Our TransUnion Credit Monitoring Review in a NutshellTransUnion's credit monitoring service provides customers with an inexpensive way to obtain three-bureau credit monitoring at $17.95 per month. Its sleek mobile app, well-designed website, debt-to-income reports, low-cost, and simple-to-use Credit Lock set it apart from many competitors. On the other hand, the low monthly price also means that users are required to pay extra to access or update their Equifax and Experian credit reports and aren't provided with industry-standard FICO credit scores, making it a bit of a mixed bag for some users, especially when much of what is offered can be obtained at no cost from other services.
Low-Cost 3B Monitoring
At $17.95 per month, TransUnion Credit Monitoring comes in at a lower price point than comparable offerings from either of the other two credit bureaus. For that price, users are also provided with automatic daily 3-bureau credit monitoring, which means that TransUnion will send email (or text) alerts to customers if any of the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian) detect unusual activity on their copy of a customer’s credit report.
The events that always trigger these alerts include:
- credit inquiries
- new accounts being opened
- address change
These alerts can also be delivered to a customer by way of the TransUnion Mobile app, which we’ll get to momentarily.
Unlimited Access to TransUnion Credit Report and Score
This service, unsurprisingly, provides unlimited access to your TransUnion credit report, which is updated every single day, along with your “TransUnion Score”. For the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that the score provided by TransUnion uses the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model, not FICO.
Daily access to a completely updated credit report can be valuable in situations where one is at particularly high risk of identity theft, since it allows users to do a complete review of everything on the report, including things that might not have triggered an alert.
Of particular importance to anyone considering getting a home, car, or other big-ticket item is the debt-to-income ratio. TransUnion is one of the few monitoring companies that provides this as a part of their basic service, asking users to enter their income, after which it does a great job tracking how much of your income is being eaten up by your debt.
We think this is a pretty noteworthy feature since a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is a significant factor taken into account by loan officers and other lenders when determining whether or not someone qualifies for big-ticket financing, like a mortgage or auto loan. Again, our review team has not encountered many services that include this alongside credit monitoring like TransUnion does.
For end users, this means that customers will receive far fewer phone calls and less junk mail than they might with another service.
Great Web Interface
As part of their rebranding, TransUnion recently overhauled their website and switched to a nice, clean, flat design that makes it easy to quickly access and analyze the presented credit information. Users won’t have to spend time hunting through a clunky web interface to get the info they need, most of it is available in one or two clicks.
Although aesthetics may not matter much to many users, we felt that it was worth mentioning, especially given the low price-point of the service.
Well-Implemented Mobile App
While we’re on the topic of good design, let’s talk about the TransUnion Mobile app. It allows users quick and easy access to their TransUnion credit score, credit alerts, credit lock, and most of the information in their credit report. From what our review team can discern, TransUnion has done a good job rolling out timely updates to improve their app as well as fixing reported bugs.
TransUnion includes some basic identity protection features bundled in with its standard credit monitoring package which are worth noting:
$1 Million ID Theft Insurance Policy
As is becoming increasingly standard in this industry, TransUnion includes ID theft insurance; customers will probably appreciate that unlike some companies, TransUnion clearly lists some of the common limits and features of the policy in an easy-to-locate section of their site, including lost wages, elder/child care, legal consultation coverage, travel expenses, etc.
One feature that stood out to us was the TransUnion Credit Lock, which allows users to quickly lock their TransUnion report; preventing anyone else from accessing it. This is a fantastic way to guard against identity theft, especially in combination with the above-mentioned monitoring alerts. Even better, as we mentioned, it can be quickly accessed through the mobile app, literally allowing clients lock their TransUnion report with a single swipe of the finger.
While any credit bureau will allow you to lock down your report, in our experience, none of them make it as easy, prominent, and straightforward as TransUnion does with their Credit Lock tool.
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
TransUnion maintains three distinct teams dedicated to combatting identity fraud and helping victims of such fraud to recover and get back on their feet as quickly as possible. These specialized representatives number over a hundred and are available to speak with members who need them.
We were very pleasantly surprised to discover that TransUnion is one of the only companies that allows its users to cancel their credit monitoring trial without having to talk to someone on the phone. Yes, they do steer clients towards doing it by phone, but in the Support Section, Under General FAQs -> Payment, users can find a link that allows them to terminate their membership.
