Do I Need a Credit Monitoring Service?

I always consider myself pretty good at managing my own credit. Then last week, I had this idea of getting a credit monitoring service. The reason is because of some recent activities in my credit that could have a negative impact on my score.

First in June, when I got my current job, I signed an agreement with my employer that authorizes them to check my credit. Then late last month, we made an offer to rent a private apartment. Part of the application was to check our credit history to see if we qualify. When we were told by our agent that our application was rejected, it really caught us off guard. It turned out that it wasn’t because of our credit, but there was another applicant who submitted their application on the same day bu can move 2 weeks earlier than we do. I was very upset by this because there was no way we can get the apartment (the owner has said to me he doesn’t want to lose any rent) but the owner checked our credit anyway. Then we tried to get a townhouse from a private owner. Our offer was accepted, but once we got the lease, we determined it wasn’t the contract we wanted to sign. That’s another credit check. Finally, last week we decided to get a managed apartment instead. We got it without any problem as I expected, as the expense of yet another credit check, though only my file was pulled.

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So in less than two months, there were four credit inquiries on my file, which has never happened to me before. I wonder how much damage these inquiries can do on my credit score, though the last three happened in a rather short period of time. Thus, the idea of getting a credit monitor occurred to me. However, I am not sure whether it’s worth the money or not because I think I have done a pretty good job in managing stuff myself. Though I don’t and never had a credit monitor, I have been getting credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com every four months for years to keep an eye on things. In addition, I also use Credit Karma to monitor my FAKO score for free. And whenever there is a chance, I try to get a FICO score for free, on top of occasional purchases I made myself. But these recent activities just worry me a bit when my score is finally getting close to 800.

I posted my question on Twitter and got a few responses, all quite negative on the idea:

@mapgirlsfc I use credit monitoring. Good for measuring score improvement efforts & loan shopping. Otherwise, pointless. It’s not worth the money unless you are trying to secure another loan and need to know how good your score is/improve it.

@dolans credit monitoring: only worth it if you don’t have time and discipline to do it yourself.

@indexcreditcard IMO you will spend more on credit monitoring than you will ever lose from identity theft or credit report inaccuracies.

I haven’t decided whether to get one or not, but I checked a few services and found two that are quite interesting. One is the myFICO Credit Watch. It has a free 30-day trial, then an annual subscription fee of $89.95 ($7.50/month). With Credit Watch, I can get FICO score and Equifax credit report. The other one is Costco Total Protection with 3 credit bureau monitoring and 3-in-1 credit report with score. The monthly subscription fee is $9.99 for Executive Member.

Are you using any credit monitoring service? Do you think it’s worth it?

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This post was written by Sun You can find out more about Sun and his activities on Facebook , or follow him on Twitter .

One Response to “Do I Need a Credit Monitoring Service?”

  1. Frank |  Aug 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve only been following your blog for couple of weeks. I like it. I too am changing my ways with money.

    Protecting your identity is a necessity today. Yes, your credit is vulnerable, but so are many other areas of your life. You need to protect yourself from all forms of identity theft. Medical and Criminal identity theft is growing at an extremely rapid rate.

    Take a look at zanderins.com and their Identity Theft protection. It’s complete protection and the best part is if your identity is stolen they fix it.

    Thank you and I wish you continued success!