Money at 30: ScoreMaster Review
Over the past decade or so, it seems that the general public has really started to understand how important credit can be to their everyday lives. While I say this anecdotally, the rise in average credit score does support my theory. Unfortunately, even if you have a basic idea of how credit works, bettering your scores isn’t always so straightforward. That’s where the service ScoreMaster may be able to help.
Recently, ScoreMaster reached out to me and asked me to check out their platform. In addition to setting up my own account to try, I was also able to access one of their test accounts so I could better explore some of their unique features. So, what does the platform have to offer? Let’s take a closer look at ScoreMaster and its features.
What is ScoreMaster and How Does It Work?
Signing up and pricing
Since ScoreMaster is a credit monitoring service, you will need to provide and confirm some personal info in order to get started. This includes your name, birthdate, your Social Security number, etc. You may also need to take a quiz of sorts to further confirm your identity. Once this is done, you’ll be ready to go.
As for the price of the service, currently, ScoreMaster comes at a cost of $27.95 per month. That said, Fioney readers can join for $24.95 per month using our special offer link.
Score monitoring and Smart Credit Report
Once you’ve set up your ScoreMaster account, one of the first things you’ll see on your dashboard is your current credit score. This particular score is derived using data from your TransUnion report using the VantageScore model. As you may be aware, VantageScore does differ from the more commonly-used FICO score. Because of this, while the scores may not be exactly what creditors will see when they pull your info, it should be fairly close.
To further explore your score, you can click the “View Now” button, which will take you to your ScoreTracker. What’s interesting is that ScoreMaster also offers Auto Lending and Insurance scores, which are meant to give you a better idea of what your score might look like using models that these types of creditors tend to use. Additionally, on this page, you can see a graph of your credit score progress.
Heading back to the main dashboard, you can also take a closer look at the data in your credit report. To do this, select the Smart Credit Report widget, which will also bear a letter grade (A through F, presumably). This feature will walk you through different aspects of your credit report, including accounts, payment history, public info, and more. This is also the first place you may encounter the “Take Action” button — but we’ll cover that more in the next section.
Once you understand your current credit, the ScoreBuilder tool can help set you on a path toward bettering it. ScoreBuilder will walk you through a number of steps you can take in order to reach a goal score. This could include correcting inaccurate information that may be on your credit report, asking for “goodwill removals” of legitimate info that still has a negative impact on your scores, and more.
Should you need to take any of these steps, you can begin the process from the site. Using the “Take Action” button, you can have ScoreMaster write your creditors on your behalf. Then, you can track the status of these requests from the ScoreBuilder interface as well.
In addition to the steps that ScoreBuilder may have you take, another major way to help better your credit scores is by paying down debt. And while lowering your credit card debt in general is likely to have a positive effect, ScoreBoost can help you figure out which accounts are most probable to have the biggest impact. Similarly, ScoreMaster will estimate how many points you may be able to add by paying down accounts.
One of the ways ScoreMaster makes these suggestions is by telling you what day to make a payment by in order to add points to your scores. This info is the result of the site pulling data from the various institutions in order to determine when they report consumer balances. By lowering your balances before this transmission of data, the reported utilization could be beneficial to you.
Stepping outside of the realm of credit scores and score reports specifically, another feature of ScoreMaster is their Money Manager platform. Like other account aggregators, this allows you to link various financial accounts in order to view them all in one place. What’s kind of cool is that, using data from your credit report, the service will actually suggest accounts to link off the bat. However, you can proceed to link banking accounts, brokerages, and more.
As you’d expect, once you make these links, you’ll be able to view transactions, balances, etc. But what’s particularly nice is the ability to see your current credit utilization. Since credit utilization makes up 30% of your FICO score, having this number pointed out specifically could definitely be useful. By the way, while it’s advised that you keep your utilization under 30% if possible, the lower you can get it, the better.
Another aspect of Money Manager that could be useful involves alerts. In settings, you can tell ScoreMaster if you’d like to be notified when large purchases are made on one of your linked accounts. Although these transactions may very well be legitimate, these alerts could save the day in the event it wasn’t actually you making the purchase.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably Googled yourself just to see what type of information was available. When I did this not too long ago, I was a bit taken aback to find just how much personal data (albeit not all of it accurate) was being offered or even sold on numerous sites. The good news is that you can request to have your info removed from such sites — which is where PrivacyMaster comes in.
Using this feature, you can request to remove your data from these sites. First, ScoreMaster will scan the web for sites you appear on and then give you the option to request removal. I actually had a chance to try this feature first hand and, within minutes, I was already getting confirmations. That said, some of the sites sent me emails that required me to click a link in order to confirm my request. This may well be how it’s done, but it seemed a bit sketchy, leading me to avoid clicking. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to track the progress of my take-down requests in the PrivacyMaster dashboard.
Identity fraud insurance
Last but not least, as a ScoreMaster customer, you’ll be able to opt into a $1 million identity fraud insurance policy. This coverage is provided by Voyager Indemnity — and you must activate it in order to use it. Luckily, this is literally just a click of a button.
This policy has no deductible and applies to your entire family residing in your household. Coverage includes:
- Your bank, savings accounts, brokerage, lines of credit, credit cards and more
- Your cash out-of-pocket expenses incurred in your ID recovery
- Your credit reports
- Pre-existing Identity fraud you didn’t know about
- Replacement cost due to stolen driver’s license
- Replacement cost due to stolen passport
Obviously, this is another one of those features you hope to never have to use. But, it’s definitely nice to have should you ever need it.
My Thoughts on ScoreMaster
Overall, I found ScoreMaster to be a truly intriguing product with some very clever features. In particular, I appreciated the ScoreBoost feature (including its surprisingly fun-to-use interface) as well as ScoreBuilder — particularly the way you could start the process of fixing mistakes and make forgiveness requests right from the site. Plus, as I mentioned, I personally already made use of the PrivacyMaster’s removal request platform. To me, these features build upon what some free credit options offer.
The downside as I see it is the price. At nearly $28 a month (or about $25 with our link), this is definitely a premium service. In turn, I feel as though potential customers would need to view a subscription as an investment in their credit journey in order to justify it. This means that those who sign up should be serious about bettering their scores and be serious about taking on the platform’s suggestions.
If that description fits you, then feel free to use our special link to give ScoreMaster a try and see how it can help you reach your credit goals.
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