Turkey meatloaf is a favorite in our house! This healthy meatloaf recipe made with lean ground turkey is easy and delicious.

If you like meatloaf as much as I do, you might also enjoy this Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf or this Bacon Topped BBQ Turkey Meatloaf. Serve it with garlic mashed potatoes or loaded cauliflower mash and a vegetable on the side and dinner is done!

Source: skinnytaste.com

Best Free Credit Report Site of 2019

Keeping tabs on your credit report is one of the best ways you can safeguard your identity. Fortunately, there are a couple of different ways you can obtain a free credit report.

One trick is to sign up for a free trial from a comprehensive credit monitoring service, get your report, and cancel the trial before you’re charged (although we’d recommend keeping the service to monitor your credit). The second way is to sign up with one of the free credit report sites that don’t always offer full reports, but do provide many helpful credit tools.

My recommendation is to go with IdentityForce. It has some of the most extensive monitoring tools out there, you’ll get a 30-day test drive, and it’s always been one of our top picks for credit monitoring. (After the trial period, you’ll need to either cancel, or choose between subscription plans.)

The Simple Dollar’s Best Free Credit Report Sites for 2019

  1. IdentityForce — offers a 30-day free trial only
  2. Identity Guard®
  3. AnnualCreditReport.com
  4. Credit Sesame
  5. Credit Karma
  6. Quizzle®

Just note that all of these are not free forever, however, you do get what you pay for if you keep the service beyond the trial period. Free credit report websites can be tremendously useful, but keep in mind that the ultimate goal of these sites are to generate revenue. Sites like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, and Quizzle® are all partnered with one of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Their goal is to get your data in exchange for a free credit report so they can serve you more specific offers in the future.

Here are two things to be aware of:

  1. The credit report sites only provide access to the information found on the specific report of the credit reporting agency they’re partnered with.
  2. Because they have secure access to your financial information, be aware that you will be pushed products that are tailored to appeal to you and your financial situation.

Also, most of the free credit report sites provide a FICO score, which is used by over 90% of lenders to determine your creditworthiness. If you need to monitor your FICO score, consider signing up with myFICO, which also monitors identity theft.

A Summary of Each Free Credit Report Option


Try Now For Free

IdentityForce is a reputable free credit report site with high customer service ratings. It offers a 30-day free trial for both UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit services. You can either cancel your IdentityForce subscription before the free trial expires, or select from the two services that range from $13 to $20 per month.

While the UltraSecure plan delivers credit monitoring services, only the more expensive UltraSecure+Credit allows subscribers to view their personal credit reports. Despite this limitation, IdentityForce delivers comprehensive monitoring and alerting options at a competitive price point.

Identity Guard®

Try Now For Free

Identity Guard® is a comprehensive credit monitoring and identity-theft protection service. It offers a full-feature 30-day free trial. You can either cancel your subscription prior to the end of your free trial or select from a range of plans that cost from $10 to $25 per month depending on the level of service you need.

Remember, Identity Guard® only offers a 30-day free trial and will require your credit card information when you sign up. It’s then your responsibility to cancel the service before the free trial ends. If you don’t do this, your service will continue and you will be charged according to the terms you agreed to when you signed up. Make sure you read all the fine print so that there are no unwelcome surprises.

Here are some of the features included in the free trial:

  • Three credit scores with three-bureau credit report updates
  • Detailed analysis showing what is affecting your credit
  • Three-bureau credit monitoring with prompt email alerts
  • Unlimited toll-free customer service
  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Lost wallet protection
  • Address change alerts
  • Account takeover alerts
  • Public records monitoring



The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates that U.S. residents may obtain a free copy of its credit reports every year from each of the three major nationwide credit-reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website authorized to fill orders for your free annual credit report.

Unless you’re paying for a more comprehensive credit-monitoring service like Identity Guard® — which provides monthly reports from all three major credit reporting agencies — you should take advantage of this opportunity.

You will receive a copy of the reports, which can be requested for instant delivery online or shipped within 15 days if requested by mail or phone. But if you also want your credit score, you will have to pay a fee of $8.

Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame is partnered with TransUnion and unique in that it has branched out into the identity theft market and provides up to $50,000 identity-theft insurance and ID restoration assistance. It is also more highly monetized than their counterparts, Credit Karma™ and Quizzle, and tailors its credit tools to push products more than advice. However, despite the barrage of ads, identity theft insurance is a welcome bonus from a free service.

