Putting Credit Monitoring to the Test

13 07 2020

Ever wonder if credit monitoring services actually work? This weekend I applied for a new credit card and after being approved waited to see which credit monitoring service I had signed up for would actually inform me of the activity.

Within 60 seconds my phone lit up with notifications and texts and emails. I checked my phone, it was Credit Karma informing me a hard credit enquiry had been made in my name by CitiBank. Wow that was quick! Credit Karma is free to use, the speed of notification was amazing given its price.

One hour later my phone jumped into life again and this time it was Discover letting me know that a credit enquiry had been made in my name by CitiBank. I am a Discover Card holder and did sign up for their free credit monitoring service. They offered to provide verbal advise on next steps if this was a fraud in progress and provided a number to call. The discover credit monitoring service is free to all comers, you do not need to be a Discover Card holder.

The following day (a Monday) my phone jumped into life again and this time it was Lifelock, a identity protection service I subscribe to annually for $247.42 (plus applicable taxes). Lifelock have you access your dashboard and confirm if the activity is you or not. This is one difference to the free services, LifeLock want to know if the activity is legitimate, a step beyond informing you of the activity.

I find it interesting the paid for service took the longest, and the two free services were very quick. Regardless, notification within 24 hours is plenty quick to help protect your money and identity.

So why do I pay for a service if other services are equally good, or arguably faster than Lifelock? The free services inform you of activity and have useful help pages on what to do if someone tried to steal your identity. The onus is on you to navigate through an untraveled and uncertain path to restoration, recovering lost money is uncertain as well. Lifelock will take necessary actions to address any identity concerns and cover any financial losses up to One Million dollars as long as you do your part to keep them informed and be cooperative in the process.

In the final analysis all three services came through to ensure I know of any activity on my credit report. They all passed the test in my opinion.