Equifax vs Experian: Right Protection for Your Family

Based on our extensive testing, we have found that for most people, Identity Guard is the best identity theft protection service.

by Keith Morris

Topic:  ID Theft

> 1 min read

Services are provided that let you protect your credit. If suspicious activity is found, you’ll receive an alert — your credit can be locked until the problem is resolved.

  • Protect your entire family’s credit
  • Monitor credit with free reports
  • Lock your credit if issues are discovered
Experian IdentityWorks

Your family’s credit is monitored for suspicious activity — you can lock your credit until the problem is resolved. If your score is low, Boost adds your current subscriptions to your score to raise it.

  • Protect your whole family’s credit
  • Monitor your credit with free reports
  • Boost your FICO score with utilities and subscriptions such as Netflix

Many consumers use credit to fund portions of their life’s purchases; however, not many understand how credit monitoring works and how they can use it to their advantage. Credit Bureaus collect information from credit card issuers and use their established rating systems to rate borrowers so that businesses have a frame of reference when allowing a credit purchase.

Since the bureaus exist for similar reasons, it can be challenging to decide which one’s services you might want to use. Here, I’ll discuss and compare the consumer services provided by two of these bureaus — Experian vs. Equifax — a stand-off between 2 credit monitoring giants, with consumers in mind.

Equifax vs. Experian: Comparison

WHAT YOU GET

EQUIFAX

EXPERIAN

Pricing

Coverage

  • 2 adults, up to 4 children
  • 2 adults, up to 10 children

Insurance

  • Family complete plan insures identity theft and stolen funds up to $1 million
  • Quarterly FICO scores from all 3 bureaus
  • Dark web scanning
  • Credit report locking
  • Plus plan insures identity theft up to $1 million
  • Social network monitoring
  • Dark web surveillance
  • Annual FICO scores from all 3 bureaus
  • Credit report locking
  • Credit Boost

QUICK FACE-OFF

Similarities

  • Insures up to $1 million stolen assets
  • Limited ability to check your credit reports; you get one 3-bureau report per year
    Internet and dark web monitoring makes sure your information isn’t being exchanged
  • Credit report locking lets you freeze your report if you’re notified of or find suspicious behavior
  • Credit monitoring for suspicious activity
    Each plan allows for 2 adult’s identities to be covered. Each allows for a numberan amount of children’s identities to be covered
  • The Fair Isaac Corporation created the FICO scores — each of the 3 bureaus use FICO scoring. Since each bureau assigns scores differently, your 3-bureau report might have differences between the scores
  • Both of these providers allow you to view a daily score with the credit bureau you purchased a plan from. Also included in both plans is the option to lock your credit report
  • The bureau you choose provides daily credit score checking for their score only
    You can view your 3-bureau FICO scores with the more expensive plans from either provider
  • The Experian Family Complete plan and Equifax Identity Works Premium plan have technologies that scan the dark and accessible webs for your information
  • Premium plans have financial account scanning that monitors bank accounts and credit or debit cards

Differences

  • Number of children on account
  • Each bureau’s plan includes a 3-bureau credit check, but they differ in the frequency in which you can view it. Equifax Identity Works Premium family plan lets you view your report quarterly. In contrast, the Experian Family Complete family plan only enables you to pull your 3-bureau record once a year.
  • Children’s identities can be stolen, as well. One key difference between the two plans is the number of children you can have on the account. Experian allows up to 10 children, while Equifax only allows four.
  • Experian’s social media monitoring is a crucial difference between the two plans — having another party watching your account can be identity-saving. Many people stay in contact with friends and business associates through their social media accounts. Social media accounts have birthdays, names, places, hobbies, and other identifiable information. This information can be used to hack into your bank or other accounts.
  • Equifax provides coverage for up to $1 million in all its packages, whereas Experian offers $1 million of coverage in only its premium package.
  • Experian provided lost wallet assistance to help you recover or replace your lost wallet’s contents.
    Your name and address are monitored and verified by Experian if there is an address change initiated.

Equifax Family Plans: Features and Services

Equifax Identity Theft Protection

Equifax monitors the credit files stored with each of the big 3 credit bureaus. By monitoring all the files, they track any changes made to your credit — if changes happen, they’ll send you an alert.

Child Identity Theft Protection

Equifax’s Credit Report Control Lock protects your children’s credit from theft by preventing access and alerts you so that you can take action to protect their credit.

Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring protects you with notifications. When you receive an alert, you can initiate a credit report security freeze so your credit is not affected by any malicious activity. The security freeze keeps anyone with your information from opening credit accounts with your name.

When you have Equifax identity theft protection, you’re able to use its Equifax Lock & Alert app to manage your credit access. If you need to allow access to your credit, unlock the app’s report, then lock it up again when you are finished.

Equifax provides you with a checklist to help you alert authorities and the merchant where the access was attempted. It will also alert the other two credit bureaus via your myEquifax account.

Plans and Pricing

Equifax Complete Family Plan

The Complete Family Plan is Equifax’s all-inclusive credit security suite for a family of up to two adults and four children. You’ll have access to all three of your credit reports and scores annually and daily access to your Equifax score if needed. Your credit and your family members’ credit are monitored with alerts sent if there is any questionable activity.

Identity Theft Protection

The internet is where most identity thefts take place. The Equifax Complete Family Plan comes with internet scouring technology that looks for instances of your information on the accessible web; simultaneously, it scours the dark web to see if your data is exchanging hands.
If any of your family members have their identity stolen, specialists work to ensure you recover any lost assets and your identity, and you’ll receive up to $1 million in ID theft insurance.

The Complete Family Plan is $19.95 per month.