With Credit Sesame, you can expect:

  • TransUnion credit report alerts
  • Analysis of credit and loans
  • $50K identity-theft insurance and ID restoration help
  • Management of all credit and debt in one place
  • Convenience of a mobile app

Credit Karma

Credit Karma™

Credit Karma is exclusively partnered with TransUnion. The company is known for its wide array of credit tools, including a credit report card, credit comparison, credit score simulator, calculators, and advice columns. The website is intuitive and user-friendly — and you will likely see fewer ads than with its competitors, Credit Sesame and Quizzle. The biggest downside is that you’ll only get a partial one-bureau credit report.

With Credit Karma, you can expect:

  • TransUnion credit report alerts
  • Analysis of credit and loans
  • Management of all credit and debt in one place
  • Credit report card
  • Credit Score Simulator



Quizzle® is exclusively partnered with Equifax, though it used to partner with Experian. With this new development, consumers now have access to all three major credit bureaus through a free online monitoring service.

Quizzle® is more transparent about the fact that it provides financial advice tied to products that fit your financial information. It’s also partnered with some big loan companies, like Quicken Loans.

Quizzle is unique in that it provides a full credit report from credit reporting agency Equifax every six months. Its counterparts, Credit Sesame and Credit Karma™, only provide partial reports from their respective partnered credit-reporting agencies.

With Quizzle®, you can expect:

  • Equifax credit report every six months
  • VantageScore updates
  • A breakdown of each account, including the date it was opened
  • No purchase or credit card required
  • Free credit card and home loan recommendations

Which is Better: A Free Credit Report or a Credit Monitoring Service?

Under U.S. law, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. To obtain this report, you can go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

Since you can get your credit report for free, you might be wondering why you would pay for a credit monitoring service. Here are a few good reasons:

Your free credit report doesn’t include your credit score

Unfortunately, the free credit report to which you’re entitled does not include your FICO score, the number that lenders, landlords, employers, and others use to assess your creditworthiness. This three-digit number ranges from a high of 850 to a low of 300. The higher the score, the less of a risk you represent, which means you can snag a lower interest rate on loans, a lower price on insurance, or even a lower security deposit on that new apartment.

Note that there are a couple of places where you can obtain your score, including the credit-monitoring services that we profile below. Some major banks and credit-card companies currently provide credit scores online or on statements, and more are starting to roll out such a service.

Monthly monitoring gives you the best shot at catching identity theft

If you sign up for a paid credit monitoring service, you’ll be notified if someone fraudulently opens an account in your name. These services typically also offer experts who can help you combat fraud. Without such a service, there’s no telling how long it will be until you become aware of fraud, and you’ll have to do most of the legwork to fix it.

Your credit report may not be accurate

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), errors in credit reports are fairly common. Details that could be incorrect in your credit report include:

  • Identity errors
  • Incorrect information for opening new accounts
  • Data management errors
  • Balance errors

The CFPB reports that you should check your credit report frequently for these errors and report them to the proper credit reporting agency when you find them.

Do you only look at your checking account once per year? Checking your credit is just as important.

You may be able to access your credit reports more often than just annually, but not under the best circumstances. Under federal law, you have the right to an additional free credit report based on the following:

  1. You are the victim of identity theft.
  2. A company takes adverse action against you, including denying you employment or denying your application for credit and/or insurance.
  3. You are unemployed and will be actively seeking employment within the next 60 days.

Free Credit Report Scams

Be leery of companies that have “free credit report” or “free credit score” in the name. Only AnnualCreditReport.com is authorized to fill orders for your free annual credit reports.

Other websites that claim to offer “free” services often come with strings attached, most of which are an initial free service that comes with a fee after the trial period. If you’re being asked to provide any payment information upon signing up for a “free” service, make sure you investigate further. The two trial-based services I recommended earlier (Identity Guard® and IdentityForce) are very upfront about the trial periods and don’t attempt mislead customers with tricky wordplay.

In addition to fees, know that AnnualCreditReport.com and the nationwide credit-reporting companies will not reach out to you to obtain personal information. If you’re contacted by anyone claiming to be one of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) or AnnualCreditReport.com, do not provide any of your personal information and make sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]

Who Has Access to My Credit Report?

Don’t be afraid your credit report is out there for the taking. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects you when it comes to who can access your credit reports. You have to give written permission to anyone requesting access to your report including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Insurance companies to underwrite your insurance
  • Lenders or credit card agencies when you apply for credit
  • Employers
  • Potential landlords

In order for a business to obtain a copy of your credit report, they must have a “permissible purpose,” as defined in section 604 of the FCRA.

