Experian offers some of the best online tools you'll find in a credit reporting company, along with an excellent array of educational resources. When you sign up for their monthly credit monitoring, you’ll get reports and scores every month from each of the Big Three Bureaus, along with comprehensive tools and resources to help you improve your score. They also have plans designed specifically for businesses, with the same monthly reports and scores.
Experian’s primary claim, while a little dense, is refreshingly straight to the point and free of marketing fluff. “Experian CreditWorks Premium checks your Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax Credit Reports each day, and notifies you when key changes are detected,” it declares. “See your bigger credit picture with Credit Reports, FICO Scores and monitoring from all 3 credit bureaus.”
Is it True?
Unequivocally, Experian sticks to its word in these two statements. It monitors your credit reports on a daily basis, keeping an eye out for any changes that could be considered suspicious. You can even see a new credit score every day, although this is only based on Experian’s formula, and does not include Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll be able to view scores from all three once a month, which was in line with the other credit report companies we looked at. As for the claim that Experian will help you see “your bigger picture,” we found this to hold up, too. Its dashboard is very clear about what factors are impacting your score, along the long term trends of your credit history.
People looking to monitor their credit scores, small businesses
People looking to improve their score
|Price||$24.99/month ($4.99 for first month)|
|Monthly Credit Reports||Equifax, Experian, TransUnion|
|Monthly Credit Scores||Equifax, Experian, TransUnion|
|Identity Theft Insurance||$1 million|
Reports and scores from all three bureaus
This is the most essential attribute for any company that provides credit reports. Because the Big Three Bureaus all prioritize different information to determine your credit reports and scores, the only way to get a complete picture of your credit health is to look at all three. In our testing, scores varied by as much as 32 points between bureaus, the difference between a “Very Good” from Equifax and just a “Good” from Experian. Fortunately, Experian uses all three in its CreditWorks Premium plan.
If you’re simply looking to get a one-time snapshot of your credit health, Experian’s 3-Bureau Credit Report and Scores is a great way to go. The $39.99 price tag might sound like a lot, but it’s actually a pretty great deal when compared to the competition. Two of our other top picks, Identity Guard and Identity Force, don’t even offer this feature, while myFICO charges $59.85 for it. With Experian, you’ll get both reports and scores from all of the Big Three Bureaus.
Along with Equifax and TransUnion, Experian is one of the very few companies in the industry that offers business-specific credit reports and credit monitoring. This is completely separate from a personal credit history. It uses the same type of information — public debt and payment records — but it’s completely specific to the business. Just as with the credit monitoring for personal use, you can dispute errors in your Experian credit report quickly and easily. They also offer marketing tools to assist you in finding more qualified leads and tools to help you manage your customer portfolio.
While a lot of companies simply tell you your score and call it a day, Experian has a number of resources that help you actually improve your credit score. While it doesn’t quite go to the lengths of a company like myFICO, its Credit Education knowledge base is a great place to start if you’re interested in learning more about your credit scores and reports. You’ll find articles about the different factors affecting your credit score and overall creditworthiness, as well as information about preventing identity fraud. Experian also has a blog dedicated to credit-related topics, which you can subscribe to for ongoing content. Video tutorials are another option to get you up to speed on how the credit reporting process works, with topics including how to file a dispute and establish good credit.
Superior online tools
Experian offers several valuable tools that make viewing and monitoring your credit information simple and easy. There is also an online dispute tool available so you can quickly fix any errors you notice in your credit report. Another useful feature is the score estimator tool, which enables you to see how certain financial decisions will affect your Experian credit score. If you believe you’ve been the victim of identity fraud, you can place a security freeze on your credit reports, preventing creditors from giving out your information without your consent. We also loved Experian’s easy-to-use app, which makes it incredibly simple to check in on your credit from anywhere.
Experian isn’t quite as upfront about its pricing as we would have liked. It advertises that you can check your Fico Credit Score for just $1, but you’ll have to scroll down to the fine print to find out that this also enrolls you in the CreditWorks Premium plan at $24.99 a month. There’s nothing technically dishonest about this — and you do have seven full days to cancel — but companies like myFICO and IdentityForce were much more straightforward about how much you can expect to pay.
|Monthly Credit Reports||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Monthly Credit Scores||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|App Store Rating||4.1/5||4.8/5||3.4/5||1.9/5|
|Promotions||$4.99 for first month||None||$199.50 for annual payment||None|
If you’re looking for a credit reporting service that goes beyond merely monitoring your credit, check out myFICO. Along with monthly scores and reports from the Big Three has the most extensive suite of tools and resources on the market that will help you actually raise your score. While all of our top picks have a credit score simulator tool, we thought myFICO’s was by far the best. You can even put in a score that you’d like to reach, and it will recommend specific actions you can take to help get you there. Along with its wealth of helpful videos, articles, and forums, we thought the extra resources were worth the pricier $39.95/month price tag.
While it’s lacking in some of the extra resources that make myFICO special, IdentityForce is a great choice for anyone who just wants to keep an eye on their credit. It’s first and foremost an identity theft protection company, so you’ll get some extra features that most credit report services don’t offer, like social media monitoring and a risk assessment questionnaire. Unfortunately, it only updates your credit reports once a quarter, so we’d recommend going with Experian for most people.
More than any other company we saw, Identity Guard patiently walks you through every possible scenario that might come up regarding your credit. Does filing a dispute with a credit bureau sound terrifying to you? Identity Guard provides clear, step-by-step instructions for the entire process, complete with sample letters and templates. While some might find this hand-holding a little excessive, it’s a great service for those new to the credit world (or just a little intimidated by it). Like IdentityForce, it’s primarily geared towards identity theft protection, but that doesn’t mean its credit reporting services are anything less than stellar.
The Bottom Line
Overall, we think Experian is a great choice for anyone who wants to monitor their credit, without paying more for extra resources that will help you improve it or walk you through what to do in every conceivable scenario. We liked how you also don’t have to commit to a monthly plan: Experian offers several options for anyone who just wants to do a one-off check on their credit health.