10 Best Credit Monitoring Services for Business Owners 2021

Our top credit monitoring services can help you track and understand your creditworthiness.
Best overall
myFICO
myFICO
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    Variety of FICO score versions
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    Score analysis
Best free option
Experian
Experian
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    Free plan
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    FICO score monitoring
Best for identity theft
Identity Force
IdentityForce
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    Lots of identity theft features
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    Score simulator
Best for families
Identity Guard
IdentityGuard
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    Discounted family plans
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    Coverage for adults and children
Best for Costco members
CompleteID logo
CompleteID
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    Affordable plans for Costco members
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    24/7 support

Pretty much everyone should keep an eye on their credit score―but business owners have even more reason to monitor their credit. 

Lenders use your personal credit score to decide whether or not you qualify for a business loan (and to determine the loan amount and interest rate you qualify for). So if you don’t know your credit score or don’t know what’s in your credit report, you could get surprised with a loan rejection you can’t afford.

To help you avoid those sorts of surprises, we’ve found the best credit monitoring services out there. These services will help you feel confident when your credit looks good and quickly spot problems when it doesn’t. 

Best credit monitoring services 2021

Brand
Starting price
Experian monitoring
Equifax monitoring
TransUnion monitoring
Get monitoring
myFICO$19.95/mo.
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Some plans
Some plans
Experian$0.00/mo.
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IdentityForce$23.95/mo.
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IdentityGuard$16.67/mo.
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CompleteID$8.99/mo.
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Credit Karma$0.00/mo.
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PrivacyGuard$19.99/mo.
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LifeLock$9.99/mo.
Some plans
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Some plans
CreditWise$0.00/mo.
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TransUnion$24.95/mo.
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Data effective 1/8/2021. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

myFICO: Best overall credit monitoring for business owners

Pros
Pro Bullet Variety of FICO score versions
Pro Bullet Score analysis and guidance
Pro Bullet Score simulator
Cons
Con Bullet Experian-only monitoring on cheapest plan
Con Bullet Expensive higher-tier plans

myFICO offers our favorite credit monitoring service for business owners. Why? Well, one big reason is in the name.

See, myFICO is one of the few credit monitoring services out there that monitors your FICO credit score and not your VantageScore (Experian is the only other service on our list that uses FICO scores). That means that it’s also one of the few services that shows you the same credit score that your lenders will look at.

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Fico score vs. VantageScore

Not sure how FICO scores and VantageScores compare? We break down the differences below.

That alone is enough to make us love myFICO. But myFICO doesn’t give you just one FICO score―it lets you see 28 different FICO score versions. (There are specific FICO scores for things like auto loans and home mortgages.) So whether you’re applying for a business loan, buying a new car to get to and from your business, or looking into a new house for your home-based business, myFICO will give you the info you need. 

Plus, myFICO also has great monitoring features, from credit alerts to reports. It offers analysis and guidance about your credit score, so you can see how you can improve it and what lenders will think of it. myFICO even has a score simulator, so you can see if taking out a new business credit card would help or hurt your chances of getting approved for a line of credit later. 

We do want to note that myFICO’s cheapest plan only gives you credit monitoring for Experian―not Equifax or TransUnion. If you want monitoring (and scores and reports) for all three credit bureaus, you’ll need to get myFICO’s higher-tier plans. And frankly, those get a little pricey.

Even so, myFICO gives you lots of credit monitoring services and information―and it gives you access to the same scores lenders use. That makes myFICO a very valuable service, and our favorite credit monitoring service. 

Experian: Best free option

Pros
Pro Bullet Free monitoring and reports
Pro Bullet FICO score monitoring
Pro Bullet Credit card and loan matching
Cons
Con Bullet No Equifax or TransUnion monitoring
Con Bullet Pricey one-time tri-bureau report

If you don’t want to pay for credit monitoring, Experian’s free credit service is your best bet.

In part, that’s because Experian (like myFICO) lets you see your actual FICO score―not a VantageScore. So you’ll have more insight into what your potential lenders will see. That puts Experian’s free service above most paid services.

And despite being free, Experian still gives you all the essential credit monitoring services. You’ll get an updated Experian credit report each month, alerts about credit changes (like credit checks or new accounts), and FICO score tracking. The only real downside? You only get Experian monitoring. If you want to see your scores and reports from Equifax or TransUnion, you’ll have to pony up $40 for a one-time report. 

Even with those limitations, Experian offers better credit monitoring than you’d find from any other free credit monitoring service (and many paid ones too).

