Wouldn't it be great if more of our world was truly "set it and forget it?" We prefer wash and wear, programming the coffee to brew automatically, and keeping important information accessible on the go.
But setting and forgetting has its limits. If you're trying to be more knowledgeable about your credit, "forgetting" isn't a good thing. Monitoring your credit can help you keep an eye on key changes, which are often the first sign of fraud if those appear suspicious.
Credit monitoring keeps a daily watch on your credit report, flagging new activity that is then sent to you as an alert. There are many different indicators that can warn of identity theft — approximately 50 in fact — and tracking all that information takes more time than most people have available. Credit monitoring and alerts handle the hard part; you just need to decide if an alert requires a closer look.
Another advantage of monitoring is that it can give you a jump on response time. Reducing the amount of time between fraud occurring and getting in touch with a fraud specialist can make a big difference in how long fraud continues or goes unnoticed by you and can speed up restoring your credit report to the way it should be.
In some cases, credit monitoring may even prove more effective than a credit freeze. What if a service provider or creditor doesn't check a credit report, for instance, if a fraudster gets a loan from "no credit check" lender? A freeze wouldn't help, but credit monitoring would recognize the new account — and send an alert. That alert gets to you a lot faster than a call from a collections agency.
Time is money. Making the decision today to set up credit monitoring can save you time and money, and help avoid potential hassle in the future.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on November 2, 2015, and has been updated.