Best Credit Reports

At Hot5, we have spent countless hours comparing the prices and accuracy of the tools from these credit report services, including their monthly or annual credit score checks. These regular updates will let you see if your credit score has been compromised in any way. From Experian to myFICO, you can browse through our detailed reviews to view their credit report packages, some of which also comes with a free account or free trial period. For the best credit check when you’re applying for a loan, you can’t get any better with these credit report sites.

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Experian

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Pros

  • Updated credit score every 30 days
  • Secure login process
  • BBB-accredited
  • Discount for purchasing annual package

Cons

  • Slightly higher prices
  • Lengthy loads times on certain data

Experian is one of the most widely-used and best credit monitoring service agencies in the United States, along with Equifax and TransUnion. Collecting and maintaining information on more than a billion people and businesses worldwide, Experian monitors, tracks and generates credit reports which can be purchased directly through the bureau. In addition to learning more about your credit score, it enables you to compare loans, credit cards, and mortgages without impacting your credit score.

Consumers have a choice of two product plans: CreditWorks Basic and CreditWorks Premium. The Basic plan is completely free of charge and grants users a monthly free credit score, whereas the Premium plan is a monthly subscription and offers more advanced tools, such as identity theft protection services and a daily Experian Credit Report & FICO Score. There’s also the option to be billed annually where users can save 17% off their charge. The agency is offering consumers to try Experian CreditWorks Premium for just $4.99 for the first month. Should they not feel satisfied, consumers can cancel the trial or their membership at any time, though we rarely hear many complaints or issues with the brand.

Now, for those who do not want to pay a monthly fee but would prefer a one-off deal to get a taste of what Experian offers, they can opt-in for the Experian Credit Report and FICO® Score or a 3-Bureau Credit Report and FICO® Scores package. For either plan, Experian says no card details are needed if they can easily verify the user.

The features in the free Basic Credit Report includes an updated Experian Credit Report every 30 days when you login to your Experian account, free credit monitoring and online disputes (correct inaccuracies on credit report free of charge), and the latest credit information that lenders will see when they’re requesting your credit to determine your creditworthiness. For Premium Credit Report, it consists of more thorough features, such as:

  • 3-bureau credit monitoring (with alert notifications when key changes occur)
  • Monthly 3-bureau updates (updated credit reports and FICO scores)
  • Daily Experian Credit Report and FICO Score 8
  • Experian CreditLock
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance (and $0 deductible)
  • Personalized customer support

The website is easy to navigate with everything that is needed is available on the main menu. Experian has recently redesigned its new app for iPhone and Android mobile devices, giving them quicker access to their credit report. There are two different kinds of mobile accounts, a free Experian Account which offers the following perks:

  • Experian Credit Score
  • Credit card and Personal loan comparison and eligibility
  • Tips, Videos, and Articles
  • Login with PIN or fingerprint

The other account is called CreditExpert which costs £14.99 per month and in addition to featuring everything mentioned above, it also includes:

  • Score Influencers (displays what affects your score positively and negatively)
  • Alerts for changes made to credit reports
  • Score History (over the last 6 months)
  • Timeline of Score History and Alerts

Identity Force

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Pros

  • Comprehensive protection and monitoring
  • Excellent user-friendly interface
  • Clear insights into credit reports
  • Excellent mobile app

Cons

  • Limited FAQ on website
  • Pricey

Identity Force is a specialist in identity theft protection, privacy, and credit security. They bring customers a wide range of tools that combine advanced detection technology, real-time alerts, round the clock support, identity recovery and far more.

The company has more than four decades of experience in the field, and EZShield, a leader in the field of digital identity protection, recently acquired them, resulting in an even more comprehensive service.

The company offers two main product packages, UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit. The UltraSecure package forms the core of their services; it comes with a 14-day free trial and then costs $17.95/Month or $179.60/Year. The UltraSecure+Credit package comes with added credit protection services and it costs $23.95/Month or $239.50/Year.

