When it comes to your credit score, there are certain concepts that you should understand. If you ever encounter them, you’ll know why they exist and what they can do for you.
Credit monitoring and credit freezing are two such options. We’ll talk about both of them in the following article, and we’ll talk about which one is better for your credit.
What is credit monitoring? Essentially, it’s a service you can sign up for that monitors your credit as your score increases or decreases. When there is activity that impacts your credit report, this service will alert you of that.
Something like a hard credit check will negatively impact your score. Your credit monitoring service will send you a notification if this kind of activity ever happens.
Credit monitoring might also include some additional services, like checking the dark web to see if your information is being sold there. It might include identity theft insurance as well.
In the financial industry, credit freezing is also sometimes referred to as a security freeze. It blocks any third parties from accessing your credit report. Those entities might include utility companies, banks, and others.
If you want to open most types of accounts, the bank or another entity that allows you to do that would have to initiate a credit review. If you have enacted a credit freeze, these entities can’t do that. Consequently, anyone unauthorized or fraudulent who might try to open an account in your name can’t do so.
The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, can all grant you a credit freeze if you ask for one. They can also lift that freeze at your request.
Which One is the Better Choice?
Neither credit monitoring nor credit freezing adversely impacts your score, so there’s no need to worry about that. Which one is the better option, though?
Each person must consider their situation before choosing between these two possibilities. Credit monitoring might be preferable because once you have it in place, you can keep an eye on your score. You’ll instantly know if someone is trying a hard credit check that you didn’t authorize. You’ll also hear about anything else that might lower your score.
Credit freezing is also potentially useful. The only issue is that every time you freeze or unfreeze your score, it takes a little time. That’s because you’ll have to set up a credit freeze with all three of the credit bureaus, one at a time. You must go through the same process to unfreeze your score.
You Might Use Both Options at the Same Time
Since neither credit monitoring nor credit freezing hurt your credit score, there’s no harm in utilizing one or the other. Credit monitoring is a great way to watch over your credit score, while credit freezing adds an extra line of defense against fraudulent activity.
However, there’s nothing that says you can’t use both services simultaneously if you want to keep a close eye on your score and also want the extra layer of protection that a credit freeze provides. If you set up both of these services, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to do anything that impacts your credit score without you finding out about it.
If you set up both of these services, though, keep in mind that you must freeze or unfreeze your credit score through each of the three major credit bureaus. That’s time-consuming. If you need to open a new account or have an entity check your score for any reason, make sure you take a few days to go through the unfreezing process before giving them the okay to move forward.