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.
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.
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
- 1 Equifax vs. Experian: Comparison
- 2 QUICK FACE-OFF
- 3 Equifax Family Plans: Features and Services
- 4 Experian Family Plans: Features and Services
- 5 Conclusion
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 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.
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
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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.
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.
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
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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