There are few things one really needs in life, water and oxygen being the most obvious. Then there are things we legally need for everyday existence in a modern society, such as car insurance. Of lesser importance are those things that may be a good idea to have, but aren’t really necessary. Like credit monitoring.
What is credit monitoring?- Companies offering credit monitoring generally watch your credit closely for discrepancies or significant changes, and report these to you via e-mail or another preferred method. For instance, if a new account is opened in your name, or a credit inquiry is made, you will be notified. The main motivation for signing up for this service is typically fear of identity theft, or to micro-manage credit scores.
How it Works- Depending on your service provider, they may check your credit reports from either one or all of the three credit bureaus- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. The charge for these services range between $180 to $240 per year. Some of these providers may even offer additional benefits such as fraud assistance, access to your credit reports, identity theft ‘protection’ or reimbursement of fraudulent expenses.
Do you need it? The answer is no. First off, you can monitor your credit history yourself by doing just that. Take time to review all of your statements and the like for suspicious behavior. Also you can access your full credit report for free, once a year, at www.annualcreditreport.com . Secondly, credit reporting does not in any way protect you from being breached; they simply alert you early on once they pick up on it. Not every type of identity fraud is picked up by creditors. Also, when companies offer to reimburse you for out of pocket expenses they are being deceitful because most people never wind up paying a cent when they have been victimized. Not one cent. For instance, if you notice an unauthorized charge to your bank account, all you have to do is report it to your bank and those charges are undone. It takes time, not money. You are much better off paying a one-time fee to have your account frozen, and simply pay a fee every time you need to have it unfrozen. This way you actually protect yourself!
But remember this fact, approximately 7% of the U.S population have their identities stolen each year. As such, if you have the extra money, have been a victim of identity theft in the past, or have received some sort of alert or notification that your information has been compromised, it is recommended that you invest in credit monitoring; it’s always beneficial to take precautions.