Re: Credit Monitoring Service (CMS) Guide
08-30-2010 01:44 PM
I have a general question, that I don't know if anyone will be able to help me out with... basically I'm new to the whole credit game, and while my credit score absolutely sucks right now, I'm not necessarily in any debt. The only accounts I currently have is my auto loan which is current, and only has 1 30-day late payment on it over 4 years, 1 Cap-1 card in their credit rebuilders program, and the Reward Zone MC for Best Buy. The one that first popped out to me was the Equifax Debt Wise service, but the more I read into it... it sounds more for people in debt, and not necessarily for people with a bad credit score. I've probably read through the lists and descriptions 4-5 times, but I honestly still don't know which one would be best for me. Any suggestions based on my situation? Really the only main thing I would really like to have out of my service, is a new and updated credit score on a daily basis.
What is your goal? Is your primary focus to know your FICO scores? Or is your focus to see changes to your report on a frequent basis? Both?
And if your goal is to see report changes, how frequent do you want to see those changes on a report-setting? Daily? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? Or if a report isn't as important, would a monitoring service be more important where you get alerted to any report changes?
Deciding is always a YMMV-thing.
When deciding a service, mentally seperate FICO scores and reports. You can certainly pull a new EQ and TU FICO report everyday, but it'll cost you some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ plus you won't have access to EX.
When working on credit or keeping tabs on it, IMO, it is important to track all 3 reports, not just one or two. Often things get added on one but not the others, or conversely, things fall off on one and not the others, depending on the situation. If you want a 3-in-1 service that allows you to see all 3 reports everyday, then your choices are greatly limited. The only one I know of out there is creditchecktotal. CCT also has a variant on USAA if I recall correctly and that's daily as well. There used to be others, but it's just one now. The only alternative to pull daily is to buy a new EQ+TU+EX report daily, but that would cost $30+/day easily. You can subscribe to CCT under $30 (look around...some got it for $20 or less. USAA may be less too).
Pros of CCT:
You can pull everyday all 3 reports
It comes with a CMS and you get alerted to changes if you forgot to pull.
You'll see the past 2 yrs of payment history within each TL
You can see the CLs for your CCs and mostly accurate comments/remarks.
As a CCT subscriber, you get free EX reports directly from Experian.com via a CCT link.
CCT doesn't show the full 7-year history, so you may have a baddie in a TL you cannot see. (e.g. if you sent a GW for a 4-yo late, then you won't know if it came off with CCT)
CCT's statuses (stati?) has been inaccurate in the past (e.g. open, vs. closed).
CCT lacks detailed contact info, unlike your report from Experian.com.
CCT can get weired-out with the report format. It lines the TLs up in their own row and compares EX-EQ-TU. Sometimes it seperates TLs, when they are really the same.
CCT offers FAKOs only (PLUS scores...ignore them and the advice offered too).
Some complain about the price. Considering the alternative, there aren't too many other options.
When you sign up to CCT, you are placed in a trial period for a week or so and you cannot pull any new reports during that time.
As you see changes to your report (e.g. new TL, dropped baddie, etc.), then you can hop over to myFICO to pull the corresponding EQ or TU report to catch those score changes. You can save $$$ this way by pulling only after a report change, since there is no FICO service anywhere on any site that gives a new FICO score everyday, or pull a new FICO report every so often just to catch any missed score changes. Another option, for EQ only, is to subscribe to ScoreWatch in conjunction with CCT and pulling daily. SW, if the target score is set correctly, will alert you to any EQ FICO score and report changes. If you think you might be buying a few FICO reports for EQ, then SW will save you $$$ because all future EQ FICO report pulls are only $10.95 ($5 off).
I hope I didn't confuse you too much. There's a lot of options out there.