Empower Yourself With Free Credit Reports

The best thing you can do for yourself and your financial future is to take responsibility and ensure your credit reports are accurate. The amount of money you can save from having the best possible credit score is monumental.

There is often a misconception that credit is something you own, bestowed upon you along with your Social Security number, a long list of freedoms, and access to free education. The truth is that credit is a product.

We may feel we should have the right to full access and knowledge of accurate credit reports since they are used to determine many of our financial opportunities. The reality of the situation is that credit reporting agencies do the dirty work of continuously compiling up-to-date information on your home address, financial obligations, and payment history. This information is then sold as detailed reports to third parties, such as creditors, employers, and insurers, in order to determine one’s creditworthiness.

At a minimum, request a copy of your credit reports from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. If it’s in your budget, sign up for one of the credit and identity-theft monitoring services like IdentityForce to ensure you’re proactively monitoring your credit score. That way, you can aim to pay the least amount of interest on all of your future investments, saving you huge amounts in the long run.


Vinegar Based Coleslaw Recipe

Vinegar Based Coleslaw Recipe – Try this amazingly delicious and easy to make side dish for a Vinegar Based Coleslaw recipe at your next barbecue or backyard get together!

If you are looking for a ridiculously easy recipe for slaw, then look not further than this Vinegar Based Coleslaw recipe.  It definitely seems like vinegar coleslaws has been all the craze in the coleslaw world the last few years.

Source: billyparisi.com

Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2019

Independently researched content by us. Free financial advice for you. To do that, we may get compensation when you click on our partners’ products.

In a digital world awash in personal data, identity theft is already rampant and only growing more commonplace. If you’re worried you or your family could become a victim to fraud, the best credit monitoring services can help protect your personal information and alert you to signs of fraud.

Identity theft is a problem that continues to change and evolve with technology, so there’s no reason to expect hackers to give up on stealing identities in 2019. Based on this unfortunate fact, we conducted some serious research on the best credit monitoring services available today. The focus was mainly on comprehensive credit monitoring with identity theft protection, but we also found some great options that work well for low-cost credit report monitoring.

According to a a study by the Insurance Information Institute, $16 billion in wealth was stolen from 15.4 million consumers through various forms of identity theft in 2016. You’ve probably heard about the data breaches at high-profile companies, including JPMorgan, Target, Home Depot, and eBay. In 2018, the personal information of more than 140 million consumers was compromised — by a single breach at credit bureau Equifax. And several years ago, health-insurance giant Anthem even suffered a data breach attack that impacted over 80 million patient and employee records, potentially exposing vital information like names, birth dates, and even Social Security numbers. That data breach cost Anthem $115 million to settle the lawsuits.

If all that worries you — and it probably should, because the problem is getting worse, not better — enlisting a service to keep an eye on your credit profile may be a good idea.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Credit Monitoring Services

  • Identity Guard
  • LifeLock
  • IdentityForce
  • Experian
  • TransUnion

The services above are at the top of their class, and if you’re concerned about your personal data falling into the wrong hands, the best credit monitoring services can help ease your mind. Identity theft keeps becoming more of a problem. Account takeovers tripled from 2016 to 2017, according to the III, and losses were at $5.1 billion. While technology is improving our lives in many respects, it’s also making us more susceptible to online theft.

Best Comprehensive Credit Monitoring Services

The first three products listed below offer full credit monitoring services, plus identity theft protection and access to your credit report. If you’re looking for the most comprehensive services to stay protected in 2019, these are your best options.

Best Overall: Identity Guard®

Based on our research, Identity Guard is the best credit monitoring service currently on the market. Not only is it a comprehensive program that monitors certain changes in your credit, but it also provides some of the best ID theft protection in the industry.

The company’s Individual Total and Premier Plans ($19.99 per month and $24.99 per month, respectively) monitor all three major credit bureaus for changes to your reports, helping you make more informed financial decisions. On top of this, they monitor personal information like your name and Social Security number across thousands of databases. The Premier and Total Plans provide a credit score monthly. There is also an $8.99-per-month Value Plan that omits three-bureau monitoring, credit score updates, and certain other features.

There are also family plans that can keep your children’s information safe. The Value Family Plan is $14.99 per month, the Total Family Plan is $29.99 per month, and the Premier Family Plan is $34.99 per month. All of them monitor your child’s information on the dark web. The Total Family Plan adds features like three-bureau credit change notification, and the Premier Family Plan adds alerts about potential cyber-bullying on social media and three-bureau credit reporting.

