Identity Guard vs Zander Identity Theft Protection

By Keith Morris

Topic:  ID Theft

December 2, 2020

Zander is one of the less prominent names out there, at least when it comes to identity theft protection. As opposed to the big names like Identity Guard, LifeLock, and Experian, they’re a little smaller and frankly clunkier, but they do offer enough of a suite of options to be worth mentioning.

Let’s take a look at how its options stack up to Identity Guard.

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
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It is an excellent choice for someone who needs essential identity theft protection services while on a budget.

  • Monitors All Personal Information for Illicit Use
  • Affordable Identity Monitoring
  • Experts will do All the Work of Recovering your Identity
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Why Should You Trust Us?

2. Why Even Buy Identity Theft Protection?

3. Final Verdict

Why Should You Trust Us?

Because we’re users just like you. We want to ensure that every service out there has been vetted and compared against our standards, and we do that by using the service in the same way a real user would, and giving each option a fair shot.

Pretty much every service out there has some interesting quirk or benefit that might make it appealing to someone, and we try to find those little nuggets of unique, exciting features whenever we test a product.

Each service is measured on a simple common sense rating scale, in order of importance:

  1. Monitoring and Alerts
  2. Threat Resolution
  3. Insurance
  4. Ease of Use
  5. Cost
  6. Additional Services

Once everything is tallied up, we give it a final score based on the average of those scores, modified by what we think are the most important and powerful features. The first three criteria make up the bulk of what will eventually become the final score, and only truly abysmal ratings in one of the middle categories can really throw that off.

Why Even Buy Identity Theft Protection?

Because odds are pretty good you’ll need it at some point in your life. Buying identity theft protection is like buying any kind of insurance. Chances are, you won’t need it at any point in the immediate term, but with millions of people being affected every year just in the US alone, you’d be taking a real gamble to assume you’re never going to be affected in your life.

The older you get, and the more you have to lose, the more devastating an identity theft attack can be.

Criteria
Identity Guard
Norton LifeLock
9/10
7/10
10/10
6/10
6/10
5/10
4. Cost
8/10
9/10
10/10
7/10

Ease of Use: Winner – Identity Guard

Zander’s web design is stuck in the past, if we’re being brutally honest. It wouldn’t look out of place for a government website from the early 2000s, and it shares all of those same issues.

The best I can say about it is that it doesn’t fall into the same trap as a lot of modern websites, which prioritize form over function. It may look a bit boring, but at least it works well and is sensibly laid out. I’ll take Zander’s website over Experian’s any day.

It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and does have a few handy buttons on the dashboard that help you to quickly navigate to different parts of the page…though “quickly” is a relative term.

Zander’s biggest sin is that their website is slow to load, taking about 10 seconds for each page to load, and that’s with very fast internet, so the problem is definitely on their end.

Identity Guard, meanwhile, has a simple and effective website layout that loads blazing fast (telling me it’s well optimized), and provides a lot of information just on the dashboard, so in some cases you don’t even need to navigate off it if all you want to see is alerts and your credit score, for instance.

While perhaps unfair, the main difference is that Zander’s site does not instill confidence in me. The fact that the site is poorly optimized and seemingly outdated suggests that their web security might likewise be stuck in the past. This is likely untrue, but part of what a service like this is supposed to provide is peace of mind. Their presentation doesn’t help with that in the slightest.

Read More: Identity Guard Review (Full Guide)

Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Identity Guard

When I initially signed up for Identity Guard I received 5 alerts immediately, things I expected to see that are actual security breaches.

On signing up with Zander…I was greeted with a list of every address I’ve ever lived at in my adult life as potential fraud alerts.

Now, this isn’t as bad a thing as it may sound. It’s actually quite useful to need to verify that none of these addresses are fraudulent. The main issue is that this is the ONLY thing that Zander’s trawl turned up – a bunch of addresses associated with my legal name and some “aliases”.

