Archive for February, 2011
Go Free Credit is a company that provides credit monitoring services from all 3 credit reporting bureaus as well as access to your real time credit scores. In addition, they offer identity theft protection of up to a million dollars. If you’re concerned about your credit or just want to pay for a service to monitor your score, then Go Free Credit is a viable option.
Try Before You Buy
With Go Free Credit, you get a free TransUnion credit score and $1 credit report as part of a 7-day trial of their credit monitoring service. At the end of your 7-day trial, you will be billed $17.95 per month. You can cancel at any time. You won’t receive credit monitoring for Experian or Equifax until the trial period is over. You may cancel at any time during the trial period
Full Member Benefits
Go Free Credit offers many standard credit monitoring services but for a little less than their competitors. Your $17.95 per month membership gets you all of the following benefits:
- Unlimited Access to your TransUnion Credit Report and Score
- Email alerts for critical changes to your Credit Report
- 3 Bureau monitoring through TransUnion, Experian and Equifax
- Real time credit score from TransUnion
Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is an increasingly common occurrence in today’s world. There’s not much to worry about if you use Go Free Credit. They have very good protection for their members which includes up to $1,000,000 in identity theft protection insurance through their TransUnion credit monitoring service
You can contact their support team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send them mail to 2121 Rosecrans Avenue Suite 1300, El Segundo, CA 90245.
If you are looking for a basic service that will monitor your credit score and reports then Go Free Credit is an affordable choice. You can also try it out for free during the 7-day trial and decide if you like it and want to continue your membership.
YourScoreAndMore is a consumer credit management and protection service company. They provide credit scores, consumer credit information, and identity theft protection services, which empower you to make informed decisions to improve and protect your finances. Their services help you to track and manage your credit behavior, identify potential credit fraud and identity theft risks and get a competitive advantage when negotiating interest rates on credit cards and loans.
Your membership also includes comprehensive educational information and advice on how to safeguard your credit and identity. When the information in your credit report and score is combined with their education tools, identity restoration services, and excellent customer support, you get a comprehensive suite of credit and identity protection services.
Try Before You Buy
The free TransUnion credit score & $1 credit report are available as part of a 7-day trial. You may cancel at any time during the trial period. At the end of your 7-day trial, you will be billed $29.94 per month.
$29.94 per month
Includes your free credit score, access to credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion as well as monitoring and alerts to warn you if someone is trying to steal your identity.
- 3 Bureau monitoring.
- Free credit score.
- You’ll also get email alerts when there are key changes like new accounts and delinquencies, to any of the 3 Credit Reports from TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.
- You’ll receive a complete suite of credit and identity protection tools to monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, social security number and more.
- $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance protection.
You can contact their support team through their website, call them at (888) 387-0890 or write them at:
5951 Encina Rd., Suite 208
Goleta, CA 93117
YourScoreAndMore offers standard services as compared to their competitors but at a much higher price point. They don’t have a variety of pricing plans to choose from like some of their competitors which makes it a one size fits all solution. In addition, they don’t make it easy to find out much more information about them. For this price, there are competitors who offer many more benefits ranging from shopping rewards malls to roadside assistance and additional financial services. This would make it seem that this company is not the best deal in the market place even though they offer many standard services in the industry and have good customer service options.
Bankruptcy has had a negative connotation for a long time, but sometimes it is the only way to turn your life around. If you are wondering if it is an option for you, you can get a free bankruptcy evaluation. Not only will you know whether you qualify for a bankruptcy filing, you can learn just what the different options are. Since whether you can file for bankruptcy depends on the state you live in and your level of debt and income, you will be asked for your zip code as part of the process.
ClearBankruptcy.com has a wide range of information on their site. These are some of the things you can find out:
The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Each of these options is appropriate for different circumstances. Filing for bankruptcy does not mean that all of your debt is automatically wiped out. Sometimes, it is a restructuring of your debt, so you have a chance to repay it.
The median income for your state for different household sizes
Did you know that the median single earner income varies between about $32,000 and about $58,000 depending on which state you live in? Whether you qualify for filing for Chapter 7 depends on how your income compares to the median income in the state you live in.
Alternatives to bankruptcy
These should be looked at before you decide to file for bankruptcy. Even if you find out that these options no longer work for you, you should learn everything you can about budgeting, money and debt management and saving.
Facts about the bankruptcy law
It is never too late to learn about the laws that affect you.
Bankruptcy’s legal protection against creditor harrassment
This is the benefit most people think of first because of all the movies that have been filmed featuring ruthless debt collectors. You do gain protection from such practices when you file for bankruptcy.
