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I spent weeks testing Equifax Complete and Equifax Complete Premier only to be thoroughly disappointed.
Equifax offers good credit monitoring tools – which is to be expected. After all, they’re one of the three major credit bureaus!
But when it comes to identity protection, Equifax isn’t the best choice. Not when you can get Aura, a much more accurate and comprehensive service at the same price as Equifax’s lowest-tier plan (when you use our discount code).
You can lock in our OFF discount on Aura for life, today!
- You want comprehensive monitoring that watches the dark web, public records, and financial accounts – helping you keep track of everything from your home title to your Social Security number.
- You want 24/7/365 U.S.-based customer service that’s available to help with everything from product questions to identity restoration.
- You want to include your entire family in one plan, including adult children, parents, in-laws, and anyone else who needs protection. With Aura, you can include up to five adults and unlimited children on any family plan.
- You have young children that you need to protect online. Aura provides extra features for parents, including parental controls and safe-gaming tools that keep kids safe from bullies and predators online.
- You want to monitor your credit, and identity protection is secondary.
- You don’t want any additional features whatsoever. A simple credit and identity protection monitoring service is enough for you.
- Accurate dark web monitoring isn’t that important to you. You’re fine with missing threats.
If you’re interested in Equifax’s identity protection tools, this review should quench your curiosity. I cover everything from monitoring accuracy to family plan inclusions. And, though I found Equifax lacking, maybe it’s precisely what you need.
After all, choosing an identity protection service is personal. It will watch over some of your most significant valuables, like your retirement savings and credit score. You need one that you feel confident with.
So, read on to discover if that’s Equifax for you. I seriously doubt that will be the case. But ultimately, it’s your choice.
But First, Why Should You Trust Us?
You can learn more about our testing process here.
Equifax Complete Review: Is It Worth Getting?
No, Equifax is not worth getting for most people. It’s a credit monitoring tool with identity protection thrown in at a cost that doesn’t make any sense.
I know that sounds harsh, but after testing it, I really don’t see how anyone can justify its monthly cost. At close to double the discounted price of Aura, you get less than half the monitoring tools and no additional features.
And, if you keep reading, you’ll find these tools are riddled with issues.
Read also our in-depth review of ID Watchdog, another Equifax owned ID protection service.
Editor’s Ranking Table
Monitoring & Alerts
Theft Insurance Per Adult
Renewal Price Increased After 1st Year?
Monitoring & Alerts: 5/10
Equifax gets half the equation right when it comes to monitoring and alerts.
That’s no surprise. Just like other credit bureaus that create identity protection services, Equifax puts the vast majority of its efforts towards protecting your credit rather than your full identity.
That’s a problem because monitoring for identity threats is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from a major theft event. If you know your email’s compromised, a simple password change might prevent damage. But if you don’t know your information is on the dark web, you can’t do anything to block threats.
Equifax Complete Premier offers the following:
- Three-bureau credit monitoring
- Dark web monitoring
There are no criminal records monitoring, address change monitoring, investment account monitoring, transaction monitoring, or home and auto title monitoring.
In other words, even with the top-tier option, Equifax fails to offer anything close to comprehensive monitoring. Other services, like Aura, offer all of the above at a better price point.
But let’s say you’re still interested in Equifax’s protection services, even with limited monitoring coverage. The next thing you’ll need to know is whether Equifax’s monitoring is accurate and whether the alerts are actionable.
Read on to learn what happened when I put Equifax’s limited services to the test.
Dark Web Coverage
With the Equifax Complete Premier plan, you get a “WebScan” service. This feature requires you to provide your personal details (your Social Security number, email, credit card, and medical ID). Then, it supposedly scans the dark web for your information.
Dark web monitoring is the bread and butter of an identity protection company’s monitoring services, and I use it to indicate overall value.
The best services always find some of my information on the dark web, which is normal. No matter how careful you are about internet security, some of your information has likely leaked to the darker depths of the internet.
Usually, services find this information within a matter of minutes, sometimes hours. The slowest services might take a full day. But after three days of waiting for Equifax to find something…
It failed. Equifax found none of my information on the dark web.
That’s a huge red flag, and it shows me this service isn’t providing the accurate monitoring it should be.
Credit and Financial Monitoring
Equifax’s credit monitoring is much more thorough. On top of three-bureau credit monitoring, Equifax provides:
- Score monitoring with custom alerts
- Annual three-bureau credit reports
- Daily one-bureau credit reports
Score monitoring with custom alerts is a uniquely good feature. You can set it so that you receive an alert if your score falls or rises by a certain number of points.
