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What is 3-bureau credit monitoring and how to get it

Before you sign up for a credit monitoring service, check if you're getting 3-bureau credit monitoring. Here's why that's important.

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Regular credit monitoring is an important routine practice, since it helps you track your credit score and spot fraud early.

But in order to get a comprehensive look into your credit file, you need to be thorough. Three-bureau credit monitoring alerts you of changes on credit reports from all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Without triple-bureau protection, you can miss errors that may only appear on one of the three credit reports. That's bad news if you apply for credit and a lender pulls the report with errors you didn't know about, potentially jeopardizing your approval odds.

Below, we explain how you can get three-bureau credit monitoring, so you can secure your credit information.

How to get triple-bureau credit monitoring

Triple-bureau credit monitoring is found with most paid credit monitoring services and some identity theft services. Free services typically only alert you of credit report changes with one bureau, though CreditWise® from Capital One monitors both TransUnion and Experian.

Here are some of the best credit monitoring services with triple-bureau protection:

IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit

On Identity Force's secure site
  • Cost

    Get 3 months free on all annual plans - that's $17.99/mo or $160.99/yr for UltraSecure+Credit and $9.99/mo or $88.99/yr for UltraSecure

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million

Terms apply. To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website or call 855-979-1118. 

PrivacyGuard

Information about the PrivacyGuard® plans have been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the company prior to publication.
  • Cost

    $9.99 to $24.99 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, for Identity and Total Protection plans

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million for Identity and Total Protection plans

Terms apply.

Experian IdentityWorks℠

On Experian's secure site
  • Cost

    $9.99 to $29.99 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian for Plus plan or Experian, Equifax and TransUnion for Premium plan

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO®

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $500,000 for Plus plan and up to $1 million for Premium plan*

Terms apply.

FICO® Basic, Advanced and Premier

Information about FICO® Basic, Advanced and Premier plans have been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the company prior to publication.
  • Cost

    $19.95 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.

If you're not willing to pay a fee, the other option is to manually review each of your credit reports on a regular basis.

Traditionally, you're entitled to one free credit report from each bureau per year, but thanks to a 2020 change, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are offering free credit reports to all Americans on a weekly basis through April 2021. All you need to do is request your credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com every week and review them for any discrepancies.

When you're reviewing your credit reports, keep an eye out for these red flags:

  • New accounts that you didn't open
  • Identity errors (wrong name, phone number or address)
  • Incorrect reporting of account status (late payments when you've paid on time, closed accounts reported as open or being listed as the owner of an account when you're just an authorized user)
  • Data management errors (reinsertion of incorrect information after it was corrected)
  • Balance errors (incorrect current balance or credit limit)

If you find anything out of place, dispute the credit report errors as soon as possible.

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