As mentioned, the UltraSecure package is Identity Force’s core service and it is comprised of monitoring tools, alerts, controls and recovery services. The monitoring tools include Advanced Fraud Monitoring, Change of Address Monitoring, Court Records Monitoring, Social Media Identity Monitoring, Tax Fraud Monitoring and more. The alerts include bank and credit card activity, a Smart SSN Tracker that alerts you if unknown details become associated with your Social Security Number, Identity Threat Alerts, Credit Fraud Alert, and so on. The controls are a series of protections to help and prevent identity theft, such as Medical ID Protection, Online PC Protection Tools, Lost Wallet Assistance, and so on. Finally, the recovery services include $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance, Fully Managed Restoration in the event of identity theft, and Toll-Free Customer Service around the clock.

Those who have opted for the UltraSecure+Credit package will have the benefit of a number of tools to aid with credit security. These include Daly monitoring of your credit report from all three credit bureaus, the ability to check credit reports and scores, credit alerts, a credit score tracker, a credit score simulator and more.

While some of the above may sound complicated, Identity Force has successfully simplified everything into a very user-friendly service. After signing up, you simply need to provide some basic information and you will immediately be able to benefit from everything that’s on offer. When you log in you will be presented with a clear Dashboard that contains your latest alerts and tools to help improve your identity protection. Those with the Credit package will also be able to see their credit scores and reports. There are a number of analysis tools that will give you insights in a clear manner, so even those with no prior experience will be able to understand what they are looking at.

Customers of Identity Force have access to their award-winning mobile app. The app provides you with exactly the same tools as the desktop platform, and it is available on both Android and iOS. Furthermore, the app has been designed to be as close to the desktop experience as possible, so that you do not need to learn how to use two platforms.

Of courses, as a company that deals with sensitive information Identity Force have implemented extremely high levels of security including two-factor authentication and advanced encryption.

In short, Identity Force provides an excellent set of easy to use tools for those concerned with identity theft, with the added bonus of advanced credit monitoring for those that need it, making it a leader in the field of identity protection and one of the best credit monitoring services available.

Identity Guard

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Pros

  • Fast alerts from IBM Watson® Artificial Intelligence
  • Plans to suit different needs and budgets
  • Excellent interface both on desktop and mobile app
  • $1 million identity theft insurance

Cons

  • Fraud alerts not sent to credit bureaus
  • No monitoring of sex offender registers

Identity Guard provides customers with comprehensive identity theft protection together with in-depth credit monitoring. In this Identity Guard review, we will explain exactly what this entails together with information on pricing, usability, and security.

The company has close to two decades of experience in the field and has developed an excellent reputation. They work hard to stay up to date with the latest developments in the digital world in order to provide customers with the best possible protection.

Identity Guard has three pricing plans, Value, Total and Premier, and all of these are available for individuals and families. The Value package costs $8.99/month for individuals and $14.99/month for families, the Total package costs $19.99/month and $29.99/month, and the Premier package costs $24.99/month and $34.99/month.

The Value package includes IBM Watson® Artificial Intelligence, a tool that monitors billions of data points to alert you to threats, Risk Management Score, a measure of how well you are protected against Identity Theft, and Dark Web Scan, which will alert you if any of your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, appears on the Dark Web. The package also comes with $1 million identity theft insurance and tools to protect your computer and mobile phone.

The Total package adds credit protection tools including credit monitoring from all three credit bureaus. This includes credit fraud alerts if there are any changes to your credit profile or your bank account and if new accounts are opened using your information. It will also provide you with a monthly credit score and you can use a credit score simulator to help you make informed financial decisions.

The Premier Package adds an annual credit report with information from all three bureaus, together with social insight reports that look at your social media presence, and further banking alerts. It is definitely a top choice for those seeking the best credit monitoring service.

The Family packages are very similar, but they bring with them tools for child identity protection. The Value package will alert you if your child’s information appears on the Dark Web while the Premium package alerts you to potential cyberbullying and provides access to the Megan Meier Foundation for assistance.

Identity Guard has made it very easy to create an account and get started, you just need to supply them with basic information such as name, address, phone number, date of birth, and Social Security Number. You will then find all of the services extremely easy to use, the website has a highly intuitive interface, and there are plenty of resources to help you if you become stuck.

Regardless of which package you opt for you will have use of their excellent mobile app. The app provides you with up to date information, monitoring alerts, credit scores and more. You can also access a number of resources through the app to help you if you have any questions about credit and identity theft.

Identity Guard are aware that they are handling highly sensitive information and as a result, they make use of the best security technology available to protect your data including advanced encryption technologies.