You can also set it to alert for different aspects of your credit reports. For example, you can set up alerts for balance changes on revolving credit accounts. This allows you to use the service in a way similar to other products’ transaction monitoring since you’ll be able to see when your credit card balances rise or fall.
Unfortunately, Equifax doesn’t offer any further financial monitoring tools. It doesn’t monitor your investment or 401(K) accounts, for example. Top-tier services tend to include this, and given Equifax’s pricing, I would expect them to as well.
Equifax doesn’t monitor public records for your information at all.
Identity theft comes in many forms, and they don’t always affect your credit (at least not right away). Consider these examples:
- A criminal commits a crime, gets caught, and uses your name (making you look like the guilty party)
- A sex offender uses your name on the sex offender registry
- A thief files a USPS address change in your name and begins collecting your mail, giving them access to new credit cards, bank statements, tax information, and more.
These instances illustrate why comprehensive identity protection services monitor public records on your behalf. They alert you if your name shows up in a court record, the sex offender registry, or through a USPS address change.
Higher-end services also include home title monitoring. Aura even goes as far as to include auto title monitoring, ensuring thieves can’t effectively steal your home or car from under your nose.
So, Equifax skipping public record monitoring is a significant flaw.
It’s hard for me to evaluate a service’s alerts when they don’t find any threats. I can’t tell you first-hand how actionable their alerts are, but I can show you what Equifax’s message center looks like.
When you click on the alerts symbol in the top right-hand corner of your dash, you enter Equifax’s message center. Presumably, they’ll send dark web and credit alerts here (as well as to your e-mail) – if they manage to find anything.
Threat Resolution: 7/10
Given Equifax’s poor monitoring capabilities, I would hope it excels at resolving threats. If it didn’t catch possible issues before they balloon into problems, I hope the service at least helps you deal with them.
In this area, Equifax is okay, but it’s far from excellent.
I called Equifax’s customer service line on a Sunday at noon. After getting through a series of pre-recorded instructions about how to make credit disputes and review your score online, I reached an annoying automated system – the kind that makes you “briefly state why you’re calling.”
After navigating that, I was on hold for five minutes before reaching a human being. Though the process of reaching her was trying, I can’t complain too much. She was helpful and could answer all of my questions.
My real complaint with Equifax’s customer service is in its limited hours.
They’re available 9 am-9 pm EST, Monday through Friday, and 9 am – 6 pm on weekends. It’s not the most ungenerous hours I’ve seen, but other (better) services offer 24/7/365 availability.
Equifax’s Complete Premier plan comes with identity restoration from a specialist team. This includes:
- Assistance in placing a 7-year extended fraud alert and security freeze with each credit bureau
- Help to complete an FTC identity theft report and a police report
- Help with ordering credit reports from the three bureaus
- Mediated calls with necessary third parties to help restore your identity
While Equifax seems to emphasize credit restoration more than anything else, what they’re offering is essentially the same as all the other identity protection services. There’s nothing special here, but there’s no reason to complain, either.
Of course, this is only available with their Complete Premier plan. Equifax Complete (the lower-tier option) doesn’t include restoration services at all.
Lost Wallet Protection
Equifax’s lost wallet protection is straightforward – they’ll help you cancel and replace the contents of your wallet, such as your ID and bank cards, should they be lost or stolen.
While other services offer direct hotlines and secure storage vaults to make this process easier, Equifax offers nothing of the sort. You have to call their customer care team, within the limited service hours, to get their help.
Theft Insurance: 7/10
Equifax’s Complete Premier plan meets the industry standard when it comes to theft insurance – it offers up to $1 million in aggregate coverage for stolen funds, expenses related to identity restoration, and legal fees.
There are certain limits to this. Legal fees, for example, can only run up to $125 per hour. But, the policy itself is very similar to just about every other identity protection service. That said, it’s far from the best.
Equifax’s Complete Premier plan’s insurance is static at $1 million. So, even if you have a family plan that includes your spouse and children, you don’t get more than $1 million in coverage. Better options, like Aura, increase your theft insurance coverage with every adult on your plan.
You also have to purchase the Complete Premier plan to get the standard $1 million in coverage. If you opt for the lower-tier Equifax Complete plan, the insurance coverage drops to $500,000. That’s not very much coverage, given how expensive an identity theft event can be (and given the monthly cost of Equifax Complete).
Family Plans: 7/10
In some ways, Equifax’s family plans are above average, but compared to other options, they’re not the best choice overall.
Let me explain.