Available with every plan, high-risk transaction alerts proactively notify you when certain online account information has been accessed or changed. This way, you can quickly take action if your accounts were accessed fraudulently.

If you happen to become a victim of ID theft, Identity Guard offers services to get you back on your feet fast. A victim hotline gives you access to a trained expert who can help you put the pieces together. Meanwhile, $1 million in ID theft insurance covers all losses you incur as the result of identity theft.


  • Social Security Number Monitoring
  • ID Verification Alerts
  • Account Takeover Alerts
  • Identity Theft Victim Assistance
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring (Total and Premier plans only)
  • ID Vault® Password Protection

On the downside, it would be nice if the company included address-change monitoring in its base Value plan like many of its competitors. That being said, Identity Guard still offers the best product – and the best protection – money can buy.


LifeLock identity theft protection helps proactively safeguard your identity and your credit. LifeLock actively monitors applications for credit cards, bank accounts, utilities, and other services within an extensive network for attempts to use your personal information. Whenever suspicious activity is detected, you receive an alert via email or phone. If your wallet goes missing, LifeLock helps cancel or replace the contents quickly.

LifeLock® also monitors thousands of black-market websites where ID thieves buy and sell stolen information. If your personal information shows up there, you are alerted. They also work with the credit bureaus to reduce the number of annoying preapproved credit card offers by taking your name off mailing lists.

Both features are available at all plan levels, including the $8.99 a month Standard Plan. Upgrading to the $17.99 Advantage Plan adds features including fictitious identity monitoring, court records scanning, data breach notifications, and annual credit reports from one credit bureau. The $26.99 Ultimate Plus Plan includes reports from all three credit bureaus, credit-inquiry alerts, sex-offender registry reports, and monthly credit score tracking, among other features.

With the LifeLock Junior add-on, you can also protect your child’s identity, which makes LifeLock perfect for families. A child’s credit profile can be a gold mine for thieves because it’s generally a blank slate and largely unmonitored. If your child’s information was stolen and used, it may go undetected for years and do lasting damage. Note that this protection cannot be purchased on its own, and must be bundled with another plan.


  • Identity Threat Detection and Alerts
  • Black-Market Website Monitoring
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • Sex Offender Registry Reports (Ultimate Plus plan only)
  • Monthly Credit Score Tracking (Ultimate Plus plan only)

LifeLock would be an even stronger service if it had a separate child-focused plan instead of offering this as an add-on. Reports from all three credit bureaus are also only available with the highest-priced plan.


IdentityForce is another top service for credit monitoring. For $19.95 per month, their premium UltraSecure+Credit plan monitors all three credit bureaus and notifies you by email if any changes occur on your reports. A monthly statement comes in handy to help keep you informed of what’s going on with your credit files.

On the ID protection front, IdentityForce also offers a variety of tools available to protect your personal information. Their comprehensive monitoring feature keeps tabs on any address changes, court records, credit reports, payday loans, and sex offender lists to make sure your information is not being used without your knowing. All of these features are available with the UltraSecure+Credit plan as well as the more basic UltraSecure plan for $12.95 a month.

In the event a problem occurs, you have 24/7 access to Certified Protection Experts who save you lots of time and headaches by completing all the paperwork, making calls, and doing all the heavy lifting to make sure your identity is restored.

IdentityForce is another great choice for families. Like LifeLock, this company can protect your children from identity thieves. Their Child Watch service delivers proactive credit monitoring, identity monitoring, and ID theft insurance for your kids. It is an add-on to their UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit plans.


  • Identity Threat Detection and Alerts
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • $1 Million in ID Theft Insurance
  • Identity Restoration Specialists
  • Court Records and Sex-Offender Monitoring
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring (UltraSecure+Credit plan only)

As with LifeLock, it would be nice if IdentityForce offered a separate child-focused plan, not just an add-on.

The Best Credit Monitoring Services: Credit Reporting Bureaus

If you’re less concerned with ID theft protection, credit monitoring services from one of the main credit reporting bureaus is a great place to start.

These options can be more affordable and have flat fees for one-time access to your credit report if you just want to know where you stand before applying for a loan. Here are the top two options:


Experian makes the list of the best credit monitoring services by offering triple-bureau credit monitoring with a variety of options for one-time access to your credit report. You can purchase your Experian credit report and FICO Score for $19.99 or get all three credit bureau reports and your FICO scores for $39.99. This feature is great if you just need to check in on your credit score once in a while.

