Sorry to say, but that ended up being a problem.
- Experian allows you to sign up to receive alerts about changes to your credit history.
- I thought these alerts would be helpful, but so far they’ve been just a pain.
Keeping an eye on your credit is an important thing to do, and you can do it in several ways. First, you can check your credit report every few months to see what your debts are like and make sure you don’t spot any fraudulent activity, like a new loan or a new credit card you don’t recognize. .
But there’s another way to track your credit, and that’s to sign up for alerts through a credit bureau. Last year, I decided to sign up for alerts through Experian, one of the three major information bureaus. My logic was that it would be good for my finances. But in the end, I really regret this decision.
When credit alerts aren’t helpful
Experian’s credit alerts are free, so I thought, why not get notified when changes are made to my credit report? But the nature of these alerts often makes them useless.
Basically, I now get an alert every time an activity is logged. But due to the cryptic nature of these alerts, they end up causing me unnecessary stress.
Recently, I received an alert that my credit rating had dropped. Since I hadn’t applied for new loans or new credit cards and hadn’t been late with bills, I had no idea why this would have happened. I immediately rushed to check my credit score to see what the damage looked like – only to find that my score had dropped three points.
Since my credit score was above 800 to start with, this three point hit was no big deal. Also, to this day, I have no idea why my score dropped by three points, but it’s not worth dwelling on.
Another time I received an alert that my credit utilization rate had increased. Your credit utilization ratio measures how much revolving credit you’re using at one time, and once that ratio exceeds 30%, it can hurt your credit score. Naturally, I rushed to check my credit report to see how high my usage was – only to learn that it had gone from 7% to 9%.
Or, to put it another way, I was still only using a small percentage of my total credit limit. Also, the reason my usage had increased was because my most recent credit card payment hadn’t posted yet.
Stay alert, but protect your sanity
At this point, I think I’ll cancel my Experian alerts and just check my credit report every few months instead. If these messages were sent in a less cryptic way, they would be more useful and less stressful. But because of the way they are worded, I find them extremely useless.
In the above cases, if the alerts had indicated that my credit score had dropped by three points and my usage had jumped to 9%, I would not have been stressed and I would not have had to stop what I was doing and go investigate. But since I can’t change the system, the best I can do is step aside.
If you’re going to sign up for Experian Alerts, be aware that they may not tell the whole story. And while they can certainly be helpful, it’s not unreasonable to forgo these alerts as long as you’re vigilant about checking your credit report regularly.
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