Monitoring Credit Scores

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by HappyJim, Sep 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HappyJim

    HappyJim Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status Points:
    25
    Does anyone know of a summary thread on the various ways of monitoring your credit scores? There are lots of products out there. Which are the best?

    For the Credit Card churners in the group, how do you do this? I looked at the various services from Experian, Transunion and Equifax, but they don't give you the FICO score. I looked at myFICO.com, but they only provide scores every quarter, at most. What do people do?

    George

    ps. EDIT: This really should have been sent to Newbies. I didn't intend to create this thread here.
     
  2. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,834
    Likes Received:
    80,011
    Status Points:
    16,495
    HappyJim and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    I use the Chase Identify Protection program, which provides a monthly 3-bureau credit score report, while also monitoring every credit card that I registered for signs of fraudulent activity.

     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Don't the issuing banks already do that? Does Chase Identify Protection do a better job than Chase-The-Credit-Card-Issuer?
     
    Jimgotkp likes this.
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    Chase is the issuer of two of my credit cards, as well as my primary bank, but they just provided a basic service (for about $7.50/month) that was very limited and provided only a one-time credit report. The Identity Protction account that I now have is the next level and it provides the services that I listed. In addition, it monitors not only Chase-issued cards but every other card (e.g., my 3 AMEX cards) that I registered. If I should lose my wallet, I will just need to make one call to have every credit card I have cancelled and reissued.

    I got a similar offer for AMEX's CreditSecure(SM), but I preferred Chase's service after comparing the two.
     
    HappyJim likes this.
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    My point was really that since credit card companies (and/or the merchants) pretty much are on the hook for fraudulent activity in the US, they already have fraud protection systems in place on every card... for their own benefit. So I have never seen any reason to pay for such a service.
     
    marcwint55 likes this.
  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    The services provided go beyond simple identity protection (e.g., monthly 3-bureau credit report), and I think that there is value to having all the cards monitored a second time, in one place, by an independent company that does only that. Also, one credit card issuer had tried to blame me for what was clearly their lapse in security. I like the back up plan, which I trust even more than I do the credit card issuer's.
     
  8. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,516
    Likes Received:
    4,573
    Status Points:
    2,570
    I agree. I have never been responsible for any unauthorized charges. Recently B of A canceled a card and sent me a new one without my knowledge of fraudulent activity. They said it was part of a batch of potential account problems. Citibank is notorious for denying charges when we are out of town until they talk to us, even when I have told them in advance where we will be. The only real benefit I can see is making just one call to a service to cancel all cards, but I personally don't think it is worth the monthly or quarterly expense.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    Do they provide monthly 3-bureau credit reports? All the banks do cancel and reissue credit cards when THEY suspect fraudulent activity. I just had two HSBC and one Chase cards cancelled and reissued because the banks suspected that there was a problem. But when an actual case of fraudulent charges happens, you will become liable unless you can prove the fraud, which is sometimes difficult to do. Overseas, especially in Asia or Eastern European countries, merchants can easily overcharge you if you are not paying attention so that a transaction can look legit and be difficult to prove as fraudulent. The bank will "investigate" but for a country so far away, the merchant might not cooperate and your bank can do nothing. I have stories...

    Having another pair of eyes for so little money is worth it to me because of my pattern of travel.
     
    marcwint55 likes this.
  10. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    853
    Status Points:
    795
    Maybe I'm missing something on their website - but where is the mention of monitoring your credit cards? Sure, there is the standard credit report monitoring, but this is for things like new accounts, inquiries, etc. (As mentioned by others, your banks already do this, since ultimately you're not liable. However, this doesn't add anything to that specifically.)
     
  11. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    853
    Status Points:
    795
    There are dozens of credit monitoring products, but they all come with either no score or their own proprietary score. What this means in practice, is that the score you get from them is a general barometer of good/bad, but doesn't necessarily correlate perfectly with a score used for lending decisions.

    In fact, myFico only sells the generic fico formula scores (and only for equifax iirc) - not the customized fico industry formula scores. (If you apply for a car loan, the fico score used in the lending decision is from a formula targeted towards that industry - so past auto loans will be weighted higher).

    In general though, lack of cheap/frequent fico scores hopefully shouldn't be a huge issue. Your score doesn't vary that much from a few new applications.
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    Yes, you are missing something. See my subsequent posts after the one you responded to. The notion that you "ultimately are not liable" needs to be revised: In case of fraud you will be liable if the bank's "investigation" does not establish the purported fraud, which can be extremely difficult to establish for overseas frauds (even for some that can occur online).