You can also get your Experian free credit report through CreditWorks Basic. You get a new one every 30 days. There is no credit card required to get your Experian free credit report, either.

Experian also has a paid plan: CreditWorks Premium has more advanced features like a daily Experian credit report and a monthly three-bureau credit report. The Premium plan is $4.99 for the first month and then $24.99 per month after that.

Experian does have some ID protection features, but they fall short of the more comprehensive services like Identity Guard. The Experian IdentityWorks service takes the Experian Credit Tracker features and adds daily Internet ID scanning to look for your personal information that may be publicly available on the Internet, lost-wallet protection, change of address monitoring, and fraud resolution. Experian has a $9.99 per month Plus Plan and a $19.99 per month Premium Plan. The Premium Plan adds additional monitoring features of Payday loans, sex offender registry, and social networks, as a few examples.

Finally, Experian also offers credit reports and credit monitoring for your small business. This is a rare service offered only by the major credit bureaus.


  • 3-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Dedicated Fraud Resolution Support
  • Lost-Wallet Protection (CreditWorks Premium only)
  • ID Theft Insurance (CreditWorks Premium only)

Experian offers a good range of services, and its upselling of the monthly credit-monitoring service is less aggressive than competitors. However, if you do choose this service, it’s a bit pricier than comparable options, as is Experian’s identity-theft service.


Like Experian, TransUnion is another credit reporting bureau that provides some of the best credit monitoring services. As a member, you have access to credit monitoring alerts from both TransUnion and Equifax, so you’ll be notified of any suspicious activity. (TransUnion used to monitor only their own report, which kept them from being one of the best credit monitoring services in the past.)

If you’re looking to get one-time access to your TransUnion Credit Report, you can receive your TransUnion score for free and credit report for just $1 by signing up for a free seven-day trial. Cancel at any time during the seven days and you won’t be charged the $19.95 monthly membership fee, which includes your FICO score, credit and debt analysis tools, and the ability to lock down your TransUnion Credit Report to protect it from identity thieves.

You can add some ID theft protection by signing up for the free service True Identity. This service monitors many of the same public records as other services and alerts you if your information shows up there. Other features include lost-wallet protection, address-change monitoring, and access to identity restoration specialists. True Identity also gives alerts in case of credit information changes. It also offers $25,000 in ID theft insurance.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, the security freeze feature prevents lenders from accessing your TransUnion credit report entirely. This makes it less likely that a lender will extend credit to someone posing as you. Tools like these offer you peace of mind since they allow you a greater level of control over your account.


  • Two-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Identity Restoration Services (True Identity only)
  • Lost-Wallet Protection (True Identity only)
  • ID Theft Insurance (True Identity only)
  • Security Freeze

As for downsides, it’s unclear whether you can buy your credit report from TransUnion without signing on for a monthly fee. That makes it especially important to cancel your service before the seven-day trial period ends if you don’t want to pay for monthly access.

What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring tracks your credit reports and notifies you of any significant changes. Since all things financial flow to your credit report, including loans, credit cards, and payment histories, your credit report is a major factor that financial companies use to extend you any type of loan.

There are two main reasons you’d want to use a credit monitoring service:

  1. You’re concerned about identity theft and want to protect against it.
  2. You need to improve or repair your credit score.

Many times, people are unaware of derogatory reports that show up on their credit report until they actually apply for a loan — when it’s already too late. Knowing what’s in your credit report is extremely important for this reason. Derogatory reports like a delinquency from a creditor can affect your credit score for years. You’ll also want to know your score prior to applying for any credit cards so you know you’ll be accepted.

The other important way people use credit monitoring services is to prevent identity theft. Any financial account that is opened in your name with your Social Security number will show up on this report. Identity thieves can steal your personal information, like a Social Security number, and use it to open new financial accounts in your name. Credit monitoring services notify you any time a new account is opened so you can respond quickly.

There are a number of steps you can take to better protect yourself, but having your credit monitored by a professional team can give you the greatest edge by letting you know — in near real time — what is affecting your credit.

What are identity thieves looking for?

