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Credit Monitoring

The best credit monitoring services to help you spot fraud early

These services watch over your credit and other personal information.

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The cost of the services mentioned below are up-to-date at the time of publication.

Credit monitoring services can help protect your personal and financial information from hackers and identity theft.

They do this by watching over your credit, offering alerts, scanning the dark web for your information, keeping track of your public records and more.

To determine which credit monitoring services are the best, CNBC Select compared 12 services offering a variety of free and premium plans that provide different levels of credit protection. Free services generally come with limited coverage while premium services offer extensive protection. (See our methodology for more information on how we chose the best credit monitoring services.)

Best free credit monitoring services

Best paid credit monitoring services

Best free credit monitoring services

If you're not willing to pay money for a credit monitoring service, you can consider one of these free options. While there are many benefits to signing up for a free service, including regular credit score updates, you won't have access to triple-bureau credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, among other premium perks.

Best for VantageScore access

CreditWise® from Capital One

Information about CreditWise has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Capital One prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    TransUnion and Experian

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    No

Terms apply.

Who's this for? CreditWise from Capital One is a free credit monitoring service that doesn't require you to enter a credit card number to sign up and provides a great range of features. Plus, it's open to anyone — regardless of whether you're a Capital One cardholder.

Standout benefits: Unlike other free services, CreditWise offers dark web scanning and Social Security number tracking. As an added tool, you can use the credit score simulator to check the potential effect that certain actions, such as paying off debt or closing a credit card, may have on your credit score.

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Best for FICO Score access

Experian Dark Web Scan + Credit Monitoring

On Experian's secure site
  • Cost

    Free

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO®

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, one-time only

  • Identity insurance

    No

Terms apply.

Who's this for? Experian offers a free credit monitoring service that allows you to sign up without providing a credit card number. With this service, you'll receive real-time alerts about new inquiries and accounts opened in your name, changes to your personal information and suspicious activity detected on your Experian credit report.

Standout benefits: Experian offers a variety of helpful features that are similar to some you find in the premium Experian IdentityWorks plans (more below), making this a great no-cost alternative. Upon sign-up, you receive a one-time dark web surveillance report that searches over 600,000 web pages for your Social Security number, email or phone number. In addition to credit monitoring, you can take advantage of *Experian Boost®, which lets you add positive payments for phone and utility bills to your Experian credit file, potentially increasing your FICO Score.

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Best paid credit monitoring services

If you want a more comprehensive credit monitoring plan, consider one of the paid plans below. By paying a monthly fee, you'll get more all-encompassing protection, including triple-bureau credit monitoring, extensive fraud alerts and identity theft insurance up to $1 million — which aren't available with free plans.

Best for families

Aura

  • Cost

    Individual plan: $9/month billed annually or $12/month billed monthly; Couple plan: $17/month billed annually or $20/month billed monthly; Family plan: $20/month billed annually or $32/month billed monthly

  • Standout features

    Protects against financial fraud, identity theft, spam calls, online theft, phishing and scam websites, viruses and malware, as well as offering security tailored to kids and financial alerts like credit score monitoring

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Extensive security offerings that provide protection from hackers and online predators
  • Credit score monitoring and access to credit report
  • Discount if choose to bill annually versus monthly
  • 14-day free trial and, on all annual plans, 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Offers couple and family plans

Cons

  • Costs for whichever plan you choose

Who's this for? Aura has plans specific to couples and families, which not all services do. Family-oriented features include family alert sharing, parental controls, video gaming with cyberbullying alerts and child identity protection with Social Security number alerts.

Standout benefits: Aura stands out for its white-glove fraud resolution team that walks you through resolving any identity theft or fraud incident, its email alias generation to hide your email address, its automated child sex offender geo-alerts, all in addition to three-bureau credit monitoring alerts and monthly VantageScore access.