    The Chase Identity Protection service was offered to me as an additional service on top their generic service that everyone keeps mentioning. The email came from Chase to me so I am not sure how one enrolls. It has its own website, which looks like this:

    CIDP.png

    Clicking on "CHOOSE YOUR PLAN" generates this message so that enrollment may be targeted:
     
  13. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    George, why do you need to know your FICO score so often?

    If you are taking care of your credit the way you should (pay bills on time, keep credit ulization ratio low, these two items are near 2/3 of your score), then your FICO will be in a well standing range.

    As far as products go, the 'best' one is a product that gives you immediate updates when something changes to your report (late pay reported, acct opened, change of some data piece).
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel and Espan like this.
  14. JoeCortez

    JoeCortez Silver Member

    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    243
    Status Points:
    375
    If George is anything like me (which odds are he probably isn't), the reasoning for knowing FICO so often would be to monitor and manage rebuilt credit. I have a couple things on my credit that I'm not so proud of (don't we all?), that will be dropped from my credit next year. Combine that with paying off debts by the end of this year, and my credit should be in a happy place where I should be able to start the churning game by the middle of next year. That being said - I also acknowledge that I need to be smart about it, and make sure that I'm not shooting my credit in the foot once its rebuilt.

    But with all that in consideration: checking the FICO quarterly should be all I/George needs to give a top-level view of whether or not I can consider churning, y/y?
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    And if this happens, for $12/month this other department of Chase is suddenly able to do (or interested in doing) more even if the merchant is not cooperating and the transaction looks legit and is difficult to prove as fraudulent? I assume they are not just covering the fraudulent charges for you, right?

    So far I have had two or three cases of fraudulent charges on my various cards that I noticed (i.e., that slipped through the banks' security checks). I have my doubts that another set of eyes would have caught them (how and why?). In any case, in both cases, the dispute was easy and cost me nothing. Perhaps a topic for another thread, but I would be interested in hearing examples where the US card holder was held responsible for fraudulent charges.

    The lost-wallet benefit would reduct my two or three calls (Citi, Chase, Amex, depending on what I have loaded into my wallet) to one. No big deal, I have the numbers in my iPhone and suspect I can also just google them if needed.

    All that isn't what the OP asked about, though. Sorry for taking this thread off-topic :oops:
     
  16. servo

    servo Silver Member

    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    1,031
    Status Points:
    825
    I monitor my scores through the bureaus often. I have a VERY common first and last name, and I've been hit 3 times in the last few years with collection items that don't belong to me, and it takes a while to get removed from my credit. I use the USAA monitoring service as well, and it alerted me to the most recent hit for Dish Network collections (I've never had Dish), and I'm still in the process of having the line removed from all 3 bureaus. It's a MAJOR headache when trying to churn cards, because if something popped up when someone when to review my existing cards for line increases etc, they might notice the collection item and potentially even cancel my existing line.

    Thankfully, I've suffered nothing negative to my knowledge at this point, but the potential exists, and it's frustrating that I don't seem to have much legal ground to go after these agencies when I haven't suffered anything other than emotional distress over it, since they do remove them, but it takes a while to get them removed.
     
  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    You get what you pay for, which are the different levels of memberships. You can have your cards constantly monitored for appearances on suspicious websites or large purchases in no-name places and be alerted. Credit card disputes are better resolved if they are caught right away, especially for overseas transactions.

    Alright. Last Xmas eve, I was in a small bar in PVG, right across the street from Hilton PVG, where I had been before and knew the bartender/manager and felt at ease. It turned out that this person had other things in mind that night. She presented me with a charge on my AMEX and I signed for it, but when she put it through she overcharged me. The charge was so high that AMEX declined it. SHe said nothing to me, of course. So she tried again with a lower amount, and the same thing happened. Then the third time she tried a smaller amount and it went through (she must have done this before!). I got back to my hotel and I found two email messages from AMEX about two charges from this place being declined. Then suspicious, I checked my account and even the third charge that finally went through was higher than my actual charge. I went back the next day and confronted the management who admitted to some "error" and the owner begged me not to go to the police and swore to reverse the charge. I had to leave so I said fine but I should have taken something in writing because they never did try to reverse the charge! I told AMEX about it, and they said they would "investigate". They contacted the merchant, who sent something with my signature on a slip, which they must have filled afterwards, and they refused to pay. AMEX contacted them again (they believed my story based on the fact that two prior charges had been declined) but the merchant would not cooperate. AMEX then said that they would give me credit for 50% of the charges and let go because it was not worth their effort to pursue the matter further. I agreed and accepted the partial credit. I am going back to PVG later this year to claim the rest of my money from this bar (assuming they are still in business) because I have evidence about how they had tried on purpose to overcharge me. They will play ball for sure.

