Pros: Helps you keep track of your credit report
Cons: A tad expensive, only tracks Equifax
We signed up with Privista about 1 1/2 years ago. My husband received a free membership thru our credit card company to try them out. We have been hooked ever since!
What is Privista? It is a company that tracks your credit report thru Equifax for you. They send you alerts, we have ours set for once a week, of anything that happens on your credit report. They let you know when your balances change, such as on credit cards, or when someone runs a credit check on you. They also let you know what your credit rating is, as far as if it is fair, good, etc.
Signing up for Privista was easy. We went to the site and gave them our personal information. At the time we hadn't done this before online, and we were more than a little hesitant, but they need the information to prove that you are who you say you are and to look you up. They offer a secure website, so your information will be as safe as possible.
Once we signed up for Privista we set our alerts. We set them so that we would get an email a week letting us know if there are changes or not in our report. It comes in a newsletter with a link to click thru to log in and check our alerts. We have them all clicked. They have alert options such as if your address changed, your social security number has changed, if someone has checked your credit, if a new account was added, or even if your balance has changed, which is helpful on credit cards in case the number is stolen. Helps you find out, possibly, before it is to late. You set the percent of increase you want to be alerted for. If you use your cards frequently, you might want to make this a little higher of a number.
If you get an alert you can click thru the link that Privista provides and check to see what it was. If there is a chance of fraud, say an account opened that you did not authorize, there is a link to report the fraud on the site. They also provide information on how to contact the company in question. You can click on the name of the company and a java window opens with the information, if Privista can find it. Sometimes they can't, but they tell you how to contact Equifax.
Privista also offers a section called "Credit Insight". It tells you how you rank with your credit. It gives you your credit score and tells you your credit worthiness. They have very poor, poor, fair, good, and very good. They also have a graph telling you how your credit ranks in the nation. They higher the percentage, the better your chances for the best rates and loans.
Privista also offers tips on how to better your credit score. It also offers tips on what to do and not to do to make your credit score better. While Privista does check your credit report weekly, it does not count against you as far as having your report checked too many times. The more you apply for loans, or the more times your credit report is checked, the more it can hurt you. Privista does not come up in this category. It comes up for you to see only, not a possible creditor.
Privista is free for the first 30 days and is $49.95 a year for the "credit Insight" package. It might sound high, but it has helped us keep track of our credit reports and has helped up by letting us know what our score is, so we don't try to apply for something that we wouldn't be able to get approved for. It saves not only the embarrassment of a rejection, but also saves our credit report from another "hit" that might possibly lower our rating.
Privista also offers "ID Guard" for $29.95 a month, which just helps against fraud. They will email you weekly about any changes, but will not give you your credit scores. This offer is nice, but I prefer to spend a little extra and get access to everything they can offer me, which is to not only baby-sit my credit, but help me by offering tips on how to better my rating, and what my rating is. It is all personal preference, really. If your credit is already good, "ID Guard" would be a good way to go, just to help protect you from fraud.
They also offer a one time credit report from Equifax for $8.95. You can view and print it, online, for 30 days. This is a new feature, and one I haven't used.
I have had to contact customer service just once, my account wasn't free as the credit card wasn't joint, and that was about renewing my account. I was unable to afford the $49.95 fee at the time, but plan on rejoining within the next month or so. They were very courteous in responding, and got back to me within 24 hours.
Is this a service you could live without? Sure, but why would you want to? With all of the fraud going on these days, I would rather know what is going on with my credit.