If you're new to credit or this site, be sure to read Credit Scoring 101.
In fact, the FRT thread has a lot of good reading in it.
Reasons for being here vary, but most everyone here wants to know more about credit, their scores, what's in their reports, and how to monitor them.
There are a number of different Credit Monitoring Services (CMS), or 3 in 1 services. The TU product and TU resellers have starting banning people who pull their reports "too often". Exactly what constitutes "too often" is very unclear, but what's clear is that once banned one cannot easily get back in. The really odd part is that TU was advertising it's product as having the option of getting a new report every day--a very useful feature when you're watching for a balance to update, or reporting to be corrected, in anticipation of applying for a loan.
The two services which permit daily pulls and which don't ban you for "overuse" are EX CreditCheckTotal (CCT) and AMEX CreditSecure (CS).
CCT is $30 a month. CS is $12 a month, but you have to be an AMEX cardholder. Yet another reason to apply for an AMEX, and any AMEX will do.
I also optionally recommend a month to month subscription to MyFico ScoreWatch (MFSW) so you can keep tabs on your FICOs. However, you may not need this if you already know what's in your CRs. I had MFSW, then let it lapse after I got my house in September. I've signed back up for it as I continue to pursue a HELOC and other credit.
Equifax also has a ScoreWatch product. However, I don't use it so I cannot recommend for or against it. I know what you're getting with MFSW, and I recommend that.
Before buying MFSW, or any MyFico products, google is your friend.
There are 5, 10 and 20 percent MyFico discount codes. You'll know it's a 20 percent discount because the $8.95 a month charge for MFSW will be discounted down to $7.16. The discount will last for your 12 month subscription, and you will be prompted to see what the monthly charge will be before you confirm your order. A year from now, when it comes time to renew, go searching for another discount code.
Through the end of 2007, or Christmas, FICO has been advertising the discount code of HOLIDAY25 which yields a 25% discount.
A CMS lets you see all 3 CRs anytime you want--some permit daily pulls and others do not. When your MFSW alerts, the CMS alerts, or anything else prompts you, go and refresh your reports on your CMS.
You get alerts, just like MFSW. And just like MFSW, they aren't always timely--albeit better than MFSW alerts, IMHO. However, seeing the reports themselves is what's of real value, even more valuable than your FICO scores.
You do get scores with most monitoring services, but they are FAKOs. Your FAKO scores should track close to your FICOs, but results vary. Mine have varied from within 10 points to within 30 points of my FICOs at various times, but others report a 100 point difference between FAKOs and FICOs--up or down. Buying a monitoring service for the FAKO scores is like taking a coach commercial airline flight for the meal.
When you sign up for MFSW, you get your EQ score and then updates as your EQ score changes up or down. IMHO, that is adequate for most folks if you are seeing your CRs via a monitoring service. If there's a collection on your EX report, that isn't on your other CRs, and isn't yours, then knowing your EX FICO score isn't going to help any. It ain't yours, you need to dispute it and fight it off, and your EX score is likely suffering a lot because of it. Once it's off, rest assured your FICO score will rebound.
With MFSW, you can pull your scores when you need them. They are $15.95 each, $12.76 with a 20 percent discount.
I honestly do not see a reason to pull my EQ FICO score when one has SW and a monitoring service. I get the score updates (which I track in an Excel spreadsheet), and I can see my report anytime I like via the monitoring service.
My current monthly cost is $37 ($30 for CCT and $7.16 for MFSW). Once I'm back in the AMEX family, my cost will drop to $19 a month with AMEX CS.
My EX and TU FICO scores are $12.76 each, when I want them. Because I'm getting EQ FICO score updates as they happen, and because I know what's in my CRs via my CMS, I have a pretty good idea what my EX and TU FICO scores are. As such, I don't have a need to know what my FICO scores are most days. Only time it really becomes necessary is if one is considering a major purchase (car or home) or considering applying for credit.
I also get my TU FICO score through my WAMU CC. It's free, and it appears to update at least once a month. It's a decent perk so consider a WAMU CC.
Message Edited by Noah_Bodie on 12-18-2007 01:01 PM