Are You Protecting Your Credit Standing?

A clean, accurate credit history is a critical piece to the personal finance puzzle. Staying on top of your credit standing over time can mean big savings, since credit scores often determine your access to loans, interest rates, and monthly payments. An error on the report of any of the three major credit agencies - Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion - could be catastrophic next time you apply for a loan.

There are multiple credit-monitoring services you can utilize that charge approximately $15 per month, but these fees likely aren't necessary. You can order a free credit report from each of the three major credit agencies every year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

Additionally, several services will send you updates from the credit bureaus at no cost. Credit Sesame will track data on your Experian report daily and instantly email you if anything suspicious pops up. There are over 35 triggers for alerts, including new accounts opened, late payments, credit inquires, and address changes. The website also provides a running credit score daily.

Credit Karma has a similar tool that provides free daily monitoring of your TransUnion report. This tool also provides valuable data such as how many lines of credit are evaluated on your credit report and your auto insurance score (used to determine your insurance premiums).

Again, both monitoring tools are free, don't require a credit card, and take no longer than a couple minutes to sign up for.

Getting an instant heads-up that there's been a change in your report could help you fix errors quickly, catch an identity theft at work, or get on top of a delinquent account. You've worked hard to establish your credit, so make sure you protect it.

About the author

Lon Jefferies, CFP®, MBA
Lon Jefferies, CFP®, MBA

Lon Jefferies is an investment advisor representative with Net Worth Advisory Group, a fee-only financial planning firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He possesses an MBA and bachelor's degrees in Finance and Marketing from the University of Utah. Lon writes articles for local magazines such as Utah CEO, Business Connect and Utah Business Magazine, and he consistently contributes articles to online magazines such as FIGuide.com and FILife.com (by The Wall Street Journal). Additionally, Lon is an expert author at EzineArticles.com. Lon has been quoted nationally in publications such as the NY Times and Investment News.

Lon can be contacted at (801) 566-0740 or lon@networthadvice.com. Learn more about Net Worth Advisory Group at http://networthadvice.com and visit Lon's blog at http://www.utahfinancialadvisor.blogspot.com.

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