How do people get to the point where they are considering filing for bankruptcy? The four main reasons that lead people down that path are a medical event, such as an unexpected illness, job loss, a sudden reduction in income and excessive outstanding balances on credit cards. Do any of these sound familiar?
There are many organizations willing to help you deal with debt before you get to the point where only bankruptcy will work. If you have exhausted debt reduction ideas, it may be time to try the free bankruptcy evaluation. If you find out that you are not a good candidate for bankruptcy, rejoice. That means you overlooked an option you still have open to you. If you find out that you are a good candidate for filing bankruptcy, it is time to learn more about it.
Bankruptcy is a significant financial event. It will show up on your credit report for years to come. Don’t expect to be able to get new loans any time soon. On the other hand, you may be able to save your current home, your car and your furniture by filing for bankruptcy now.
Got internet? Of course, you do, you are reading this. As long as you are not still stuck with a dial-up connection, Magic Jack could save you a lot of money. This little device that you plug into your computer and a regular telephone comes with free unlimited local and long distance calling within the United States and Canada for the first year. You can call landlines and mobile phones and what is even better, they can call you!
What else does it come with?
Free directory assistance
Won’t it be nice not to be charged when you need to call directory assistance to find out the telephone number of your favorite restaurant?
Free call waiting
This is a nice feature whether you are living at the Grand Central station of incoming calls or whether you receive so few calls that every one of them is a call you simply cannot miss. You know if you are expecting two calls in a given day, they will both come at the same time.
Free voice mail
So what happens when you turn off your computer? It is as if you simply aren’t home. Your voice mail will answer the phone. From the outside, it will seem like nothing changed, unless you didn’t have voice mail before, then people will just think you finally upgraded.
Free caller Id
Are you getting tired of those pesky sales calls? You will be able to tell in advance whether you want to accept the call or not.
Free phone number
Every Magic Jack comes with a free telephone number. You can choose from a large selection of area codes available, or even pay extra to get a custom number if it is available.
Free calling to the United States and Canada from abroad
Do you travel a lot? This little device will even work from abroad. It works in most countries. You can find the list at their website. This is a great device if you are on a business trip and want to stay in touch with your family. You know you will have to travel with your laptop anyhow, and you are likely staying at a hotel with internet access, so this will let you call home or even Aunt Sally or Uncle Jim who haven’t joined the electronic age yet without it costing you any extra.
If you have internet, this device will certainly make you wonder why you are still paying for a land line. Just two months of a typical land line charge will pay for the Magic Jack and a year’s worth of unlimited local and long distance calling. That even includes calls to Canada.
And if you really like the feel of a house phone in your hand, relax. Simply plug it into the device, attach the other end of the device to your computer and you are set to go. You can talk on the phone just like you used to.
For those of you wondering how to stay in touch while spending a year in a foreign country, this may be the answer. While Magic Jack is only available for purchase in the United States and Canada, it works in many countries, so you could take one with you and you will be able to chat with all your friends as if you were still in your home town. How amazing is that?
Perhaps you have finally decided to work on your credit history. Consider applying for an Onyx Card. No, this is not another secured credit card with monthly fees to hold you down. This is a credit card limited for use at American Octane, a shopping website. The interesting spin on this one, is that they are advertising that they report to major credit bureaus. I normally don’t recommend spending more in order to establish a good credit history and with it a high credit score, but this one just may work for you. What do you get?
Your payment history is reported to major credit bureaus.
Without this, having a credit card does you no good as far as your credit history is concerned. This company shows a sample customer credit report on their website, so they must be committed to actually following through on this.
You can get a $2500 credit with no credit check.
In order to increase your credit score, you have to show responsible use of credit. So having a $2500 credit limit is nice, definitely higher than many of the secured credit cards out there, since you can purchase something on American Octane and still have a lot of credit left, showing that you don’t have a tendency to max out your credit.
No annual percentage rate on your purchases.
It is nice not to have to pay additional interest on your purchases. Looking at their site, some of those costs appear to be built into their prices. They certainly won’t be competing with the deep discount stores any time soon, but if you can find something at a price you are willing to pay, this is a great way to go.
No monthly or annual fees.
This is a big benefit. If you have looked around for credit cards for those who haven’t established a credit history or have ruined theirs, the monthly fees can be exorbitant. There is not much risk involved with an Onyx Card when most of the fees are waived.
Possibly some products you were planning to buy anyhow.
The site where you can use this credit card has everything from clothes over electronics to housewares. The product selection is a bit limited but hopefully they are working on expanding it.
Low minimum payments.
