Experian’s IdentityWorks is very strange for an identity theft protection provider, which makes it a bit hard to compare to other providers in the same sphere. If you’re looking for which of these two providers is better at identity theft protection in particular, it’s going to be Identity Guard by a long shot.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The quick and dirty is that Identity Guard overall provides a lot more bang for your buck across more categories, with:
- Better threat resolution
- Better and more accurate monitoring
- More thorough customer service
Long story short, Experian offers a very good service… but the identity theft protection side of things almost seems like an afterthought compared to the other services it offers. I’ll try to explain in further detail as we go on.
Our Testing Method
Our method is surprisingly simple, but geared to give the most up to date, practical results. We set up an account, after shopping for the best price we can get, and use the provider’s services for a while, the same way a normal user would. We input a bunch of personal details, and look for a few signs that the service is working the way we’d like it to; it should throw up specific flags we already expect to see, and the more alerts we get the better!
We also test for basic usability features and just how smooth of a process using the provider’s services is.
Why Should You Get Identity Theft Protection?
In short, because everyone is at risk from identity theft which can come from a variety of places, and can affect every aspect of your life. Losing some of your information to identity thieves is inevitable; things like email addresses and phone numbers are particularly vulnerable, because they can be obtained from a number of relatively public records.
The more you have, the more you stand to lose from identity theft. Having someone at your back to help solve problems as they come up is invaluable.
Ease of Use: Winner – Identity Guard
This is a quick measure of how easy the service is to use.
Let’s get the negative out of the way: I hate Experian’s account page. It loads quickly (under a second for each tab) but that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it. Have a quick look for frame of reference:
You’ll notice that this dashboard doesn’t really tell you much of anything. It gives you your credit score (which takes up an unnecessarily large amount of the page) and then invites you to use several of their services, most of which are related to boosting your credit score or enticing you to pay for credit cards.
The rest of the site isn’t much better, with very cumbersome dropdown boxes that can’t be pinned in place by clicking on them.
It’s navigable, but that’s about the best I can say about it. It’s extremely hard to actually find what you’re looking for. Contrast this with Identity Guard’s easy-to-find dashboard:
There’s a lot of relevant info here: your credit score, a quick overview of how many pending alerts you need to see, and quick access to a good chunk of the most important or commonly-used features. The dashboard provides every feature you’ll need to look at or toggle on and off a lot.
Winner: Identity Guard
Identity Guard has a very well laid-out website, and its dropdowns DO pin in place for ease of use, which leads to a satisfying and easy to navigate experience.
Learn more about this company on our Identity Guard in-depth review.
There isn’t even a contest here.
Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Identity Guard
This is a bit of a funny one. On the one hand, Identity Guard threw up 5 alerts I expected to see, and almost instantly to boot. It works incredibly quickly, and does have an accurate accounting of various alerts. You can see the 5 it threw up on the dashboard there; an assortment of email address and minor password alerts garnered from a trawl of their dark web monitoring systems.
On the other hand, Experian only threw up two alerts. However, interestingly, one alert it threw up was one I wasn’t aware of: a compromised phone number. So it missed a lot of the obvious alerts, but did manage to find one bonus one.
Unfortunately, that’s really not enough for me to give the win to Experian on this, especially as it only threw up that alert close to a month after it might have been relevant.
In terms of alert types, Identity Guard wins as well.
They offer in some senses the same basic monitoring features. Dark web monitoring, an eye on all your basic info – email addresses, social security number, sex offender registry monitoring (it tells you when there are sex offenders in your area), and so on.
Experian offers payday loan monitoring and file-sharing network monitoring, which are both quite nice to have, and they prevent some stuff that Identity Guard doesn’t keep a specific eye on, but which will usually get caught by the broader searches.
Identity Guard, however, offers home title monitoring and 401(k) and investment monitoring… which are going to be vastly more important in a lot of cases, compared to the more niche options offered by Experian. So in terms of both accuracy and breadth, Identity Guard wins.
Threat Resolution Services: Winner – Identity Guard
Identity Guard offers stellar customer support, with a “white glove concierge” service. As you’d expect, they’re open late (until 11 PM most days), and operate fully from 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays, leaving their Sunday closure as the only weak point.
Experian, by contrast, offers a subpar experience in every way. Their customer support closes at 8 PM (6 PM for chat) on weekdays and 5 PM on weekends (text chat is not available at all on a Saturday and Sunday).
So right off the bat, Experian makes it difficult to access their most comprehensive threat resolution service: their representatives.
On a minor, but annoying note, Experian also makes it harder to access their customer support pages. The best way I’ve found is to log in to your account and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to click the “contact us” link. Identity Guard meanwhile sorts it well, under the “Resources” tab of their page.
