Credit Scores and Reports

Credit Monitoring Credit monitoring services allow you to monitor the data that is reported to each of the 3 bureaus. However, these services do not provide access to your FICO score. Instead, these services usually provide a consumer credit score. If you have challenged credit or are in need of a monitoring service, these are the services you might consider.

Identity IQ is the preferred 3 bureau credit monitoring service. If you have challenged credit and are in need of monitoring service to track the data as it appears on your report, you'll want to use this service. The cost is $16.95 per month.
Credit Check Total is an alternative to Identity IQ. It provides a 3 bureau credit monitoring service. If you have challenged credit and are in need of monitoring service to track the data as it appears on your report, this product could be useful. The cost is $1 for the 7-day trial period. After the trial period, the cost is $29.95 per month. However, the monthly cost can be lowered
Credit Report is an alternative to Identity IQ. It provides a 3 bureau credit monitoring service. If you have challenged credit and are in need of monitoring service to track the data as it appears on your report, this product could be useful. The cost is $1 for the 7 day trial period. After the trial period, the cost is $19.95 per month.

FICO Credit Scores – Credit scores that are derived from the FICO scoring model can only be obtained from FICO directly by the consumer. If you have perfect credit or are looking to determine which debt weapon you may qualify for, you'll want to know your FICO score.

My FICO is the only resource that allows you to pull and/or monitor your true FICO score. However, you may only pull your EFX and TU reports from this resource. Additionally, MyFICO only allows you to monitor the score for you EFX report. When determining which debt weapons you'll qualify for, you'll want to use this service. The cost for pulling your credit report and score is $19.95 per bureau. The cost for monitoring your Equifax score after the 10-day free trial is $14.95 per month or $149.95 per year.

Free Credit Reports or Consumer Credit Scores – If you are unsure of the standing of your report only or are unsure which of the services above you many need, you may want to use one of these sources first to obtain a free copy of your report. However, these sources do not give you a true FICO score.

Annual Credit Report gives you the ability to pull your report only without a score. If you are unsure what your credit profile looks like, you'll want to use this resource first before obtaining any of the above services.                   
There is no cost for this service. However, you may only use this service once per year.
Credit Karma gives you the ability to pull your consumer credit score for free. However, this service does not provide a report or an accurate FICO score. It is merely a tool that can be used to obtain an approximate score for each of the 3 bureaus. There is no cost for this service.

Identity Theft Protection– Identity protection services provide protection from and help in dealing with identity theft. These services should be considered if you are in need of protection from identity theft.

Life Lock is essentially a monitoring service that offers help in the event that identity theft occurs. The cost is $25 per month or $275 per year.
Identity Theft Shield provides both monitoring and legal help with identity theft. This service provides the best form of identity protection and remedies. Available products and costs vary by state. Normally, Identity Theft Shield costs $12.95 per month. However, the cost may vary when combined with other products.

Resources

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