IdentityForce: Best for identity theft protection

Pros
Pro Bullet Lots of ID theft protection features
Pro Bullet Score simulator
Pro Bullet 3-bureau monitoring
Cons
Con Bullet No FICO scores
Con Bullet Credit features only on high-tier plan

IdentityForce offers solid credit monitoring―but it also offers some of the best identity monitoring out there.

IdentityForce has just about every identity monitoring feature you can think of. From bank accounts to court records to social media (and more), IdentityForce monitors a lot of different channels for fraudulent activity. IdentityForce also has tools to make any identity theft right, including identity theft insurance, identity restoration, and remediation for deceased family members.

And of course, IdentityForce has some strong credit monitoring features too―though you’ll have to pay extra to get them. But with monitoring, scores, and reports for the three main credit bureaus, it’s worth the extra cost. IdentityForce even gives you a score simulator so you can see how choices (like taking out a business loan) will affect your credit score.

With solid credit and identity protection features, IdentityForce is great for business owners who want to get more from their credit monitoring. 

IdentityGuard: Best for families

Pros
Pro Bullet Discounted family plans
Pro Bullet Coverage for adults and children
Pro Bullet Monitoring for all 3 bureaus
Cons
Con Bullet No FICO scores
Con Bullet No credit monitoring on value plan

Is your romantic partner also your business partner? Then let us introduce you to IdentityGuard’s family plans.

IdentityGuard has both individual plans and family plans. The family plans get you coverage for all adults in your household, so you can keep an eye on both your credit and your partner’s credit (and identities). You can even add children to your family plan, if you want. 

No matter who you add, your family plan will only cost between 30% and 60% (depending on the plan tier you choose) more than an individual plan, making it cheaper than buying multiple individual plans. We do advise paying for a higher-tier plan though. IdentityGuard’s Value plan has no credit monitoring features, so you’ll want to get at least the mid-tier Total plan.

Put simply, whether you want credit monitoring for just you and your spouse or for a much larger household, IdentityGuard makes it affordable.

CompleteID: Best for Costco members

Pros
Pro Bullet Affordable plans for Costco members
Pro Bullet 24/7 customer support
Pro Bullet Monitoring for all credit bureaus
Cons
Con Bullet No FICO scores
Con Bullet Exclusivity to Costco members

Lots of business owners love Costco and enjoy a business membership there. If you’re one of them, you qualify for discounted credit monitoring through CompleteID.

CompleteID offers credit and identity monitoring exclusively for Costco members. And as you’d expect from any Costco perk, it’s very cheap. In fact, Complete ID offers the cheapest paid plans of any service on this list. 

The discount price doesn’t make CompleteID a discount product though. You get monitoring for all three credit bureaus, monthly (Vantage) credit score updates, identity theft monitoring, and more. Plus, CompleteID offers 24/7 customer support to all customers (other services either don’t have 24/7 support or only offer it to customers who have verified fraud cases). 

In other words, CompleteID gives you a good amount of bang for very little buck―as long as you’ve got a Costco membership to get you access.

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Honorable mentions

Credit Karma

Credit Karma offers free credit monitoring for TransUnion and Equifax. You’ll get alerts about credit changes, tracking of your VantageScore, and regular credit reports. That’s not a bad value for a free product, but we prefer Experian since it gives you a FICO score. 

That said, you should consider using both Experian and Credit Karma. That way, you can keep track of your credit profiles with all three credit reporting agencies―at no cost to you. 

PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard has plans for credit monitoring, identity monitoring, or both. When you enroll in a PrivacyGuard credit monitoring plan, you get score tracking and reports for all three bureaus on a monthly basis. You’ll also get access to a hotline where you can get help understanding your credit report.

All that makes PrivacyGuard a perfectly good credit monitoring service. We just think that the companies recommended above offer a little more value.

LifeLock

LifeLock primarily deals with identity monitoring, but it offers credit monitoring as a part of that. But LifeLock has less robust credit monitoring than other services. That cheapest plan only monitors one bureau, and it doesn’t get you any scores or reports. Even with the most expensive plan, you get only monthly scores and annual reports.

That said, its cheapest plan is very affordable (only a couple bucks more than CompleteID per month). So if you want cheap identity monitoring and can settle for basic credit monitoring, LifeLock could work for you.

CreditWise

CreditWise is another free monitoring service. You’ll get alerts about changes to your Experian or TransUnion credit report, and you can track your TransUnion credit score. CreditWise also has a score simulator, so you can predict how certain actions will affect your credit score.

