Most of us know TransUnion as a credit bureau. Credit bureaus collect our credit data for reports that financial agencies use to determine creditworthiness. What you may not know is TransUnion also offers TrueCredit, a service that provides credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. Since identity theft is becoming more prevalent, keeping yourself safe is a top priority. Here we’ll uncover what TrueCredit has to offer.
TrueCredit Credit Monitoring
TrueCredit works as a monitoring and notification service. It alerts you if anything out of the ordinary happens to your credit file like a new inquiry. Notification of unusual activity prevents major damage from identity theft because you can catch and respond to it right away.
Another facet of the TrueCredit service is TU Credit Lock. If you misplace a document with your personal information or suspect someone has stolen your identity, you can lock your TransUnion credit file. TrueCredit also includes TransUnion credit score updates.
Here’s a quick overview of what TransUnion offers in a nutshell:
- Unlimited TransUnion credit scores
- Email alerts of critical changes to your credit history from all 3 credit bureaus
- Personal debt analysis and credit trending
- Up to $1 million of identity theft insurance
- Credit lock (and unlock)
- Access to identity theft specialists
Your credit history dictates your future in many ways including how much you can borrow and how expensive borrowing will be for you. For this reason, credit analysis is one of the stand out perks of the service. It shows you where you stand and offers resources that can help you improve your credit health.
Terms and conditions is one area where TrueCredit gets confusing. Since TrueCredit is part of TransUnion, you’re taken to a TransUnion subscription page when you go to sign up for the service. The terms on the subscription page happen to be different than what’s on the TrueCredit website.
According to the TrueCredit about page, the product includes $25,000 worth of identity theft insurance. However, the subscription page says you get $1 million dollars worth of insurance instead. And it was difficult to find an overview of the policy conditions on either site.
To add another of layer of ambiguity, TransUnion offers a credit monitoring product on its home page that’s similar to TrueCredit. It’s unclear whether the two products are the same because both have different prices.
The Cost of TrueCredit
TrueCredit costs $9.95 per month. Tax applies for residents of Pennsylvania and New York. Check out the cost and details in the photo below.
Just for comparison, the other credit monitoring service promoted on the TransUnion website is $19.95 per month, plus tax for Pennsylvania and New York residents. It has a free 7-day trial. During that trial period you get a TransUnion credit score and a credit report for $1. Check out the costs and details in the photo below.
The only noticeable difference between the two monitoring services is TrueCredit offers email updates from all three bureaus which is obviously more bang for your buck.
Other Identity Theft Product Alternatives
Now, let’s consider some other identity theft protection services.
Zander is an identity theft service that doesn’t offer regular credit monitoring, but it does have personal information monitoring and an identity theft recovery service. Zander gives you access to free credit reports and fraud alerts as well. It can also help you with credit freezes if necessary.
It costs $6.75 per month for individuals or $12.90 per month for families. Zander will reimburse up to $1 million for expenses incurred while recovering your identity and matches you up with a recovery expert to remove fraud from your credit report.
Equifax is another credit bureau that offers a credit monitoring product. It costs $19.95 per month for individuals and $29.95 for families. It includes monitoring reports of all three credit bureaus, plus resolution services to help restore your identity if it’s stolen. Equifax offers credit scores for all three bureaus once per year and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Is TrueCredit Worth the Cost?
There’s no doubt monitoring your credit is important, but you can access some of the TrueCredit services without signing up for a monthly subscription. In fact, you can get your hands on these services directly from TransUnion. For example, TransUnion has a service called Credit Freeze that’s pretty similar to the TU Credit Lock.
Victims of identity theft (and in some cases seniors) can put a freeze on their credit report for free. If you’re not a victim or a senior, freezing your account may come with a small fee that varies by state, although some states still allow you to do it for free. You can also put fraud alerts on your account through TransUnion.
There are other free alternatives if you’re in the market for credit monitoring specifically. CreditKarma provides weekly credit updates from TransUnion and Equifax at no cost. Credit Sesame offers free credit updates monthly from TransUnion as well. You can also get one free report per year using www.annualcreditreport.com. TrueCredit provides resources to help you dispute an item on your credit report. Again, this is something you can get for free at identitytheft.gov.
One thing you can’t get for free is identity theft insurance. But, for identity recovery and insurance, Zander may be a better option because it has a full-service product. It doesn’t come with credit monitoring, but again you can get that free, so no worry there.
All things considered, the TrueCredit service (primarily credit monitoring) is worthwhile if the convenience of having reports from all three credit bureaus monitored in one spot is important to you.