The newest and largest of the three major credit bureaus, Experian has been in business since 1996. The company offers competitively priced triple-bureau FICO credit reports in addition to triple-bureau credit monitoring. You can also order credit reports from Experian on an as-needed basis. Although its free service only actively monitors one of the three credit reports, paid subscriptions to its credit monitoring and identity theft services include a number of bonus features and functionalities including identity theft monitoring and alerts, dark web surveillance, credit file locking, and fraud resolution.
Members of Experian Credit tracker enjoy unmatched access and insight into their Experian credit report. With the option of being able to refresh their Experian credit report as often as once per day, customers that are at especially high risk of identity theft are able to catch changes to their report the moment they happen. It is worth noting that the daily updates to this credit report also include a daily update to their FICO score based on that report.
In addition to providing users with full access to their Experian credit report and score each day, Experian also provides automated monitoring and alerts to users (via email or through the mobile app) of any suspicious or major changes to their report, such as new accounts being opened, inquiries, or changes of address.
Experian is the only credit bureau to include true FICO scores as part of its standard purchase options; the other two bureaus either don't appear to offer it or charge extra to see it. Additionally, Experian provides a fairly comprehensive list of credit factors that are influencing your score, helping you to know what to do in order to improve it.
In addition to its core credit monitoring functionality, Experian also includes a robust credit education center with their membership, which our review team found to include a wide range of up-to-date, authoritative and accurate consumer credit information. It's a great resource for newcomers and credit monitoring veterans alike who are seeking to better understand their credit health and the many factors affecting it.
Additionally, a credit score simulator is included as part of the subscription. Simulators allow customers to see how different financial decisions might potentially impact their credit score, like filing for bankruptcy or paying down credit card balances, taking out a car loan, and more. Because this simulator is powered by FICO, the predictions are as accurate as can be expected from tools like this.
Experian's mobile app for iPhone and Android has earned high praise for its ease-of-use and polished design, with solid ratings on both the Apple and Android app stores. It's ease of use, stability, bug-free experience, and attractive design is noteworthy. We especially liked the integrated video tutorials included with the app that helps users to understand how to use it in order to do everything from disputing an inaccurate item on their credit report to tracking their score over time.
We have seen numerous complaints about the trial offered by Experian where the customer was unaware of the full cost of the service after the trial, they didn't get the full seven days of monitoring, or they had difficulty canceling the service. Depending on where you sign up for the service, the trial length varies. On its main website, Experian offers users a full month of access for $4.99, after which it costs $24.99 per month. Either way, we advise customers to give themselves plenty of time to call in and cancel before the bill comes due in order to allow time for any unexpected cancellation difficulties.
Subscribers to Experian may be disappointed to find that the free service doesn't give them unlimited access to credit reports and scores from the other two major credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. If a customer wants to view either of these reports, they will need to pay an additional fee to pull them. For those who are looking for a way to regularly monitor all three credit bureau reports semi-regularly, this cost will add up.
Experian data breaches have occurred as recently as 2017. This breach had nothing to do with its credit monitoring customers, but it reflects poorly on Experian's ability to guard consumer information in general. Experian has also dealt with some legal issues surrounding claims of unsecured customer information and credit report inaccuracy. While these lawsuits were against the credit bureau in general, rather than anything specific with the credit tracking services it offers, security failures of companies that provide ID theft protection are extremely troubling. Unfortunately, all three major bureaus have been hit with lawsuits in recent years.
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