Some of the other options are also solid, and are actually shared between the services. Wallet protection for both allows you to talk to a representative to help cancel and reorder credit cards, driver’s licenses, and so on.
Both also offer a credit freeze option so you can freeze your credit reports and make it impossible for anyone (including yourself) to actually do anything involving your credit. This is great if you suspect your identity is compromised and want to ensure they can’t do something like take out a loan in your name.
But the main thing for both, and any service really, is their customer support teams, and in this respect Identity Guard is simply better in every way, starting with their availability which is nigh constant.
Additional Services: Winner – Experian
Now here’s where Experian shines.
What Experian IdentityWorks is offering, essentially, is very basic identity theft protection tacked onto a really good set of options that can help you improve your credit score and other finances. They offer help with loans, help with your credit (by walking you through the process to apply things such as your paid bills to your credit report to help pad the number), and even a bill negotiator service which lets you give the directive to lower a specific bill (power, internet, satellite TV, whatever) and one of their experts will handle the otherwise tedious part of talking to their customer service to help reduce the cost.
|NB!! You need to be careful with this service, as services like these often have the tendency to haggle the price down by whatever means necessary…including by locking you into contracts you may not want, or simply dropping your service to a lower tier.|
Overall, Experian focuses on having a lot of these nice little features that add up to a very effective money-saving suite.
Cost: Winner – Identity Guard
While Identity Guard is fairly expensive on its own, particularly for their Ultra option (the only one worth talking about), there are a lot of good deals you can find for Identity Guard, particularly the one we have which lowers the price by 33%.
|Individual Annual||$6.67/month ($80.04/year)||$13.33/month($159.96/year)||$20.00/month($240/year)|
|Family Annual||$10.00/month ($120/year)||$20/month($240/year)||$26.67/month($320.04/year)|
|One Adult, 10 children||$14.99/month($179.88/year)||$24.99/month($299.88/year)|
|Two Adults, 10 children||$19.99/month ($239.88/year)||$29.99/month($359.88/year)|
However, Identity Guard’s Ultra plan offers a lot more protection for the cost, with home title, 401(k), and investment monitoring included for that cost.
I will give Experian extra credit, however, as it offers a free 1 month trial, so you can see if you like it first, but bear in mind, it also offers a much more limited service in a lot of ways.
In short, while Experian has a technically lower “cost” at some pricing tiers, it’s also not by much, and offers a significantly lower “value”.
Other Comparison Articles:
- Equifax vs Experian
- LifeLock versus AllClear ID
- LifeLock vs Discover Comparison
- Identity Guard vs IDShield – Which is Better?
- Identity Guard and Zander Features Comparison
- IdentityForce vs Identity Guard: Which to Pick?
- InfoArmor versus Identity Guard
Insurance: Winner – Identity Guard
Both services offer up to $1 million in coverage, which is excellent. This takes the form of not only lost funds reimbursement (giving you back actual money that is stolen from your accounts, or added to your credit cards for instance) but also offers the ability to get paid for expenses you otherwise wouldn’t have accrued in the process of getting your identity back.
For both, this takes the form of the ability to get back lost wages due to needing to take time off (either full or partial days) to deal with the problem, legal consultation fees, and elder or childcare services that would not normally be needed.
Identity Guard, however, simply offers more. Both in terms of amounts and variety of options. Their lost wages protection, for instance, covers up to $2000 per week for up to 5 weeks, while Experian’s covers $1500 per week for up to 5 weeks.
Identity Guard’s insurance is also much broader, covering travel expenses (up to $1000 per week), and all other costs that are deemed necessary for the purpose of recovering your identity and resolving the problems brought about by a stolen identity.
Final Verdict: Identity Guard
Identity Guard is simply the winner in almost every respect as an identity theft protection service. It offers superior monitoring, both in terms of the amount of information monitored and the accuracy of its monitoring systems.
Identity Guard also offers significantly better threat resolution, with a nominally similar number of options but far superior customer support. Their representatives are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, but most importantly are available 24/7, where Experian’s customer support is only open at certain hours.
Their insurance is nominally similar as well, offering up to $1 million in coverage, but Experian offers lower amounts per pay period for many of the benefits, making them effectively less useful.
Experian offers a bunch of additional services that Identity Guard does not, but that’s not particularly relevant to our comparison. As a credit score improvement and aid service, Experian is quite good. But, essentially, it’s almost difficult to describe Experian’s service as an identity theft protection service at all, and comparing it to something like Identity Guard is almost silly. It offers a few services adjacent to what Identity Guard and similar options like LifeLock do, but its focus is simply on completely different ways to help their customers.
Experian IdentityWorks might be worth paying for…but not in the slightest should you consider it as your primary identity theft protection option.
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