If you’re considering signing up for credit cards, it’s a good idea to first make sure that you have an excellent credit score. It’s also important to monitor your credit to protect yourself in case anyone tries to steal your identity, and to better understand what happens to your credit as you sign up for new cards.
There are three credit bureaus and each can have different information about you and will report different scores. I recommend signing up for all three of these free services in order to monitor your scores and credit reports:
Credit Sesame offers free TransUnion Vantage credit score. More importantly, it provides free TransUnion credit monitoring. and free identity theft insurance. You can choose to receive email alerts for every credit inquiry and change to your credit report.
2. Experian App or Website
There are two free options for viewing your Experian credit score and monitoring your Experian credit report: The Experian Smartphone app and FreeCreditScore.com. With the latter, it is often necessary to put your browser into private or incognito mode before signing up in order to get free credit scores.
Mint shows your TransUnion credit score, but (confusingly) it monitors your Equifax credit report. Mint’s primary purpose is to aggregate all of your financial information into a single dashboard. As an added bonus, it will alert you to suspicious spending patterns. This could be a very useful warning in case someone steals your credit card information or accesses one of your financial accounts.
To learn more about credit scores and monitoring, please read: Complete Guide to Free Credit Scores, Reports, and Monitoring… for credit card bonus hunting.