Identity thieves look for specific pieces of personal information, including:

  • User names, passwords, and PIN numbers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Phone and utility account numbers
  • Bank and credit account numbers
  • Employment and student identification numbers
  • Driver’s license and passport numbers
  • Professional license numbers
  • Insurance identification numbers
  • College or university financial-aid form information

For most ID theft victims, having new accounts opened in their names is not the main issue, so credit report monitoring alone isn’t adequate. The big problem is that ID thieves use the above information to gain access to and control current bank, credit card, loan, and other accounts, which is where more proactive measures come in handy.

According to the Bureau of Justice, for 85% of identity theft victims, the most recent incident involved the unauthorized use of an existing account. This key statistic has great ramifications for determining which of the best credit monitoring service features have the most impact when it comes to combating ID theft.

How can the best credit monitoring services protect my existing accounts?

Simply monitoring a credit report only shows you when a new account has been opened, but doesn’t show you when your credit card has been used by someone else or when your bank account has been accessed.

The best credit monitoring services that make this list protect your open accounts with:

  • ID verification alerts
  • Account takeover alerts
  • Lost-wallet protection
  • ID theft victim assistance

How to Choose the Best Credit Monitoring Services

If you want to do your own research, start by compiling a comprehensive list of credit monitoring services. There are many credit monitoring companies out there — don’t be surprised to find upwards of two dozen companies that might seem worth looking into. However, keep an eye out for companies that are actually lead-generation sites for other companies on the list. Two examples are FreeCreditReport.com and FreeCreditScore.com, both owned by Experian. Take these companies off your list, since they don’t handle the actual process of credit monitoring.

The next step is segmentation. By this point in your research, all the companies on the list will provide some form of credit monitoring. You may notice that some are more focused on detecting and preventing ID theft, while others are more focused on tracking your credit score and providing a report to you detailing valuable information when applying for credit.

A good way to segment the companies is to choose between two categories:

  1. Comprehensive: These provide a set of credit monitoring services with a heavier emphasis on ID theft prevention.
  2. Credit Reporting Bureaus: These companies are more focused on monitoring your credit changes and less on ID theft.

Once you have the two categories, you can focus more on features. For the Comprehensive category, you may want to focus on features that could protect existing accounts because, for over 85% of identity theft victims, the most recent incident involved the unauthorized use of an existing account.

The must-have features for this category include:

  • ID verification alerts
  • Account takeover alerts
  • Lost-wallet protection
  • ID theft victim assistance

For the Credit Reporting Bureaus category, there are really only three options to choose from: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

In this category, the distinguishing features that made Experian and TransUnion the best are:

  • Ease of monitoring credit reports from multiple bureaus
  • The alerting functions for changes to each report
  • Best options for one-time access to your credit score and credit report
  • Ability to add certain ID theft protection features

Wrapping Up the Search

The best credit monitoring service for you will depend on what you need from the service — whether you’re more concerned with protecting yourself and your family against identity theft, building your credit, or both.

However, if you want both comprehensive ID theft protection and credit monitoring, Identity Guard is the best credit monitoring service overall.

Looking for less-expensive ways to monitor your credit? Check out our guide to the Best Free Credit Report Sites.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Are Soft, Chewy, And Loaded With Peanut Butter Flavor! Peanut Butter Lovers Will Go Crazy For These Cookies!

I was in the mood to bake this week, big surprise, right? Well, I will be honest, I was really in the mood to eat cookies, sure the baking part is fun, but the eating part is the BEST part. You can’t beat a batch of freshly baked cookies.

Source: twopeasandtheirpod.com

Best Credit Cards for College Students for 2019

Independently researched content by us. Free financial advice for you. To do that, we may get compensation when you click on our partners’ products. Our lists consist of the best cards from our partners. Not all cards in the marketplace have been evaluated. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.

As a college student, you’re learning what it takes to navigate the world in an independent and responsible way. And that means it’s time to start building the habits that will help you establish a strong credit history. A good credit score will open doors for you in the real world — whether you want to buy a car or rent an apartment, or simply save money on your car insurance — and using a student credit card responsibly is a surefire way to start building a strong credit profile.

In this article, we give a detailed breakdown of the best credit cards for college students, covering a variety of cards that offer perks tailored to college students, such as forgiveness for late payments and incentives for good grades. Check out our reviews and apply online for the student credit card that’s right for you.

Who should get it

For students starting out, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card is as good a place as any to begin understanding and building a good credit history. With this card, any penalties that would normally be incurred by a late payment are forgiven the first time (after that, up to $39). This is an invaluable second chance for college students who are still getting the hang of using a credit card.