Ultimately, CreditWise is a fine free service. But again, we think most business owners will prefer getting a FICO score from Experian’s free monitoring service.

TransUnion

TransUnion’s paid credit monitoring service gives you monitoring for the three credit bureaus, plus daily TransUnion score and reports updates. It also offers credit guidance and analysis, so you can get better informed about how to improve your credit score.

All that gives TransUnion enough value that you might like it for your credit monitoring needs (but we think you’ll like the services above more).

Credit monitoring for business owners

Now that you’ve seen our favorite credit monitoring services, let’s chat for a second about how credit scores affect small-business loans and what you need to know about credit monitoring.

Applying for business loans

As we mentioned above, credit monitoring is a good idea for just about everyone. But as a business owner, there’s a good chance you’ll want to apply for financing at some point (whether that’s a business loan, line of credit, or something else).

When you apply for that financing, your lender will perform a credit inquiry as part of your application. Then they’ll use your credit score (along with factors like your business revenue and time in business) to decide whether or not to lend to you.

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What credit score do you need to get a business loan?

Traditional lenders (think banks) will usually want to see a FICO credit score in the upper 600s. You can, however, find business loans for bad credit from online lenders. These lenders will accept much lower credit scores (as low as 500).

Your credit score also affects your interest rates and how much money you can borrow. The higher your credit score, the lower the rate and the larger the loan you’re likely to qualify for.

In other words, credit scores affect small-business financing in several ways. So you should definitely monitor your credit and work toward getting a higher credit score―but you want to make sure you’re looking at the right credit score. 

FICO scores vs. VantageScores

Earlier in this article, we noted that only a couple credit monitoring services give you a look at your FICO score. The others give you a VantageScore instead. But why does that matter?

Well, a FICO score and a VantageScore are two different ways to calculate a personal credit score. So they’re both doing the same thing―using numbers to predict whether or not you’ll repay your credit―they do it a little differently.

For example, your VantageScore will be the same across credit bureaus, while each credit bureau calculates its own FICO scores. Likewise, you can get a VantageScore as long as you have at least one credit account―but to get a FICO score, that account has to be at least six months old.   

But the most important difference (at least for business owners)? Most lenders look at your FICO score―not your VantageScore. So while a VantageScore can help you get an idea of how your credit is doing in general, your FICO score will help you more accurately predict whether or not you’ll get a business loan.

Personal credit vs. business credit

FICO scores and VantageScores aren’t the only types of credit scores out there. You also need to know about the difference between your personal credit score and your business credit score.

Your business has a credit score, a lot like you do. In fact, there are three major business credit bureaus that track your business’s credit file―just like with your personal credit. 

Of course, business credit scores get calculated differently than personal credit scores do, and your business credit report will have different information in it than your personal credit report does.

But since many lenders also look at your business credit score, it’s a good idea to get business credit monitoring in addition to personal credit monitoring.

Credit monitoring FAQ

How do I choose the best credit monitoring service?

To choose your credit monitoring, you’ll need to think about a few factors:

  • Your budget
  • Which credit bureaus you care about
  • How much information you want (like just a score versus a full report)
  • If you prefer getting a FICO score or a VantageScore
  • Other monitoring features you want (like identity monitoring)

As you answer those questions, you should narrow down your choices pretty quickly. (For example, if you want a free service that gives you a FICO score, Experian will become the obvious best option.)

Can I get free credit monitoring?

Yes, you can get free credit monitoring. In fact, we recommend three different free credit monitoring services (Experian, CreditKarma, and CreditWise).

Just note that you'll have to pay for a service if you want to get the most comprehensive information possible (like monitoring for all three credit bureaus).

(Oh, and don't forget that you can get yearly free credit reports―one from each bureau―from AnnualCreditReport.com.)

Is ID Watchdog a good credit monitoring service?

Some people really like ID Watchdog, but it didn’t make our list of recommended credit monitoring companies. Why? It’s owned by Equifax―you know, the company responsible for one of the largest data breaches?

After a disaster like that, it will be a long time before we trust Equifax with monitoring or protecting anything. 

The takeaway

With the credit monitoring services recommended above, you can better understand your credit score and credit file, stay on top of any suspicious activity, and make sure your credit history is accurate. Doing so will give you peace of mind―and it can put you in a better situation for future financing.

We found both free credit monitoring and paid services, monitoring for just one bureau or for all three, and both basic credit monitoring and advanced identity protection features. So no matter your budget and your needs, one of our credit monitoring service picks will work for you.

Lenders care a lot about your credit score, but they look at other factors too. Learn more about other business loan requirements.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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