Identity Guard vs. IDNotify

This is a hard comparison for me, because I like both of these services quite a bit. They each have a lot of high quality features to recommend them compared to other options out there, and I’d put both in my top three identity theft protection services on the market. So, keep in mind as we go forward: just because one of these options may lose a category to the other, it’s usually going to be by very slim margins where it counts.

Why Should You Trust Us?

identity theft protection

Our reviews focus on practicality. Our experts look at each product in situations identical to how anyone else in the real world would look at them. Our test information is constantly updated, and we keep an eye on each product and how it performs over time; usually about a month to really get a feel for the service and how it reacts to changes after the preliminary scan they give you when you sign up.

Once we get a strong impression of how each service works, we divide everything it offers into six key categories, in order of importance:

  1. Monitoring and alerts
  2. Threat resolution
  3. Insurance
  4. Ease of use 
  5. Cost
  6. Additional services

These categories are scored separately, but weighted in that order, with most of the final score being derived from a combination of those first two major categories. When it comes to identity theft protection, a lot of things are negotiable. Cost can fluctuate, or you can justify paying more for better service. You can get over a clunky interface, lack of additional features, and even lackluster insurance under the right circumstances.

However, the monitoring features and how they actually help you deal with identity fraud are always going to be vitally important. A service is nothing without those things.

Score Guide:

Is Buying Identity Theft Protection Worth It?

internet security concept. cyber security

All the major types of identity fraud, from phishing to ransomware have increased massively over the last few years. New cases are rising so rapidly that any numbers we give might be outdated by next week.

Almost everyone spends a ton of time online these days, for both business and pleasure. And that means cybercrime has become a much more tempting avenue for criminals to take over more dangerous (and often less lucrative) physical crimes.

Using internet best practices and otherwise good “cyberhygiene” helps a lot, but nobody’s perfect all the time. Eventually you’ll click a fishy link one too many times, accidentally open the wrong email, respond to a text message you shouldn’t have…and then you’ll have a headache to deal with.

Identity theft protection helps alleviate that headache, both by giving you access to experts who can help you make the problem go away, and by covering you with insurance that can blunt or even completely negate the financial impact of being a victim of fraud.

Everything I’ve said here applies double if you have a family, particularly with kids. Children are even more likely to be the victim of identity fraud than adults. Not just because their decision making can be flawed, but because their identities are blank slates that few people look into. This means that identity fraud can go unnoticed for years…until the child turns 18 and it’s suddenly relevant.

Ease of Use: Winner – Identity Guard

This is one of the cleaner wins for Identity Guard, as it usually is. I consider Identity Guard’s layout the gold standard among identity theft protection services. It is easy to navigate, frontloads you with relevant information presented in an easy to understand way, loads quickly, and is all around very simple to use.

Identity Guard dashboard

IDNotify, by contrast, is just okay. Better than average, I’d say, but not amazing by any means.

dashboard

The main thing with IDNotify is it has a smidge of a learning curve. Everything is well laid out, and there is a logic to it, but you’ll find yourself doing a lot of aimless clicking around to find what you need the first several times you access it. It’s not as intuitive as Identity Guard’s site, in other words.

I also find that on first logging in, it can be a bit overwhelming to see just a list of every single alert shoved in your face, though I do like the level of detail provided by each one there instead of just saying the number of alerts. So there’s a bit of a tradeoff.

Winner:Identity Guard

It is easy to navigate, frontloads you with relevant information presented in an easy to understand way, loads quickly, and is all around very simple to use.

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Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Identity Guard

This is the roughest category to call here, as IDNotify actually has some edges over Identity Guard that may be hard to quantify.

But first, we can quickly go over the easy stuff.

First, is the breadth of monitoring. IDNotify actually offers a very wide array of monitoring tools compared to similar “second string” identity theft protection services. Highlights include:

  • Change of Address Monitoring
  • Court Records and Booking Monitoring
  • Financial Account Takeover
  • Internet Surveillance (usually known as dark web monitoring)
  • Non-credit (aka Payday) Loan Monitoring
  • Sex Offender Monitoring
  • Social Network Monitoring
  • Social Security Number Trace 

This covers the vast majority of the bases you’d expect from a high-end identity theft protection service, only lacking the more specialized tools that larger services that Identity Guard offers alongside the other tools listed above. Chief among these are home title monitoring (the most important option for homeowners) and 401(k) and investment monitoring (important for investors and those with an eye on retirement).

In terms of speed and accuracy, Identity Guard and IDNotify are essentially identical. Both are blindingly fast at finding threats and alerting you to them, and throw up very few false positives.

The edge IDNotify has? Detail. Identity Guard can sometimes be a little vague about its alerts, making it hard to double check them, especially for “historical alerts” (pre-existing alerts from before you signed up).

IDNotify provides you with an almost uncomfortable level of detail, which is amazing to have when confirming or trying to deal with existing threats.

