Compare the best credit tracking apps, credit score monitoring and identity theft protection services. Compare free credit score tracking sites vs paid credit monitoring and identity theft protection subscriptions.




1. Real time monitoring and alerts
2. Manage your credit and loans in one place


Experian Free Credit Report


1. Get your Experian credit report completely FREE -- no credit card required
2. See a refreshed copy of your report every 30 days


Credit Karma


1. Easy to read credit reports
2. Personalized score insights

Lending Tree 165



1. Zero upfront fees.
2. Access to Lending tree's resources are free
3. Individuals with poor credit can still apply for loans


Experian 3 Bureau Report



1. Check the accuracy of your 3-bureau credit reports and FICO® Scores now
2. One-time charge of $39.95 ($20 off!)




1. Unlimited updates to your TransUnion credit score and report
2. Daily monitoring of all 3 credit reports
3. Email alerts of any critical changes to your reports
4. At the end of your 7-day trial, you will be billed at the low cost of only $19.95 per month (plus tax for NY and PA residents).


Experian Credit Monitoring



1. Get your FICO® Score and Experian credit report for $1 with enrollment in Experian CreditWorksSM.
2. Try Experian Credit Monitoring for 7 days
3. The offer begins as a 7-day, $1 trial and then the offer becomes a monthly membership of $21.95


myFICO Identity Ultimate 3B



1. See your 3-bureau credit report and FICO® Scores
2. Includes the FICO® Scores most widely used in mortgage, auto and credit card lending
3. $1 million identity theft insurance that will reimburse you for covered expenses associated with restoring your identity. (Only applies to myFICO subscription plans that include a $1 million identity insurance policy)

Do you need a credit tracking service?

Everybody should take advantage of free credit score tracking. Consider a paid credit tracking service if you’re actively rebuilding your credit score, you’re personal information has been compromised, or you’re going to apply for a mortgage or auto loan in the next year.

Paid credit tracking services provide real-time alerts to changes in your credit reports and monthly updates to your credit scores. Over time, this will help you learn how behaviors — such as reducing your credit card debt or applying for new credit — actually impact your credit scores.

Free vs paid credit score tracking

If you just want to review your credit reports for accuracy or get an estimate of your credit score, you can do both for free at any time.

Several services — CreditWiseCreditSesame, Credit Karma and Experian Free — provide free insight into your credit report and also track your credit score(s). Some, like CreditSesame, even offer a modest amount of identity theft protection for free (although paid upgrades are available).

If you just want to quickly review what’s on your credit report, these sites will do. If you want regular access to your information that’s supported by customer service, consider purchasing a paid credit monitoring service.

Do you need identity theft protection?

An identity theft protection subscription is best if your personal data (for example, your Social Security number) has been compromised or you believe you’re at higher risk of becoming an identity theft victim.

Every year, about nine million Americans become victims of identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Whether an ID thief steals your credit card or checkbook or gets your identity from an online phishing scheme, it can take years to repair the damage to your credit profile.

Without ID theft protection, if your identity is stolen, you’re faced to deal with the consequences on your own. That can mean years of time spent on paperwork and phone calls, damaged credit, and mounting bills. With identity theft protection, somebody else handles all that for you which can get your life back on track faster and save lots of aggravation.

Some identity theft protection services will even reimburse for money that criminals steal from your financial accounts.

Not everybody needs identity theft protection, but you can think of a subscription like insurance — you hope you never need it, but if you do, you’ll be quite glad you have it.


Monitoring with Experian begins within 48 hours of enrollment in your trial. Monitoring with Equifax® and TransUnion® takes approximately 4 days to begin, though in some cases cannot be initiated during your trial period. You may cancel your trial membership anytime within 9 days of enrollment without charge. *Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn More.

About the author

Total Articles: 84
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.