How to use it

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, or Amazon.com (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate). Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.
  • Keep your GPA up to a 3.0 or higher to earn a $20 statement credit during the school year.
  • See where your money is going and improve your spending habits with Spend Analyzer.

Consider this

While a good all-around credit card for students, the Discover it® Student Cash Back may not be the best option to start with for students with poor or no credit. In situations like these, starting with the Discover it® Secured may improve your likelihood of approval. Sometimes it’s all about getting your foot in the door, and this card provides a powerful tool to achieve just that.


Egg Foo Young is a Chinese egg omelette dish made with vegetables like carrots, peas and bell peppers with an easy gravy topping.

We love easy Chinese recipes in our house including Classic Chinese Chow Mein, Chicken Lo Mein and Easy Mongolian Beef and this Egg Foo Young is the perfect, easy recipe to round out your favorite Chinese takeout meal made at home.

Source: dinnerthendessert.com

Changing Your Business Name? Don’t Put Your Credit At Risk

Changing your business name can be a lot of work, and, quite frankly, a hassle. But can it also put your business’s credit history at risk?

Kimberly Wilson is about to find out. In 2006, she started First Step Therapy, a counseling and training business, and grew it into multiple locations. A few years ago she took a hiatus from that business to earn her doctorate degree, and now she’s ready to relaunch her business. She has chosen a new name that reflects her new vision for the company. It will be called First Step International Consulting & Counseling Services and will offer training for individuals, businesses, and professionals.

However, she’s worried about what will happen to her business credit when her name changes. “I am concerned that if I retain the same federal tax ID but change the name, I will lose my business credit rating,” she wrote in an email. “How do I prevent that from happening?”

Wilson built a positive business credit history in her first business. She established business credit by using trade credit—purchasing things she needed for her business, such as supplies or printing—with payment terms of net 30 or net 60. She paid those bills on time, and as her business credit scores improved, she was able to access even more credit. Eventually, she used business credit to finance computers and other equipment.

Older Is Better

Wilson is right to be concerned about keeping her credit history, since age is a factor that often affects business credit scores. Scoring models often evaluate age in a few different ways:

  • Age of the business—How long has the business been open?
  • Time in file—When was the first account opened?
  • Age of accounts—What is the average age of all accounts?

Since small businesses often fail in their first few years, businesses with older credit histories benefit from well-established credit histories.

The good news is that Wilson doesn’t have to sacrifice her business credit history when she changes her business name. But she’s smart to be proactive, because by doing so she is more likely to ensure her complete credit file will follow her business.

Steps to Take

If you find yourself in a similar situation as Kimberly Wilson, here are several steps you can do to help the process move smoothly:

Submit a name change to the Internal Revenue Service if necessary. You’ll find instructions and guidance on the IRS website.

Update your name with state and local agencies as required. If you have registered your business with your state Department of Corporations, for example, and/or you must have a local business license, you may need to update your business name with either or both.

Notify your creditors. Let your creditors know about your name change so when they report your account in the future, it will be reported under your new business name. Hopefully this will also help associate your old credit history with your new business, although that is not guaranteed. Do the same with companies through which you process payments, such as credit card processors, your bank or credit union, etc.

Notify the credit bureaus, as necessary. We asked the major commercial credit agencies to clarify their policies and procedures regarding a business name change, and here are their responses:

  • Dun & Bradstreet does not require business owners to notify them of a name change unless it involves a change of ownership. If it does, visit Dun & Bradstreet’s free company update page here.
  • Experian recommends small business owners visit BusinessCreditFacts.com to update their reports.
  • Equifax does not require a business owner to report a name change. As long as the business uses the same credit accounts and does not use a different tax ID number, the reporting members will report the credit history using the new name. The business credit report will also reflect the previous name (similar to how a former name is reflected on an individual’s credit file).
  • LexisNexis does not require a business owner to report a name change.

“Information on small businesses is in constant flux as they change or add locations, evolve into new entity types (e.g., from sole proprietor to LLC), change leadership, grow their assets, and more,” says Ben Cutler, Senior Director of Small Business Risk with LexisNexis. “It’s even common for a small business to change its DBA and/or its name. But these activities leave ‘footprints’ in the data ecosystem, and LexisNexis Risk Solutions relies on its Big Data technology and sophisticated, statistically based record linkage models to uncover and combine these footprints across billions of data records.”

Check and monitor your business credit reports. Review your business credit reports before your name change to see which accounts report, then continue to monitor them afterward to see whether those accounts are reported under your new name. If not, you can contact your creditors and ask them to make sure your accounts continue to be reported under your new business name.