Equifax family plans are exactly the same as Equifax Complete Premier plans but for a family. You can include up to two adults and four children.
While many identity protection services strictly define children as someone under 18, Equifax stands out here by allowing college kids to stay on their parent’s plan. As long as your child is unmarried, under 26, and enrolled in an accredited school, you can keep protecting them through Equifax’s services.
However, unlike other services, Equifax doesn’t offer any extra family-friendly features. There are no parental control packages, safe-gaming add-ons, secure digital storage vaults, or extra insurance coverage for families.
That’s why, if you’re shopping for a family plan, I don’t think Equifax is the best pick.
Better options, like Identity Guard or Aura, offer more family flexibility – allowing you to include up to five adults and unlimited children on any family plan. You can include your parents, in-laws, and adult kids (whether they’re in college or not).
Services like Aura, Allstate, and even LifeLock, also include tons of family features like parental control suites. Aura even includes safe gaming, which monitors player interactions on over 200 online games for signs of bullying, grooming, and harassment.
So if you’re a parent, you probably want to consider something other than Equifax. Their family plans are okay, but you can get more thorough digital protection at a comparable (if not far better) price point with one of the other above options.
Ease of Use: 9/10
To Equifax’s credit, its services are very easy to use.
The dashboard is nicely laid out, and navigation is a breeze.
Of course, it features credit monitoring tools more prominently than anything else, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a major credit bureau.
My only complaint here is that the “WebScan” (dark web monitoring) feature doesn’t pull any of your sign-up information to start monitoring.
When you sign-up for Equifax Complete or Complete Premier, you have to enter your email, phone number, and social security number. The service uses these to populate your credit score and report. But it doesn’t carry the information over to the dark web monitoring portion of the service. Instead, it forces you to reenter all of your information.
Services that focus more on identity protection use your sign-up information for both credit and identity monitoring, so you don’t waste time entering everything twice.
Additional Services: 0/10
Many identity protection services come with full digital privacy tools. They include VPNs, antivirus software, password managers, and more.
Equifax products don’t include any additional services.
That wouldn’t be a deal breaker, except…
Equifax is sort of expensive.
Equifax Complete Cost: 3/10
Individual Plan Cost
Aura only offers one plan but offers the same benefits as Identity Guard's Ultra plan
Couple Plan Cost
Family Plan Cost
Aura only offers one plan but offers the same benefits as Identity Guard's Ultra plan
Renewal Price Increased After 1st Year?
And here’s the big problem with Equifax.
It’s pricey given what it does (and doesn’t) include.
Equifax Complete, which offers subpar insurance coverage and no restoration services, runs $9.95 monthly. Complete Premier, which meets more industry standards, jumps to $19.95 monthly, and Family Plan $29.95 monthly!
With no additional features, poor monitoring services, and so-so insurance coverage, charging that much doesn’t make any sense! There are much better identity protection options!
How do I cancel Equifax?
You can cancel Equifax through your account.
If you’ve already purchased Complete or Complete Premier and are rethinking your choice, just log in to your account. Then, click on your name in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Choose “My Account” and then “Cancel Subscription” to stop services.
Is there an alternative to Equifax?
There are several alternatives to Equifax when it comes to identity and credit protection. For comprehensive and award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring with top-notch restoration services and a full fleet of digital privacy features, I recommend Aura.
It’s available at a lower price than Equifax Complete Premier and is a much better value.
What was the most recent Equifax breach?
Equifax experienced a data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal data of over 147 million people. There’s currently an open breach settlement. So, if your data was exposed, you may be entitled to reimbursement on products and any identity theft expenses due to the breach. You can submit a claim through January 2024 at EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.
Final Verdict: 6/10
Equifax isn’t a good option for true identity theft protection. It’s a good credit monitoring service, but that’s about it.
If you want to protect your identity and your credit score, you need more.
You need thorough monitoring, including everything from your home title to your social security number.
You also need 24/7 customer service with expert threat resolution. Your identity theft insurance coverage should increase as you add people to your plan, and you should have the flexibility to add as many adults as you need to protect.
Your identity theft protection service should come with high-end tools that help you retain privacy. Ideally, it will have a VPN, antivirus software, a password manager, and a secure storage vault.
And, if you have children, you want a service that protects them online, too, with thorough parental controls and safe gaming tools.
Only one service does all of that at a lower price than Equifax Complete Premier, and that’s Aura.
It’s what I use to protect my identity, and it’s the only service I can wholeheartedly recommend. So if you want peace of mind with comprehensive protection, you want Aura, not Equifax.
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