[ Jump to more details ]

Best for extensive features

IdentityForce®

On IdentityForce®'s secure site.
  • Cost

    UltraSecure Individual: $19.90 per month or $199.90 per year; UltraSecure+Credit Individual: $34.90 per month or $349.90 per year; UltraSecure Family: $24.90 per month or $249.90 per year; UltraSecure+Credit Family: $39.90 per month or $399.90 per year

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    3-bureau credit monitoring, alerts and reports: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion®, with UltraSecure+Credit Individual and UltraSecure+Credit Family plans only

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore® 3.0, with UltraSecure+Credit Individual and UltraSecure+Credit Family plans only

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, with all plans

  • Identity theft insurance

    Yes, at least $1 million with all plans

Terms apply.

Pros

  • 3-bureau credit monitoring, alerts and reports
  • Free VantageScore® 3.0
  • Dark web scanning
  • Minimum $1 million identity theft insurance coverage
  • Offers family plan

Cons

  • Plans start at about $20 per month
  • Doesn't look at FICO® Score

Who's this for? IdentityForce offers the most extensive security features that monitor your information on various sites and services, including the dark web, court records and social media. (The service checks if your accounts on sites like Facebook, Instagram and X have inappropriate activity that may be perceived as profane or discriminatory.)

Standout benefits: IdentityForce consumers receive alerts for potential fraud on their bank, credit card and investment accounts, as well as the use of their medical ID, Social Security number and address. For a complete credit monitoring and identity protection service, opt for UltraSecure+Credit. This plan provides the added benefit of three-bureau credit monitoring and credit score updates. You can also track how your score changes over time and simulate how certain actions can impact your score (though you can do this with some free services, like CreditWise).

[ Jump to more details ]

Best for credit and identity protection in one

PrivacyGuard®

  • Cost

    $9.99 to $24.99 per month

  • Identity theft insurance

    Up to $1 million for Identity Protection and Total Protection plans; none for Credit Protection plan

  • Credit monitoring

    Total Protection and Credit Protection plans both monitor your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports; Identity Protection doesn't offer credit monitoring.

  • Mobile app

    Yes

  • Family plan

    No

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Option to choose the plan that suits you: Credit Protection, Identity Protection or Total Protection
  • New users can try any plan for $1 for the first 14 days

Cons

  • No family plan
  • No identity theft insurance with Credit Protection plan
  • Identity Protection plan doesn't offer triple-bureau credit monitoring

Who's this for? PrivacyGuard offers three different plans, but one combines the best of both, including daily triple-bureau credit monitoring, monthly credit score and credit report tracking, as well as public and dark web scanning and identity theft insurance.

Standout benefits: PrivacyGuard has well-rounded coverage that includes unique features like a dedicated identity fraud resolution agent, a financial calculator suite, neighborhood reports, emergency travel assistance and medical records reimbursement.

[ Jump to more details ]

Best for low cost

Experian IdentityWorks℠

On Experian's secure site.
  • Cost

    Basic: Free; Premium: 7-day trial, after $24.99 per month; Family: 7-day trial, after $34.99 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    1-bureau credit monitoring, alerts and reports: Experian, with Basic plan only and 3-bureau credit monitoring, alerts and reports: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion®, with Premium and Family plans only

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO® Score 8, with all plans

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, with all plans

  • Identity theft insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million with all plans

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Free version available and free trial with paid plans
  • 3-bureau credit monitoring, alerts and reports
  • Free FICO® Score 8
  • Dark web scanning
  • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance coverage

Cons

  • Pay for more advanced features, starting at about $25 per month

*Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

Who's this for? Experian IdentityWorks offers the most affordable plans, including a basic version for free and free trials on the other two paid plans.

Standout benefits: Experian IdentityWorks' features across plans include credit monitoring, dark web surveillance, Social Security number and change of address alerts and identity theft insurance.

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Best for most accurate credit score

FICO® Basic, Advanced and Premier

On myFICO's secure site
  • Cost

    $29.95 to $39.95 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian for Basic plan or Experian, Equifax and TransUnion for Advanced and Premier plans

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, for Advanced and Premier plans

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million

Terms apply.