In terms of how much information is monitored, Zander, even at its highest tier of membership, also falls well short of Identity Guard’s Ultra plan. Their “Elite” plan is actually roughly equivalent to Identity Guard’s Total plan; a plan I don’t think is particularly impressive for Identity Guard either.

Threat Resolution Services: Winner –Identity Guard

Both nominally offer pretty much the same options in terms of identity theft resolution services. Both have easy access to customer support (and both picked up the phone pretty quickly when I called; within seconds of being processed by the automated system), both offer wallet protection services that allow you to cancel and renew cards if your wallet is lost or stolen, and both offer up to $1 million in reimbursement services.

The main difference here is in the range of customer support. While Zander’s customer support was polite and cordial, they were upfront about the fact that some services were limited or unavailable after normal business hours. This means that while you can call them at any time of night, unless you call between 8 AM and 5 PM, their ability to help you will be limited.

Identity Guard’s customer support is a bit better in that regard, at least for Ultra customers who get their “white glove concierge” service almost any time. While Zander is technically open 24/7, 365 and Identity Guard has distinct hours, Identity Guard actually has longer “full service” hours since their most competent representatives are still available until 11 PM most days.

Additional Services: Winner – Identity Guard

It’s almost odd to me to have Identity Guard win this category, largely because most other identity theft protection services offer a lot of odd side benefits to complement their relatively less robust identity theft protection options.

While Zander does offer some – primarily access to their VPN and antivirus programs – Identity Guard actually offers a lot more for once, largely because they offer stuff like their Risk Management Score feature which helps analyze your online habits and suggests tips to improve your online safety.

Cost: Winner – Zander

Zander is insanely cheap. It’s roughly the same price as Identity Guard’s Total plan to get the Elite plan they offer, coming in at $9.99 per month, or $19.49 per month for the Family plan.

Of course…that comes with the caveat that their Elite plan also offers pretty much the same OPTIONS as Identity Guard’s Total plan.

When compared to our usual point of comparison, Identity Guard’s Ultra plan, the number of features is no contest. And when compared to the Total plan, Identity Guard doesn’t actually cost that much more with our 33% discount, at $13.33 per month.

But Zander is definitely cheaper for the same level of service, so it squeaks out in this category, making for an okay budget option.

When you take into account family plans, the gap is even smaller, so if you’re comparing family plans specifically, the win might go to Identity Guard. This is a close run thing.

Other Comparison Articles:

Insurance: Winner – Identity Guard

This was an interesting one.

For starters, both Zander’s Elite plan and all of Identity Guard’s plans offer $1 million in insurance.

Both also offer coverage for lost wages and similar expenses incurred in the process of getting your identity back and fixing the damage caused if you’ve become a victim of fraud.

In Zander’s favor, their family plans actually offer increased insurance. You’re getting $2 million in coverage for their Elite family plan, which is quite nice.

The main problem comes in Zander’s extensive list of exclusions, which include things like “legal fees exceeding $125 an hour”. This makes it much harder to actually make use of the insurance as compared to Identity Guard, which does still have monetary limits, but they’re defined on a weekly basis (eg. $2000 per week reimbursement on lost wages, up to 5 weeks).

That means these don’t actually limit you in terms of who you can get a consultation from regarding legal fees. The only limitation is that no additional funds are allocated for legal fees; if your lawyer is charging you $1 million in fees, you’re not getting anything else, which is fair enough.

Ultimately, Identity Guard wins with their ease and freedom of use compared to Zander, which may technically offer more money…sometimes.

Final Verdict

Zander unfortunately feels like a mostly incomplete service, which might make sense given that identity theft protection is not their main focus, being an insurance company first and foremost.

Identity Guard is ultimately going to be the best bet for almost any consumer in this case. I can’t actually think of any niche reasons why you would choose Zander, given that the price gap for Identity Guard’s equivalent service is so close, and that their monitoring is more accurate.

This is even before you take into account that Identity Guard’s Ultra plan, while nearly twice as expensive as Zander’s Elite plan, offers at least double the monitoring and protection power that Zander’s somewhat cumbersome and underpowered service actually offers.

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