where to look.
Why should I do it?
Why not? As the consumer it doesn’t hurt you to pull your own credit score and it gives you the opportunity to see exactly what comes up under your personal information.
I recommend checking the report at least once a year and if possible right before large purchases. If you plan to finance something, the financer will use your FICA score to determine how other companies rate you as a buyer. They will then set an interest rate for you based on that score.
Identity theft won’t happen to me!
About three years ago I was a victim of identity theft. I was signed up, through a credit card, to receive alerts and thankfully I was able to catch the fraud before anything too bad happened.
The email alerted me that ten separate credit card requests had been made in the same day. I worked with the credit report monitoring representatives to cancel the requests and safeguard my identity. So the total balance that would have been available on those cards was $75,000.
This was more than two years salary at the time. Most credit reporting websites offer membership plans ranging from $10-$40 a month and offer automatic email alerts in case any changes are posted to your report. These changes can be ones that you yourself have made or attacks to steal your identity.
What if I don’t want to subscribe?
I still recommend taking advantage of the many sites offering free 30 day trial offers. Sites like Free Credit Report and Free Credit Report 360 are trusted and reliable credit reporting sites that allow you to try before you buy.
These sites allow you to see your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies for 30 days free of charge.
You do have to enter credit card information but you won’t be charged until after the 30 day trial. This initial sign up does not require a contract so you can cancel at anytime.
If you just want a one time free report sign up on one of these sites and then call to cancel a week later. Your credit card won’t be charged and you’ll be able to access your report online for the remainder of the 30 days.
If you suspect you are a victim of fraud sites like Consumer Direct can help you take the steps to restore your identity and save money. (You can find the links below)
What can I do with my credit report?
I can already hear you asking, “What the point of having this score is.” Well, if you have a fantastic credit score ranging from 790-800s then you have little to worry about; you can shop with confidence knowing that retailers think of you as an ideal consumer.
If your score is less than ideal you can target the areas that are lowering your score. The credit reporting sites offer feedback about your score explaining some of the reasons you scored so low or high.
By improving these areas your score will go up and interest rates in the future will be lower.