After Discover changed its credit monitoring vendor, I have looked for a replacement service. Since the three national credit bureaus all offer credit monitoring services, I have already reviewed the credit monitoring services by Equifax and Experian. Today's post covers TransUnion's service: TrueCredit.
Since I already knew the name of TransUnion's service, I performed a Google search with "TrueCredit" and easily found the site. The first search result included a link to the TrueCredit home page, and that's where I went:
First impressions mean a lot. The site presented easy-to-read bulleted lists of the benefits and features of TrueCredit. Moreover, each bullet item included a link to examples of the:
- Credit report formats from all 3 national credit bureaus
- Credit scores from all 3 national credit bureaus
- Security freeze tool (e.g., lock and unlock TransUnion credit report)
- Alerts and notification about changes to a consumer's credit reports
- Details about the ID-theft insurance in easy-to-read language
- Details about credit management tools and advice
The site didn't offer any explanations of why the TrueCredit service is better than others. The user is left to make their own comparisons and analysis. For example, TrueCredit offers more insurance than Equifax and Experian. The TrueCredit site did not make confusing claims about getting a free credit report. Simply, the TrueCredit site explained the service.
I found the TrueCredit site far easier to use than both the Equifax and Experian sites. I didn't have to hunt for the information. The site delivered it easily and quickly. The main page didn't provide a confusing array of services. the main page provided information only about the TrueCredit service.
Consumers need access to the full text of all three credit reports, not just one. And the TrueCredit service delivers on this need, unlike the Equifax "3-in-1 Monitoring" service. (To learn more, read my review of the Equifax service.)
My first impression: the site main page did not detract from the brand. The site page gave the impression that TrueCredit and TransUnion might be a satisfactory brand to do business with.
If I've learned one thing when evaluating credit monitoring services it's this: closely read the page content. It would have been better if the TrueCredit site also presented the full text of the insurance agreement and coverages. It didn't, so the user is left to rely on the summary information. This is needed to fully understand exactly what type of performance a consumer can expect from TrueCredit insurance and credit resolution. As a wise person once said, "the devil is in the details."
I know from prior research that all three national credit bureaus announced offshore outsourcing in 2003, and continue to do so today. (I haven't seen any evidence since to the contrary.) To stay competitive and to manage costs, credit bureaus currently offshore outsource portions of their credit reporting operations, and likely do the same for their credit monitoring services. I would expect TransUnion to mention its offshore outsourcing arrangements so consumers can make a truly informed purchase.
I find it very interesting that none of the sites (e.g., Experian, Equifax, and TrueCredit) provide quotes from satisfied users. I can only assume that either the services don't have any satisfied users, or the services consider this content irrelevant. To me, it's very relevant. I want to understand if other consumers like me found the TrueCredit service helpful. Nor do I want to wait or rely solely upon on the results of the proposed FTC survey.
The bottom line: while the TrueCredit service presented itself far better than both Equifax and Experian, I have the advantage of knowing somebody who has had poor experiences with TrueCredit's customer service center, which seems to be located outside the USA. So, consumers should assume that TrueCredit uses customer service call centers located outside the USA; and hence your personal information crosses country borders, too.
Is TrueCredit for you? You'll have to decide for yourself. For me, I will continue to look at the credit monitoring services from the independents before making a decision. I say this partly because of the offshore outsourcing activities by the three national credit bureaus, but also because I'm not convinced that TrueCredit is indeed the best service available. For example, the Suze Orman Identity Theft Kit contains several features which the TrueCredit service lacks. Many consumers may consider these additional features important.
During the upcoming weeks, I will review more credit monitoring services. You can easily follow the reviews by signing up for either e-mail alerts or the RSS feed. Links for both are in the column on the right.