While it would be nice if this link was a little easier to find, the fact that TransUnion even allows customers to cancel without having to waste time on hold before talking to a “retention specialist” is fantastic. It might also make it easier for some users to commit to the $1 trial, knowing that they can cancel it with just a few mouseclicks if it doesn’t work out for them.
Although there’s a lot to love about TransUnion Credit Monitoring, there were also a few complaints we (and customers) have about the service and its limitations.
Extra Fee to View Experian and Equifax Credit Reports
Chief among our concerns is that while TransUnion monitors all three credit bureaus for major changes, the subscription only lets you view your TransUnion credit report and VantageScore. If you want to view the other two credit reports and their associated scores, it will cost you extra.
How much extra? $29.95 every time you want to pull your Experian and Equifax credit reports. While this isn’t especially expensive, there are other services out there which provide three-bureau monitoring while also giving you regular access to all three credit reports as part of their monitoring service.
Our concern here is that many simply aren’t going to fork over $30 on a regular basis to view their other two reports, in which case customers are going to just have to hope that the monitoring works as intended on those reports and take TransUnion’s word that nothing is slipping through the cracks, because the majority (two-thirds) of their credit profile depends on it.
Not being able to manually review all three credit reports on a regular basis (without dropping down even more cash) makes our review team apprehensive about recommending TransUnion as a comprehensive credit monitoring solution, especially for those at higher risk of identity theft.
No FICO Score
While TransUnion does provide its members with a credit score based on VantageScore 3.0, it’s not the score that most (as in 90%) of major lenders actually use in making lending decisions, which are FICO scores. At time of writing, TransUnion is the only credit bureau that doesn’t provide its credit monitoring customers with a FICO score of any kind for any of their credit reports.
The score matters because frankly, VantageScores can deviate significantly from what a lender sees when they pull your credit; there are many complaints of it being over or under by anywhere from 50 to 100 points. Sometimes it can be kind of close (right now mine is only off by 10 points, at other times, it was off by 40-50), but some users might wonder why they’re paying to get a VantageScore instead of a FICO when they can get their current TransUnion VantageScore for free from many other places.
Absence of Key Features
Some users might find TransUnion Credit Tracker to be a bit sparse on features they’ve come to expect, including a tracker or history of how their score is changing over time, a credit score simulator to help them plan their financial decisions, and the ability to view their entire credit report (not just an overview) within the mobile app.
Although these features are not essential for some, their absence is notable considering TransUnion is a massive company, a credit bureau, and there are free alternatives which offer all of these things at no cost whatsoever.
- TransUnion Credit Monitoring is $17.95 per month after the initial 7-day trial.
- This recurring charge automatically starts billing once the trial is finished.
- Purchasing a one-time 3-bureau credit report from TransUnion is $29.95
TransUnion offers a 7-day trial of their Credit Monitoring service for $1.00. It requires users to provide a valid credit card number as part of the enrollment and will automatically begin charging the customer the normal $17.95/month price 7 days after enrolling unless the user cancels their account beforehand.
Scores & Reports Provided
TransUnion credit monitoring provides users with unlimited access to their TransUnion credit report and VantageScore 3.0 which is calculated from the contents of that report. Members have the option of purchasing copies of their Equifax and Experian credit reports for $29.95. These additional reports also include VantageScores.
TransUnion allows its customers to dispute inaccuracies on their TransUnion report through an online form or by phone. If negative information is found on either of the other two reports, they do provide links and information for contacting the dispute centers of those bureaus.
After the initial 7-day trial, TransUnion Credit Monitoring includes full three-bureau credit monitoring, although it takes an average of 4-7 days from time of enrollment (after the trial ends) for it to become active with the other two credit bureaus.
Credit Score and Report Refreshes
TransUnion allows users to refresh their TransUnion report and score as often as they choose. In order to refresh the other two reports and scores, additional three-bureau reports must be purchased for $29.95 each.
Identity Theft Protection
- TransUnion Credit Lock
- Allows members to prevent anyone else from accessing their TransUnion credit report with the click of a button.
- $1 million Identity Theft Insurance
- Fraud Resolution & Victim Assistance Department
Alerts are sent by email, but customers may also receive text alerts or push notifications through the TransUnion mobile app if they so desire.
Time in Business
TransUnion interactive has been in business since 1995; it’s parent company, TransUnion has been in business since 1968.
Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to Midnight,
Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time
* Closed on all United States observed holidays
100 Cross Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401