Best Credit Monitoring Services in Canada 2021

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

Advertiser Disclosure

A credit monitoring service keeps track of activities on your credit file and alerts you when something changes.

It could happen that a lender pulls your records in a hard inquiry, or that a credit card is issued in your name, or that your credit score is updated.

Credit monitoring makes it easier to keep an eye on your finances and potentially avoid the negative impacts of identity theft.

Read on to learn about the best credit monitoring services in Canada, their benefits, downsides, and how to protect yourself from fraud.

Best Credit Monitoring Services in 2021

  • Borrowell: Overall best free credit monitoring service
  • Credit Karma: Best for free TransUnion credit monitoring
  • Mogo: Best for free identity fraud monitoring
  • Equifax Canada
  • TransUnion Canada

What is Credit Monitoring?

Credit monitoring alerts you when there are changes to your credit report.

Your credit report is compiled by the two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, and it contains information relating to your:

  • Identity (name, address, date of birth, employment, Social Insurance Number).
  • Credit history: Credit accounts (loan, credit card, mortgage), payment history, account balances, open and closed accounts, etc.
  • Credit inquiries: Shows a list of lenders who have accessed your credit file.
  • Collections, liens, bankruptcies, court judgements, and other public records

When there are changes to any of these records, a good credit monitoring service sends you an alert by text or email so you can check for errors or fraudulent activity.

For example, if you receive an alert that a new credit card was opened under your name and you haven’t applied for one, it could mean that your identity has been compromised.

Similar alerts are sent when your credit score changes.

A credit score is a three-digit number that summarizes the health of your credit profile.

A good to excellent credit score implies you are creditworthy, while a bad credit score means you will find it challenging to access credit or loans at a reasonable cost.

You can also use a credit monitoring service to track movements in your credit score if you are trying to improve it.

Free Credit Monitoring Services

If you’d rather not pay a monthly fee ($20 or more) to access your credit report and credit score, a free credit monitoring service like Borrowell, Credit Karma, and Mogo can help.

While each service only reports changes from one credit bureau, you can sign up with more than one to get full coverage.

Also, the ‘free’ service means you may only get updates on a weekly or monthly basis.

Borrowell Credit Monitoring

  • Cost: Free
  • Credit Bureau: Equifax
  • Frequency: Weekly monitoring updates

Borrowell is a financial technology company founded in 2014. It was the first financial institution to offer free credit scores in Canada, and has more than 1 million members.

After creating an account, you get emails weekly to check your updated Equifax credit score and report. Borrowell also sends you personalized product recommendations (credit cards, bank accounts, insurance, etc.) from multiple partners, however, there is no obligation to apply for any of them.

The Borrowell app is available on the Google Play Store and App Store, and you can also access the service using a web interface.

Visit Borrowell or read review.

Mogo Credit Monitoring

  • Cost: Free when you get the MogoCard
  • Credit Bureau: Equifax
  • Frequency: Monthly credit score updates and daily monitoring for hard inquiries

Like Borrowell, Mogo is a financial technology company that offers access to free credit scores.

When you sign up for its free identity fraud protection service, Mogo Protect, you receive an alert when a hard inquiry is detected on your Equifax credit file.

If identity fraud is suspected, Mogo provides guidance on the steps to take to resolve the issue.

In addition to free credit scores, Mogo also offers crypto trading, prepaid card, and personal loans. Your subscription to the Mogo prepaid card gives you access to a free monthly credit score check.

Visit Mogo.

Credit Karma Credit Monitoring

  • Cost: Free
  • Credit Bureau: TransUnion
  • Frequency: Weekly

Credit Karma operates in Canada and the United States. When you sign up for this service, you get a notification when there are significant changes in your credit report.

The company was recently acquired by Intuit, the same company that owns the popular tax software, TurboTax.

Paid Credit Monitoring Services

While Canadians can request a free credit report annually from the two credit bureaus, credit score checks and credit monitoring will set you back $20 or more per month.

There are also paid identity theft monitoring and protection services outside of the bureaus including ID Shield, Score Up, ID Assist, Credit Alert, and FirstReport.

Equifax Canada Credit Monitoring

  • Cost: $19.95 – $29.95/month
  • Credit Bureau:Equifax
  • Frequency: Daily

Equifax Canada offers a credit monitoring service that gives you daily access to your credit report and score, plus identity theft assistance, web scans, and more.

The basic service, Equifax Complete Premier, costs $19.95 per month.

If you plan on monitoring the credit of your spouse or partner as well, you can opt for the Equifax Complete Friends and Family package at a $29.95 cost per month.

Related: How To Get Free Equifax Credit Score.

TransUnion Canada Credit Monitoring

  • Cost: $19.95
  • Credit Bureau: TransUnion
  • Frequency: $19.95 per month

TransUnion credit monitoring gives you unlimited access to your credit score and report.

This subscription service costs $19.95 monthly and you receive alerts when there are updates to your report.

Learn more about TransUnion credit scores.

Benefits of Credit Monitoring

Millions of Canadians have had their records exposed in data breaches perpetrated by hackers over the last few years.

What this means is that personal information like your name, email, social insurance number, and date of birth, may be available for sale on the dark web.

If a fraudster attempts to use your stolen information to commit financial fraud, credit monitoring can alert you to it so you can take appropriate steps to limit the damage.

Easy access to your credit score and report also means you can detect errors and rectify them through a formal dispute process.

If you are working on repairing or establishing credit, free credit score updates help you to track your progress and make adjustments where necessary.

Downsides of Credit Monitoring

While it may alert you to potential fraud, credit monitoring will not stop your identity from being stolen. And, by the time you are aware that someone is using your information, the damage may already be done.

If your identity is stolen, you may need an identity restoration service to help you resolve the problem.

Most of the credit monitoring services listed above only track your credit report from one credit bureau.

Credit reports and scores often vary between credit bureaus which means you may need to sign up for more than one credit monitoring product.

The credit score you get may also be different from the one that potential lenders use when they assess your credit application.

Lastly, paid credit monitoring in Canada can be expensive over time at upwards of $240 per year.

How To Protect Yourself from Fraud

Identity theft is more common than ever and involves someone stealing your personal information in order to use it to commit fraud.

Some strategies for protecting yourself include:

  • Limit the personal information you share online.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links. Phishing emails are used to get unsuspecting recipients to click on links and install malware in order to steal their information.
  • Install an anti-virus software on your computer.
  • Use strong passwords for your online accounts. A password manager can help manage unique passwords for different accounts.
  • Review your bank statements regularly
  • Use a credit monitoring service and review your credit report regularly
  • Shred documents containing personal information before discarding them.
  • Don’t’ give out your SIN over the phone unless you are absolutely sure it is legit
  • Keep IDs at a safe location
  • Look over your shoulder when using the ATM.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi’s to access your financial accounts.

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, immediately report it to the police.

You can put a fraud alert on your credit file with Equifax and TransUnion, and also contact your credit card issuer.

Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

Conclusion

You can easily monitor your credit in Canada using free services like Borrowell and Mogo.

If you are looking to improve your credit score, take a look at the Credit Building service offered by KOHO.

If you want to consolidate high interest debt and save on interest fees, these personal loan services can help.

FAQs

What are the best credit monitoring services in Canada?

For free credit monitoring, you can use Borrowell, Mogo, and Credit Karma

How much does credit monitoring cost in Canada?

If you opt for a paid credit monitoring service, the monthly fees can be up to $29.95.

Is credit monitoring worth it?

Yes, it can alert you to identity theft and fraud, and help you to limit the financial damage caused.

Best Credit Monitoring Services in Canada 2021

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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