Overall, Identity Guard provides a highly impressive service that provides an excellent level of protection against identity theft. Those wanting to check credit reports and use credit-monitoring tools will find all that they need, while those simply seeking to protect their identity have access to a wide range of powerful tools.

If you are trying to take a loan, whether to buy a house, a car, pay some bills, or anything else, the lender is likely to look at your credit. Everyone has a credit score or rating, and this is used to help lenders make decisions about whether you are eligible for a loan.

Explained simply, credit is how good you are at paying back debts on time. The better your credit, the more willing companies will be to lend you money, rent you a house, hire you, and so on. A scoring system is used to assign people a credit rating. A variety of factors go into the scores, which are explained in more detail below, and this score then forms part of your credit report.

Credit Scores

As mentioned many different factors go into your credit score, each of which is given a different weight. These factors include:

  • Payment History – Your history of paying back debt, if you have a record of late payments it will lower your score.
  • Public Records – If you have bankruptcies, judgments, or collection items on record it may lower your score.
  • Amount Owed – If you owe a large amount of money, it will likely lower your score.
  • Length of Credit History – In general, the longer your credit history the better.
  • New Accounts – If you have opened numerous accounts in a short period, it may lower your score.
  • Inquiries – Each time your record is requested it is recorded, if you have a large number of recent inquires it may lower your score.
  • Accounts in Use – If you have numerous open accounts it can lower your score.

You actually have a number of different credit scores. However, your FICO® Score is the one used by the vast majority of lenders to make decisions, and you should be most aware of this one.

Credit Reports

Your credit report will contain your credit history. When you borrow money on credit it is reported by the lenders to credit reporting agencies, and this all factors into your credit rating and FICO® Score.

In a credit report, you will find lists of the different types of credit that you use, such as loans or credit cards, the length of time that your accounts have been open, and whether you have paid your bills on time. It contains information on how much credit you have used and whether you are currently seeking new sources of credit. In short, it provides a broad overview of your credit history.

The report will also contain basic information on you, including where you live, your telephone numbers, whether you have a criminal record or any ongoing court cases, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy.

A credit report will reveal a great deal about a person’s borrowing activities and all of the information needs to be considered together. That is why the information is collated to create a credit score. By looking at the score, a lender can make a quick assessment on your suitability for further credit.

Credit Reporting Agencies

In the U.S., there are three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. They collect information on millions of people from across the country and compile it into reports. That is why a lender making a decision will buy credit reports on applications from these agencies. The lenders then use these reports to evaluate your application and make a decision. However, not all reporting agencies receive the same information and that is why there may be some differences between your three credit reports.

A huge number of credit grantors, such as retailers, credit card issuers, banks, finance companies, credit unions, and more, submit information to the credit reporting bureaus, normally with monthly updates. The updates will include information about how customers use and pay for their credit, and it all goes into your credit report.

Viewing Your Credit Report

Your credit report is put together each time that you, or a lender, request it. In order to obtain your report you will need to provide information such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. You may also be asked a series of security questions to verify your identity.

There are various ways to request your report; you can do it directly from the bureaus, or by using third party services. When you get your report, it is essential to review it carefully. You may find that there are unpaid bills on it that you had simply forgotten about, or you may find mistakes. A credit report is also a good way to check for fraud as you may spot accounts that you did not open or charges that you did not make.

If you do find mistakes then they are usually very simple to rectify. You should first contact the bureau to query the item; it may be as simple as a case of mistaken identity. You may also need to contact the creditor, they could have a mistake on their files and if you have proof that a mistake has been made it can usually be fixed very quickly. If you have spotted a mistake in one credit report then be sure to check your reports from the other two bureaus as they may contain the same mistakes.

Of course, in the instance of fraud you will also need to contact the police. A fraud alert will be placed on your file and you will need to also contact your other creditors and the other bureaus.

Conclusion

Credit reports are an essential part of modern life. There will likely be numerous instances in your adult life where your credit will be checked, and it is important that you maintain a healthy credit score. Whether you are looking to rent an apartment, take a loan, a mortgage or anything else involving credit, it is more than likely that your credit report will be requested and to that end, it is well worth being aware of it and ensuring that it is always accurate.