Complete Premier Plan

One step down from the Complete Family Plan, the Premier Plan gives you all the same protections, except for the second adult or children. This plan is designed around an individual and costs $19.95 per month as well.

4

ID Patrol

The minimal package offered by Equifax, the ID Patrol, is no protection slouch. It has annual three-bureau credit reports, internet scanning, fraud alerts, credit report lock, and identity insurance coverage of up to $1 million. This plan provides the essential minimum protection needed in today’s online world.

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Your identity is monitored for you
  • If stolen, you can recover most, if not all, of your lost assets
  • You are covered for up to $1 million in identity theft recovery
  • Credit is monitored, with alerts sent
  • The annual amount of $240 to monitor 2 adults and 4 children is very reasonable
  • Your credit is automatically monitored
  • The Equifax mobile app alerts you when there is suspicious activity
    The app lets you unlock your credit file when needed, then lock it again
  • The plan provides monitoring on the dark web and generally accessible web
  • Sophisticated software scours the net for your information, protecting the identities of your famil

CONS

  • Families with more than four children are not fully covered
  • The number of children protected is low. Many families have more than four children
  • Larger families have to choose another protection provider
  • Financial account monitoring should come standard on all identity protection plans
  • Online shopping activities may not be monitored since financial accounts are not included
  • No credit score check is included from Equifax or the other two credit bureaus
  • No credit score monitoring is available in ID Patrol
    ID Patrol does not offer any identity restoration assistance
  • You need to purchase another package for each person in your family

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Experian Family Plans: Features and Services

Identity Theft Protection

Experian’s identity theft monitoring and alerts program is very comprehensive. When you sign up, all of your accounts become monitored. Your social security number, address changes, and financial accounts are all watched and verified if there is activity.

Court records, payday loans, and sex offender registries are included in its monitoring service as well. Online activities, such as social media and file-sharing networks, are closely monitored to ensure that your name isn’t used without your verification. Your online information is continuously scanned across the internet and dark web.

CreditLock App 

The credit lock app installs on your mobile device and allows you to lock or unlock your credit file as you see the need. If you’re opening a new account somewhere, use the app to unlock it, then lock it back up.

Credit Monitoring and Scores

Experian monitors your credit files at all three of the credit bureaus. If there are changes in your FICO score, you’ll receive an alert. New credit inquiries, new accounts, positive activity, or large account balance changes trigger alerts, enabling you to take immediate action.

Boost

Everyone has the necessary bills essential to modern living — power, water, cell phones, and Netflix. These expenses are similar to paying credit debts, so Experian uses them. Experian Boost takes your basic living expenses and adds them to your credit report and score. If you keep up on your expenses, your credit score boosts.

Pricing and Plans

Identity Works Premium

IdentityWorks Premium covers your family, up to two adults and ten children. Each family member receives the same protections on their credit and identity. This comprehensive coverage plan gives you up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, internet surveillance (including the dark web), and alerts for any previously mentioned activities. The Premium plan is $29.99 per month for a generous amount of coverage. 

Identity Works Plus

The Plus plan offers $500,000 of identity theft insurance and less account monitoring. Your social security number and address are the only two numbers that generate alerts in the Plus package. All of the other services are the same, including family coverage. The Plus package is available for $9.99 per month — and is just as generous an amount of coverage.

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • The low annual credit and identity protection cost of $360 for large families
  • The plan provides family protection of up to 2 adults and 10 children
  • Free Experian Boost can provide possible score increases for your entire family
  • Up to $1 million in identity theft recovery is provided
    Your credit is automatically monitored
    The Experian mobile app alerts you when there is suspicious activity on your credit
  • The app lets you unlock your credit file when needed, then lock it again
  • Sophisticated software scours the net for your information, protecting the identities of your family
    A fraud resolution specialist works with you to restore your identity

CONS

  • The monthly price is a bit high compared to other vendors
  • The Plus package could include a few more account monitoring options
  • The monthly price is higher than Equifax’s similar package
  • The Plus package could include financial account activity monitoring
  • You have to initiate the credit report lock instead of an automatic locking feature
  • Financial accounts are not monitored in the Plus package
  • No social network monitoring for your social media accounts
  • No option for receiving 3-bureau credit scores, only Experian
  • No alerts for identity validating are sent if someone attempts and fails to use your identity
  • No option to include ID protection for children

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Conclusion

Experian IdentityWorks

Identity theft, and the devastating consequences of it, is something everyone should be concerned about. Even consumers without significant financial assets need to be concerned because credit taken out in their name becomes their responsibility unless they can prove they did not initiate it.

As a consumer in a digital age, you cannot go wrong with either Experian or Equifax. However, Experian has considered the needs of consumers more than Equifax. Companies should consider all consumers when a plan is conceived. Families with more than four children are forced to choose one over the other instead of a choice of plans within Equifax’s offerings.

Experian lets you add your financial account information to your plan so it can monitor your accounts for you. Replacing funds and helping you recover from having your identity stolen are essential touches. However, most thefts occur with small transactions — at vendors you don’t generally shop at — in bank accounts as tests. Monitoring for these tests alerts consumers before their accounts are emptied, letting them deal with the situation before everything is gone.

The plan from Experian differentiates itself from Equifax with its financial account and social network monitoring in addition to the scalability of its plan. For these reasons, I recommend the Experian IdentityWorks Premium for individuals or families. The protection you get with their Premium plan is well worth the higher monthly but is still a relatively low cost.


About the Author

Keith Morris is a 20+ year veteran of the security game, with the knowledge and experience to set you on the right track toward personal safety and security. His firm is committed to giving you the tools and know-how to combat any threat to your safety.

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