Do I really need credit monitoring?” It’s a question we hear a lot.
Many times, it’s followed by “Because I pay my bills on time” or “I get a free credit report every year.” Only you can decide if credit monitoring is worth your money.
But here are 5 reasons we think a good credit monitoring service can be worth every penny.
1. Credit reporting isn’t perfect
The information listed on a credit report comes straight from the credit card companies, banks and other creditors reporting it to the bureaus.
Sometimes that information can be inaccurate, like a misspelt name or data showing you missed a credit card payment you actually made.
Takeaway: If you’re not monitoring your credit, you may not find out about these kinds of potentially critical inaccuracies soon enough—for example, before an application for needed credit is declined or a mortgage approval is delayed.
2. Sometimes identity thieves are perfect
These days, all it takes to destroy your credit and cause a huge hassle is a smart thief with a computer, a phone and a little bit of time.
Criminals have ways to get around some of the fraud protections offered by credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions.
It’s possible a thief could convince a creditor they’re you with a little bit of your personal information: Social Security number, email address, zip code, etc.
Takeaway: In some situations, the first, fastest or only way you’ll find out about suspicious account activity is through credit monitoring.
3. Credit reports can become obsolete in a day
Every year, you’re legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report for each of the 3 credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
By all means, get your free annual credit reports, but be aware your credit can change from one day to the next.
Takeaway: If reviewing your free annual credit reports is the only way you’re checking your credit, you’re ignoring what might creep onto any of your 3 credit bureau reports during the 364 days you’re not paying attention to them.
4. Ordering credit reports all the time can get expensive (and annoying!)
You could order each of your 3 credit bureau reports—say once a month or once a week—but it’ll cost you. As of this writing, an online TransUnion Personal Credit Report costs $11.50.
That’s not a bad price for a quick check. But if you wanted to see if anything changed on the report, let’s say a week later, you’d have to fork over another $11.50.
Takeaway: Think about how much money and time you’d save by signing up for a good credit monitoring service instead.
For example, with TrueCredit’s credit monitoring service by TransUnion, you get unlimited 24/7 TransUnion Credit Report & Score updates, email alerts of critical credit changes and much more for $17.95/mo.
5. You can’t see into the future
Credit monitoring and insurance are very different in many important ways. But, one thing they have in common is that you won’t always know when or why you’ll need it.
Takeaway: Having a good credit monitoring service means having more peace of mind.
You never know when you’ll need it or what the reason would be—to check your credit health before you unexpectedly need a loan, to let you know someone else tried to apply for credit in your name and countless other curveballs life throws your way.
Take the next step: protect your credit and start saving money.
This article originally appeared here.