With this credit card you are required to pay at least $10 per month or 5% of the outstanding balance, or the entire outstanding balance if it is less than $10. Make sure you make those payments. This is how you improve your credit score. The few fees that you can be charged apply when you fail to make these payments. Let’s face it, if you cannot afford to pay $10 per month, you should not have a credit card. Most of the products currently on the website cost less than $100, so you won’t trigger the 5% rule if you only purchase one product at a time.
For those of you who have ruined your credit history some time in the past, this seems like a nice way to add to your recovery measures. Most banks will not give you credit, but with the Onyx Card you can improve that history to the point where they will start considering you an acceptable risk again. And you will already be in the habit of paying your bills every month. This company definitely came up with a unique way to make their products attractive to customers. Whether it works for you depends on whether you can find any product you want to purchase from them.
With the beginning of every new year millions of us decide to make changes to our lives. The gyms are packed in January and start feeling normal again in February as those of us, who really weren’t as resolved to change as we thought, drop out. Make this the year you tackle your finances instead. The first step to any change is assessing where you are at. GoFreeCredit can help you with this.
Wrestling your finances into shape is just as hard as tackling the shape of your body. You need an action plan. A plan designed with you in mind, so that you aren’t doomed to failure before you ever start. Congratulate yourself on having made it to Step 1. Since you are reading this, you have acknowledged that your finances could improve. Here are the next steps to take:
Assess where you are at
Entire books have been written on this step alone. Luckily, it is not that complicated. Make a list of your checking and savings accounts and any other accounts you may own. Don’t forget those retirement accounts you may be contributing to at work. Next figure out your debt. This is where a credit report can come in handy. Check out GoFreeCredit where you can not only receive your credit reports but also your credit scores from the three major credit reporting agencies with a free trial of their credit monitoring service. A credit report is a handy tool. It will tell you if you forgot about any accounts you opened a long time ago.
Write down your financial goals for this year
This is where you list items such as paying down debt, building an emergency fund.
Make a list of your major financial goals for the next decade
Are you hoping to buy a house? Pay for college? Go on the trip of a lifetime? Write it down and attach a price to it, preferably a rather generous price, so you don’t find yourself short funds when you think you should have arrived at the goal.
Find the waste
Take another look at that credit report you received from GoFreeCredit and pretend your life is a job and you have to justify to your boss, that’s you in this case, what those accounts paid for.
Cut the waste
If you find one that is just impulse buying that does not help with your goals, cut the associated credit card up and start paying off any balance remaining in that account. As soon as you have it paid off, that money should flow into your savings for the goals you identified. Look at the rest of your life. Are you living like a saver or a spender? Maybe you don’t really need all of the lights in your home on when you are actually sitting in front of the TV for hours.
Increase the earnings
This may be as simple as putting your money in an interest bearing savings account. You may have to find more ways to make money. It all depends on your goals. Don’t forget that you can increase your earnings by paying less interest on debt. Look at those credit scores you can get from GoFreeCredit and see what you could do to increase them. The higher your scores, the lower the interest rate is at which an institution is willing to lend you money. Money not spent on debt, is money earned as well.
Assess the plan and adjust it as needed
How often you do this depends on how much oversight you need to stick to your plans. At a minimum, you should do this once a year, but when you are first starting out, monthly is good.
Remember, you are the person in charge of your financial future. If you expect something to change, you have to follow through and make the changes. Nobody else will do it for you.
Credit Sesame is a financial company that offers debt management and credit monitoring services. The company was founded in 2010 and is backed by institutional advisors and venture capital firms. The aim of Credit Sesame is twofold, the first is to help consumer’s access smarter loans thus saving money and the second is a service that allows you to take control of your credit. In this review, we will focus on the credit monitoring aspect of Credit Sesame.
So just what does this service entail? Credit Sesame provides:
- A free credit monitoring service which is updated monthly
- Unbiased financial advice which is suited to your unique situation
- Tools to give you a better understanding of your credit score and overall debt position
Credit Sesame will show you your financial position at a glance. They do this by analyzing all your debts such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and other debt. At the end of the analysis, which takes only a few minutes, you will be provided with your free credit score. That’s right….there is no fee for this service.
There is another arm of Credit Sesame which is to find affordable loans for consumers and when a loan is sold, the company takes a fee from the bank so the credit monitoring service is offered to customers at no charge.
With Credit Sesame, in addition to monthly credit updates, consumers are provided with trending graphs which are very simple to use. These graphs allow you to track your financial position at any time.
When you sign up for the service you will need to provide basic information about yourself including your social security number. The company uses the social security number to access your score from Experian. The company states that it takes security very seriously and uses similar protection products like those used at the major banks.
