Verdict: As far as credit protection and monitoring services go, CreditInform Premier, offered by Capital One, is reasonably priced, offers access to your Experian credit report plus quarterly updates to your report and credit score.
The service also offers daily updates to certain changes in your Experian credit file and assistance if you are a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud. Be aware: This service only monitors your Experian credit report and one of your credit scores from Experian — it does NOT monitor your FICO score, the credit score used most frequently by lenders.
For a few dollars more per month, you can use a service like IdentityGuard and receive monitoring of all three credit reports, which is far more valuable. Bottom line: We wouldn’t recommend CreditInform Premier because the information you’ll receive is very limited.
Overview: We’ve stated before that you don’t really need a credit protection program. You can keep tabs on your credit yourself without paying monthly fees. However, some people may opt to get one for the various benefits they offer, including free credit reports more than once a year.
CreditInform Premier would be an excellent program, as it provides a lot of information for only $8.99/month. But the service only monitors the information in your Experian credit report, so you’re not completely informed or protected.
How This Service Works: CreditInform Premier, a service of CapitalOne, is just like many other credit monitoring services. Provide your credit card number and some other personal information over the SSL-encrypted, secure website for membership. There’s no “free trial” available for this service, so this is not the place to go if you just want to see your credit report and then cancel the service.
You’ll gain access to your Experian credit report and “quarterly updates” to your report. These quarterly updates detail important information, including:
- New accounts open in your name
- New inquiries into your credit file
- Accounts in collections
- Account balance increases greater than 20%
- Most other major changes to your Experian credit file
With this status update, you’ll also receive your updated credit score from Experian. This is NOT your FICO score (Experian no longer makes FICO scores available to consumers), but another score; the company doesn’t specify which one, but it’s probably your PLUS score.
Notify Express: In addition to credit report updates, CreditInform Premier offers something called NOTIFY EXPRESS, where you get alerts via email, phone, mail or text messaging any time there are:
- Inquiries to your credit files
- New public records or changes to public records
- Address changes
- Changes to account information
Identity Theft Assistance:CreditInform’s Identity Theft Recovery Unit helps you notify all three credit reporting agencies in the event of identity theft, helps you notify your creditors and law enforcement agencies, and will assist you in filing disputes with the credit reporting agencies in order to change the information on your credit report that appears as a result of fraud. The service also provides a Fraud First Aid Kit to help you restore your credit. In the event of identity theft, you can do all this yourself, without paying a service.
Identity Theft Insurance: CreditInform Premier offers $20,000 in identity theft insurance with no deductible. This is a lot lower than the insurance offered by many other credit monitoring agencies, but the list of expenses this insurance covers is more comprehensive than many other services. Basically, the insurance covers your legal fees, lost wages (of up to $500/week for 4 weeks), attorney fees and more.
- Low price of $8.99
- Identity theft insurance coverage is comprehensive
- NOTIFY EXPRESS lets you see important changes to your Experian credit file
- No free trial
- Only $20K in insurance coverage
- Only monitors and provides your Experian credit report
- Does not provide your real FICO score from any of the credit reporting agencies