You know you need good (or at least decent) credit to get a mortgage loan to buy a home. But checking your credit score once and then forgetting about it won’t do the trick. Your financial actions such as large purchases and even errors that can and do creep in will impact your credit score. So you have to stay on top of it. Read on to discover the best apps and services to help you track your credit when buying a home in Chicago.
Best Apps to Help Track Your Credit When Buying a Home in Chicago
Allt he apps to help track your credit listed below are available for Apple and Android and are technically free (though some require an account . . . CREDIT.COM
“One of the only truly free credit monitoring apps – most others require you to have a paid subscription to their digital service in order to use the ‘free’ app – the Credit.com mobile app allows you to access your entire credit profile, including your credit score and insight into how it compares to your peers.” With this app, you can see where you currently stand credit-wise as well as any changes in your score and what has caused those changes.
This app is free, but (as we cautioned) requires an active FICO account, which costs a minimum of $20/month. “With this app, though, you can view and monitor your FICO scores – the most widely used credit score – and credit reports. They also provide a FICO Score Simulator, which shows you how your score may be affected if you take certain actions.”
LOCK & ALERT (EQUIFAX)
Equifax’s Lock & Alert allows you to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report for protection against both identity theft and fraud. You can access your Equifax credit report and have a measure of protection (though a credit lock is less secure than a credit freeze).
SCORESENSE SCORES TO GO
Free but requiring a ScoreSense account, “ScoreSense offers credit scores and reports from all three credit bureaus and daily credit monitoring and alerts to changes on your reports.” You also get creditor contact information so that you can easily take care of errors on your credit report, as well as a feature that allows you to review changes in your score.
Best Services to Help Track Your Credit When Buying a Home in Chicago
For the best services that help you track your credit, here are both free and paid ones . . .
CREDITWISE FROM CAPITAL ONE
This is a free service to help you track your credit that provides a decent range of features. “Plus it’s open to anyone – regardless of whether you’re a Capital One cardholder. If you’re a Capital One customer, CreditWise features are integrated into the Capital One mobile app, so there’s no need to also download the CreditWise app.”
Every week, you get an updated VantageScore credit score from TransUnion, along with “credit report updates from TransUnion and Experian in real time” to help you track your credit closely. “Unlike other free services, CreditWise stands out by offering dark web scanning and social security number tracking. As an added tool, you can use the credit score simulator to check the potential effect that certain actions, such as paying off debt or closing a credit card, may have on your credit score.”
You can sign up for this service without having to provide a credit card number. Experian helps you track your credit with a variety of features similar to those of some paid services.
“With this service, you’ll receive real-time alerts about new inquiries and accounts opened in your name, changes to your personal information and suspicious activity detected on your Experian credit report. Plus users get an updated Experian credit report and FICO credit score every 30 days.”
Although it doesn’t offer dark web scans, you do get a one-time dark web surveillance on sign-up. In addition, Experian Boost allows you to “add positive payments for phone and utility bills to your Experian credit file, potentially increasing your credit score.”
This service helps you track your credit by offering an extensive suite of security features. These features “monitor your information on a variety of sites and services, including the dark web, court records and social media (checks if your accounts on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have inappropriate activity that may be perceived as profane or discriminatory).”
You get alerts about potential fraud and with UltraSecure+Credit service complete credit monitoring and identity protection. With this plan, you also get credit score updates from the three major credit bureaus. “You can also track how your score changes over time and simulate how certain actions can impact your score (though you can do this with some free services, like CreditWise).”
On sign-up to any annual plan, you get two months free, or you can opt for the 30-day free trial for a monthly plan. After that, you can sign up for monthly or yearly payment plans.
Finally, keep in mind that, when buying a home in Chicago, tracking your credit is only part of the equation. You also need to know how your credit impacts your home-buying prospects and how that will affect home shopping, making an offer, and negotiating. That’s where your local real estate agent can help. If you’re ready to do more than simply track your credit, contact us today at 773.233.8180.