Things to Note
Credit Sesame does not provide you with a FICO score, instead they use the National Equivalency Score from Experian. In addition, the company does not access information from the other credit bureaus. The FICO score is the score most lenders would use when assessing your credit worthiness, and they are available from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, the three main credit bureaus.
The National Equivalency Score provided by Credit Sesame is Experian’s version of the FICO score.
Credit Sesame offers a basic credit monitoring service with the aim of helping you find better loans. It seems as though loan referral is the main business and the credit monitoring is a free way to attract potential customers. The company does not access all three credit bureaus and there is no mention of identity theft services. There are certainly better credits monitoring services on the market. You may need to pay a small fee for what’s out there, but in return you will get a more comprehensive service.
FreeCreditScore.com is a consumer credit reporting site owned by ConsumerInfo.com. Experian is the parent of both companies. ConsumerInfo.com has been in operation since 1995 and serves more than 3.1 million members.
Experian is a major player in the credit industry and the company serves customers in more than 90 countries worldwide.
FreeCreditScore.com offers credit monitoring, credit score monitoring and a credit score centre where they explain how your credit score works and what factors affect it.
Try Before You Buy
FreeCreditScore.com offers a free 7-day trial membership when you order a free credit report. When you sign up you will be required to provide your credit card details, and in order to verify your credit card you will be billed $1. This fee will be reversed within a few days, so in fact you pay nothing for the trial membership.
If you do not intend to use the membership beyond the 7-day period, you must cancel your membership. If you do not cancel, you will be charged $14.95 monthly.
During the free trial and full membership, FreeCreditScore.com will use your Experian information to calculate your credit score. The score shown on the company’s home page, monthly statement and score center is also based on the information at Experian.
If you want FreeCreditScore.com to monitor your TransUnion and Equifax information you will need to pay a one-time fee for your Three-Bureau Report and Scores.
Full Membership Benefits
If you live in New York you are not eligible for the membership, but as a full member you have a number of benefits available to you:
PLUS score and Experian Credit Report:
The PLUS score ranges from 330 to 380 and it is a score model which was developed by Experian. While it is not used by lenders for assessing your credit worthiness, it will give you an indication of your overall credit worthiness.
Daily alerts regarding changes to your credit:
One important step in fighting ID fraud is being aware of unauthorized activities. The daily monitoring alerts will help you identify and address unauthorized transactions quickly.
Fraud Resolution Support:
FreeCreditScore.com staff is available to assist you if your cards have been stolen or lost.
If the products or services of FreeCreditScore.com failed, and you or any enrolled children fall victim to identity theft then the company will reimburse you for certain expenses incurred, subject to their terms and conditions. The guarantee usually covers, stolen funds, legal fees, lost wages, private investigators and other miscellaneous charges. For a full list, please read the extended terms and conditions to familiarize yourself with what is covered.
For added protection and an enhanced service, the following can be purchased alongside your membership:
This product is designed to protect your child’s credit. For an additional $6.95 per month, FreeCreditScore.com will alert you if anyone tries to apply for credit in your child’s name. Only children registered under the ChildSecure product would be protected and the product limits the number to five enrolments.
This is a card registry product that allows FreeCreditScore.com to keep a log of your credit cards. If your cards are lost or stolen then you don’t need to call all the credit card companies, one call to FreeCreditScore.com and they will do all the legwork for you. CardSafe is available for $19.95 every year or just over $1.66 per month.
As a member of FreeCreditScore.com , there are a number of methods to access support staff:
- You can email support@FreeCreditScore.com
- The customer care team is available to answer you queries at 1-877-300-2506. The call centre is open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday- and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time
FreeCreditScore.com offers a basic credit monitoring service which you can build on by adding additional services for additional costs. There are other services on the market which offer monitoring of all three bureaus for the price FreeCreditScore.com charges for Experian monitoring only. At the end of the day you will need to decide if you need the basic service or if a more comprehensive product will better suit your needs.
Formed in 2003, Intelius is an identity protection company that offers a variety of services which gives its customers peace of mind. The services, which we will explore in depth later in the review, range from the provision of credit scores, ID theft protection and credit records monitoring.
In 2008, Intelius delivered more than 3.2 million reports to customers. It is a very popular service as it attracts over 1 million people to its website every day. The company also has over 20 billion records in house.
Since starting in 2003, Intelius has contributed to local and national charities. Today the company continues to provide predictive intelligence to its customers to help them make informed and important everyday financial decisions.