There are many more steps you need to take to successfully navigate a business name change, but with the right planning, you should be able to keep your credit history intact.


Happy New Year friends!! Today I’m kicking things off with a healthy, flavor-packed snack. This homemade garlic hummus is sooo easy whip up- it can be made in minutes! It’s the perfect dip for veggies, pita chips and so much more.

Source: lifemadesimplebakes.com

The Cheapest Credit Card Processing Companies For 2019

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Business owners today know that it’s more important than ever to be able to accept credit cards. Customers carry less cash and rely on credit and debit cards for the majority of their purchases. If you’re an eCommerce merchant selling online, taking “plastic” is just about your only option. Unfortunately, you usually can’t accept credit cards unless you have a merchant account, and merchant accounts aren’t free. In fact, they can be very expensive – especially for a small business – if you choose the wrong provider.

The credit card processing industry is bewildering, especially for a first-time business owner. There are dozens of companies providing processing services, and each of them offers different processing rates, fees, and contract terms. A provider that provides a good deal for a very small business might be prohibitively expensive for a larger one, and vice versa. Naturally, merchants want to cut through the confusion and get a quick answer to the question “Which one is the cheapest?”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money, especially for a new business that has to count every penny. However, if you look up “cheap” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you’ll note that while cheap can mean “charging or obtainable at a low price,” it can also mean “of inferior quality or worth.” If you’ve ever been disappointed with a product purchase when you thought you were getting a good deal, you know that these two definitions often go together.

Before we delve into specific processors, there are two important points that you need to understand:

  1. The company offering the lowest processing rates or fees isn’t necessarily the cheapest. The total percentage of the credit card sales you’ll have to fork over to your merchant account provider isn’t an easy thing to calculate in advance with any precision. Variable processing rates and hidden (or at least unanticipated) fees can easily result in you paying much more than you thought you were going to for processing. Companies offering flat-rate pricing fare much better in this regard, as their simple pricing structure makes it relatively easy to estimate your monthly processing costs.
  2. The “cheapest” processor isn’t necessarily the best one for your business. While you naturally want to be able to accept credit cards while paying the least amount of money for the privilege, companies offering the lowest rates often cut corners in other aspects of their service to make those low rates possible. Poor customer service, for example, is a common problem among the least-expensive processors. If you want the best overall, you might also check out our top picks for small business credit card processing.

Types Of Providers

With the advent of new, low-cost providers, there are now two broad categories of companies providing credit card processing services. These include traditional (or full-service) merchant account providers and payment services providers, which offer credit card processing but without some of the features of a full-service merchant account. It’s very important that you understand the difference between the two.

Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

Payment service providers can process your credit card transactions, but they don’t provide you with a unique merchant ID number for your business. Instead, your account is aggregated together with accounts from other merchants. This lowers the cost for things like monthly account fees and PCI compliance, but it also means that your account is much more vulnerable to being suddenly frozen or shut down at the slightest hint of fraud. Getting your account working again is complicated by the fact that most PSPs provide little in the way of one-on-one customer service. For a very small business, a PSP may very well be more affordable than a full-service merchant account, especially since you won’t have to pay so many recurring fees just to keep your account open. Be aware, however, that you’ll constantly be running the risk of suddenly losing access to your account and not being able to accept credit cards at all with a PSP. If your business processes a high number of credit card transactions on a daily basis, the loss of business you’ll incur if your account is frozen is quite high. Popular PSPs include PayPal, Square (see our review), and Stripe.

Traditional Merchant Accounts

Traditional merchant accounts include a number of features you won’t find with most PSPs. The primary distinction is that you will be assigned a merchant identification number that is unique to your business. This number automatically identifies you to processors, issuing banks, and credit card associations. While it might not sound like much, having a unique merchant ID number helps to lower the risk of fraud and improves the stability of your account. While you still might have to endure a hold on funds for an unusually large transaction, the chances of your account being completely frozen for no apparent reason are much less than they are with a PSP. Merchant account providers also offer a host of ancillary services, including PCI security scans, customizable payment gateways for online payments, support for ACH (eCheck) payments, and many others. These bells and whistles don’t come cheap, of course. You’ll pay more in monthly fees than you will for an account with a PSP. However, you’ll also pay lower processing rates, especially if your merchant account provider offers interchange-plus pricing. For many medium-sized and larger businesses, a full-service merchant account will actually be less expensive than a PSP.