Who's this for? FICO Scores are used in over 90% of lending decisions, making FICO Advanced the most accurate for credit score updates.

Standout benefits: All FICO Advanced plans offer access to 28 versions of your FICO Score, including scores for credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. Plus, you'll receive $1 million identity theft insurance and 24/7 access to U.S.-based identity theft experts who can help restore your identity if your information is compromised.

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More on our top credit monitoring services

CreditWise from Capital One

CreditWise is a credit monitoring service offered by Capital One. You don't need to be a Capital One customer to use Credit Wise, but if you are, CreditWise features are integrated into the Capital One mobile app, so there's no need to also download the CreditWise app. Consumers receive an updated VantageScore from TransUnion every week and credit report updates from TransUnion and Experian in real-time.

Cost

Free

Dark web scan

Yes

Identity theft insurance

No

[ Return to summary ]

Experian free credit monitoring

Experian free credit monitoring is the complimentary version that credit bureau Experian offers its customers. Users get an updated Experian credit report and FICO Score every 30 days.

Cost

Free

Dark web scan

Only a one-time scan

Identity theft insurance

No

[ Return to summary ]

Aura

Aura offers identity theft and credit protection for you and your whole family.

Cost

From $12 per month to $45 per month

Dark web scan

Yes, with all plans

Identity theft insurance

Yes, at least $1 million with all plans

[ Return to summary ]

IdentityForce

IdentityForce is part of TransUnion and offers identity and credit protection, along with credit advice.

Cost

From $19.90 per month to $39.90 per month

Dark web scan

Yes, with all plans

Identity theft insurance

Yes, at least $1 million with all plans

[ Return to summary ]

PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard protects individuals against identity theft. Two of its three plans include credit protection, while its third plan focuses solely on identity protection.

Cost

From $9.99 per month to $24.99 per month

Dark web scan

Yes, with two plans

Identity theft insurance

Yes, $1 million with two plans

[ Return to summary ]

Experian IdentityWorks

Experian IdentityWorks is part of Experian and is the only identity theft protection service that we found offering users access to their FICO Score.

Cost

From free to $34.99 per month

Dark web scan

Yes, with all plans

Identity theft insurance

Yes, up to $1 million with all plans

[ Return to summary ]

FICO Advanced

FICO Advanced is one of the credit monitoring plans offered by myFICO.

Cost

$29.95 per month

Dark web scan

No

Identity theft insurance

Yes, $1 million

[ Return to summary ]

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit monitoring review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit monitoring productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best credit monitoring services.

Our methodology

To determine which credit monitoring services offer the most benefits to consumers, CNBC Select analyzed and compared 12 services that offer a variety of free and paid plans.

When ranking the best free credit monitoring services, we focused on the following features:

  • Number of credit bureaus monitored: Services that monitor credit reports from more than one credit bureau were ranked higher since it's rare for free services to monitor several reports.
  • The credit scoring model used: If users receive updated FICO Scores, the service was ranked higher since lenders use FICO Scores in roughly 90% of lending decisions. We found that the majority of free services use VantageScore.
  • Dark web scanning: If the service checks the dark web for your name, social security number, address and other personal information, it was ranked higher.

When ranking the best paid credit monitoring services, we focused on the following features:

  • Cost: Lower cost services that offered more benefits ranked higher in our reviews.
  • Number of credit bureaus monitored: Services that monitored credit reports from all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, were ranked higher because they offer more holistic coverage.
  • The credit scoring model used: Services offering FICO Scores were ranked higher since lenders FICO Scores are more widely used in lending decisions compared to VantageScores.
  • Dark web scanning: If your name, social security number, address and other personal information is monitored on the dark web, since it's hard to monitor this on your own.
  • Identity theft insurance: We considered whether the paid services offered identity theft insurance and looked at the amount you're covered up to. We found that the best services offer up to $1 million for eligible expenses associated with resolving and restoring your identity.

Keep in mind that credit monitoring services can only alert you of changes to your credit file, not fix or prevent any errors.

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To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website.

*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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