Test the Product
To determine if the Intelius product is right for you, there is a 7-day trial available. To access the trial, you will need to activate an Identity Protect membership which will provide the following services:
- A individual identity information report
- Identity monitoring service which monitors your credit and debit cards, social security number, public records and bank accounts
- Email fraud alerts
- ID theft insurance and assistance with identity recovery
If this service is not right for you, you can cancel within the 7 day period and pay nothing. If you love the product, then do nothing and the payment card you provided when you signed up will be charged the monthly fee of $19.95 plus tax. This fee will stand for each month you are a member.
Even if you use the product for a month or two, you can still cancel at any time; you are not tied into a contract period.
One disclaimer to note however is that the credit monitoring associated with the Identity Protect Membership starts the Sunday after you enrol so depending on the day you enrol you may not get this benefit immediately as part of your free trial.
As a full member you can enjoy the following benefits:
Instant credit score and credit report –
This benefit allows you to see who has been viewing your information and you can track and view your own credit score.
Identity Theft Protection
Intelius provides $1 million worth of ID theft insurance and an ID recovery kit. In addition you have access to the fraud resolution experts 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Public and Credit Reports Monitoring
This service allows you to monitor changes to your public records and credit reports. Intelius will also send you alerts for signs of possible identity theft.
It is good to note that as part of the Identity Protect service, whether you opt for the trial or the full membership, you will have access to all 3-Bureau credit monitoring reports.
If you want added services you can purchase an annual subscription of TrueRep for $7.50 per month and this time you are tied into a one-year contract. The cost for a month-to-month subscription is $9.95 per month. This service allows you to take control of your online reputation. You can control what information is posted about you online. Much like a credit score you will be assigned a reputation number out of 100 and the higher the number the more reputable you are.
There are a number of ways to contact Intelius support staff. Customer support is available Monday to Friday from 5.00am to 8.00 pm and 6.00am to 4.30pm standard time on Saturday. The FAQ section offers a host of information to help you find the answers you need.
Intelius offers comprehensive credit monitoring and identity theft to consumers. If you want additional services like TrueRep or other search products, then you can subscribe to these separately. The range of services offered by Intelius is designed to protect you not only financially but they provide information to help you make decisions that can protect you physically as well. Overall the ID theft and credit monitoring services are quite adequate when compared to other products on the market.
TrueCredit is a service offered by TransUnion Interactive Inc. TransUnion has provided information management and credit management services for over 40 years. Their main aim is to promote greater consumer understanding and awareness of credit so that they can better manage their finances. In addition the services are also offered to businesses so they can better manage customer relations and minimize risk.
TrueCredit offers fraud-watch emails and TransUnion data.
Try Before You Buy
If you are unsure if TrueCredit will meet your needs, there is an option to trial the service for 7 days. This 7 day trial gives you access to credit monitoring services with one free credit score. Alerts regarding changes to your credit will be limited to one bureau only. To benefit from monitoring with alerts from Equifax and Experian, you will need to purchase a full membership.
Consumers can cancel the service at any time during the trial period at no cost. If the service is adequate and you wish to continue, no action is required and the monthly cost would be $11.95. New York residents would need to pay additional taxes.
To sign up for the free trial, you would need to provide basic personal information and verify your identity.
Full Membership Benefits
As a full member, you will benefit from a free TransUnion credit score plus unlimited updates. Any critical changes to your credit score that occur at the three bureaus will be emailed to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes fraudulent activity, new accounts, late payments and new inquiries.
TrueCredit also offers credit trending and personalized debt analysis. As part of the credit trending service, customers will have visual representation in the form of graphs and charts which shows their income, debt, available credit etc. ID theft specialists are available around the clock, toll free, if there is a problem of that nature. Members will also have the ability to unlock and lock their TransUnion credit report.
TransUnion offers a free newsletter and you can opt-in for this service during the ordering process.
You can cancel your monthly subscription at any time.
Identity Theft Protection
To help you protect your credit and identity, TrueCredit offers specialist information to educate consumers on ways to prevent identity theft. There is an online library filled with strategies that you can access. In addition, TrueCredit provides up to $25,000 ID theft insurance.
After searching the company website, it does not seem as if TrueCredit offers any additional protection services. It is pretty much what you see is what you get. And the main service remains the credit monitoring.
TransUnion offers several ways to contact customer support and there are dedicated representatives available for the following:
Credit disputes: 800-916-8800 Monday – Friday Hours: 8 am – 11 pm EST
Credit reports and scores: 800-888-4213
Fraud and identity theft: 800-680-7289
The service offered by TrueCredit is very basic. While it may meet the needs of the average consumer, for those wanting enhanced identity theft services and protection, there are better products on the market.
Superior products are available for comparable costs or just a little more money. Another point is that there are no add on services. While most other services allow you to add to the basic package for a small fee, TrueCredit does not provide this option.
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