    Just 3 months ago, I was in an after-hours place in PEK having dinner with a couple of persons I had met there and the bill was presented. I gave them my card and they ran it through. Before I signed for the charge, my cell phone rang. It was the card-issuing bank wanting to confirm that the charges were mine because they were over a limit that I had set for alerts (after the PVG fraud). I would have signed the slip but this caused me to look closely and there was an item for ~$200USD that I had not ordered, and I confronted them about it while still on the phone with the credit card security person, who heard the exchange. I told him that the first charge was fraudulent and should not be paid and that the second ($200 less) was okay. I returned to the US and both charges had gone through! I called the issuing bank to ask why the two charges showed up, and related what had happened, including the fact that their security person had assured me that the fraudulent charge would not go through. The bank said that they would "investigate". Remembering what had happened with the AMEX "investigation" I told them that they could "investigate" but that the fraudulent charge had to disappear from my account immediately because their security person should never ever have allowed that charge to post. They refused, so I said fine: I was going to pay my balance in full right then and then close the account because I did not trust them anymore since the security lapse was clearly theirs. That got them to reconsider and they removed the charge. They investigated and the bank wrote later to let me know that the merchant did not contest the fraudulent charge. Case closed.

    Americans are often targeted for such things because they usually do not look carefully as such things are rare in the US or EU. As a result of these events, I decided that it would be worth another set of eyes on my credit cards when Identity Protection was offered. How well would it protect me is unclear, but one should not assume that creditors will swallow fraudulent charges. They do not. They try to collect, but if they are unsuccessful, you will ultimately eat the charges. Take my word on this because I have more stories... all overseas!

    My nightmare is to lose my wallet overseas. The wallet protection thing gives some peace of mind. For just $12 and considering my experience, it is a bargain.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  18. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    853
    Status Points:
    795
    Ah - https://www.chaseidentityprotection...sView?langId=-1&storeId=12501&catalogId=10001
    They do offer some alleged extra monitoring for Chase issued cards, whatever that means exactly.

    Sorry if you had bad experiences before - but all my chargebacks, even foreign, were trivial to accomplish (i.e. 30 minutes of actual work or less - just some amount of waiting). In all cases, burden of proof is always on the merchant, not on you (at least for us-issued cards), so it's unfortunate if your experiences don't reflect that.
     
  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    All my cards are US-issued and the problem is usually when a charge does post. "Merchants" who specialize in fraud have the tools to make fake transactions look "real", which, once they post, are tough to dispute without additional evidence, which itself is tough to get if the merchant is in Budapest and cannot be confronted. The key is to avoid a fraudulent charge from posting. If it posts then the credit company's approach is to "investigate" and get the merchant to prove that a charge was legit (burden of proof is on the merchant, but a fraud expert can easily meet that burden of "proof"). Above, I have one example of each situation.

    Wish you continued luck...;)
     
  20. dayone
    Original Member

    dayone Silver Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    824
    Status Points:
    795
    If I were in debt, the first expense I would cut would be a monthly fee for a credit monitoring service.
     
    edekba likes this.
  21. SpecialK
    Original Member

    SpecialK Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,148
    Likes Received:
    20,273
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Is debt the issue here though? I use monitoring for identity theft, that's it. My current cards have pretty good fraud protection built in - I'm not worried about that, especially since they call me before I notice extra charges. But in age of the internet, when identity thieves abound, I want to know if anyone has my information.

    Re: debt - I know many folks trying to rebuild their credit - it doesn't hurt to know where one is at, especially if they have the income to do so. Also - you don't have to be poor to manage your money poorly.

    I wish everyone the best in this endeavour. :)
     
  22. dayone
    Original Member

    dayone Silver Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    824
    Status Points:
    795
    In the case of post 14, it might be.


    There are several sources where one can monitor one's actual or very-closely-approximated credit score for free.
     
  23. SpecialK
    Original Member

    SpecialK Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,148
    Likes Received:
    20,273
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Which site offers the actual score? I'm not interested in the "approximate" ones.
     
  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    I wish folks would reconsider this notion. If your transactions are exclusively in the US or EU countries, you have more than adequate protection. In some overseas places you have nothing...
     
  25. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    I'm sure you know that with a good monitoring system, you'd know about the collection items as soon as they posted, score again is not required to know about these or dispute them w/the bureaus.

    But if you feel you need it for churning purposes, then by all means get a score!
     

Share This Page