I think Identity Guard’s greater breadth of monitoring edges this out, but IDNotify’s superior depth and detail might be tempting to many people, especially if they have no need for Identity Guard’s more specialized tools.

A note: this only applies to the services’ top level plans: Premier for IDNotify, and Ultra for Identity Guard. Both services offer lesser plans that are not up to snuff.

Winner:Identity Guard

It is easy to navigate, frontloads you with relevant information presented in an easy to understand way, loads quickly, and is all around very simple to use.

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Threat Resolution Services: Winner – IDNotify

IDNotify offers 24/7 customer support, while Identity Guard offers limited hours (8 AM to 11 PM EST weekdays, 9 AM to 6 PM Saturdays, closed Sunday). That’s pretty much all that needs to be said, as everything else is basically identical.

Both offer wallet restoration services and not much else. If I had to nitpick I’d say Identity Guard’s representatives are usually a bit more knowledgeable (as they tend to be more experienced than the industry average), but this is more than balanced out by the increased availability making it easy to kick things up the line at IDNotify if your current representative isn’t able to solve your problem.

Winner:IDNotify

They offers 24/7 customer support, while Identity Guard offers limited hours (8 AM to 11 PM EST weekdays, 9 AM to 6 PM Saturdays, closed Sunday).

Insurance: Winner – Identity Guard

This is another easy one for Identity Guard. IDNotify doesn’t offer the same level of comprehensive insurance that Identity Guard does.

IDNotify offers a flat $1 million reimbursement plan – one pool that expenses and lost funds are reimbursed from. Identity Guard offers a potential $2 million total; $1 million for lost funds, and another for expenses.

That is simply better in every conceivable way.

Winner:Identity Guard

IDNotify doesn’t offer the same level of comprehensive insurance that Identity Guard does.

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Additional Services: Winner – Tie

Both services offer similar, though different, additional services.

Identity Guard has a threat calculator. You can put in your usual internet habits, and it will tell you how at risk your habits put you.

threat calculator

IDNotify, by contrast, shows your risk analytics for your area. Basically, how many alerts other IDNotify subscribers receive in your region.

Risk Analytics

Both of these tools basically lead you to the same place: greater awareness that identity theft is real, and it could happen to you. There is little practical use to either of these tools, but they can help some people understand the threat and take steps to better protect themselves.

Cost: Winner – IDNotify

Identity Guard has one of the best cost-to-effectiveness ratios on the market. IDNotify manages to beat it.

Quick Cost Comparison:

Essential
Select
Premier
Price
Individual
Essential
$9.99 /month
Select
$29.95 /month
Premier
$25.99 /month
Value
Total
Ultra
Price
Individual Monthly
Value
$7.20 /month
$86.40/year
Total
$15.99 /month
$191.88/year
Ultra
$23.99 /month
Individual Annual
Value
$6.67 /month
$80.04/year
Total
$15.99 /month
$159.96/year
Ultra
$20.00 /month
Family Monthly
Value
$11.99 /month
$143.88/year
Total
$23.99 /month
$287.88/year
Ultra
$31.99 /month
Family Annual
Value
$10.00 /month
$120.00/year
Total
$20.00 /month
$240.00/year
Ultra
$26.67 /month

You may notice an important difference here: IDNotify offers no annual payments for reduced monthly cost, and doesn’t offer clearly labeled family plan bundles. Additionally, at a glance, IDNotify looks more expensive.

For individuals, this is true. However, IDNotify has an amazing price structure when it comes to family coverage: it’s just a bit more hidden than the usual service. In this case, it’s a flat rate addition to any existing plan. $5 per month for child identity monitoring (up to 10 children), or $10 a month for 2 adults plus 10 children.

This is completely separate from the usual service tiers; it’s the same cost for each plan. This means a family plan nearly doubles the price for the Essential plan, but it’s less than a 50% increase for the Premier plan.

That still puts it at $4 per month more than the Identity Guard Ultra plan, but is, I think, still a better value in many ways. First, this plan is always available, and will never expire, while Identity Guard’s prices can increase after the first year.

The second is that IDNotify’s family plans are less restrictive than Identity Guard’s. Not everyone has to be living under the same roof, so you can cover split households (eg. after a divorce, or if a spouse works out of state). With Identity Guard you cannot, and would have to buy multiple plans.

Winner:IDNotify

So, IDNotify offers better family coverage for a similar price and effectiveness. Though Identity Guard does handily win this round when it comes to individual protection.

Conclusion: Winner – Identity Guard

identity guard

Don’t be fooled by Identity Guard winning most categories here, this was a really close race. IDNotify has a ton of great features, particularly in their family plan options, that I absolutely love.

The service makes for an excellent budget pick for families to cover just about everything, offering stellar performance and overall a great experience.

But Identity Guard’s better value for individuals and greater breadth of monitoring edges it out in my book, especially since its family plan options are still a little cheaper, when it comes to covering the average household.

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