Offers the most identity protection and monitoring of the 2 providers. Your entire identity, and your family’s, are protected and secured.
- Select from 3 plans and build the most comprehensive coverage for you and your family
- Monitor all of your financial accounts and investments to deter identity theft
- Receive alerts for suspicious activity on your 3-bureau credit file
It is an excellent choice for someone concerned with the essentials of identity protection and who operates on a budget.
- Protect the identities of your entire family with automated notifications and essential monitoring
- Insurance of up $1 million provides coverage for all of the expenses arising from identity theft.
- Monitor credit and accounts with a convenient app
If you’re looking for the best option for you out of the myriad alternatives in top Identity Theft Protection service providers, you need to know how to compare them. We take the guesswork out for you by comparing these two market leaders and breaking down exactly where their strengths – and weaknesses – lie.
This was a pretty hard match to judge in some areas. Read on for a detailed, blow-by-blow account of why Identity Guard ultimately came out on top.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Because we take the time to use each product the same way most users would. We start by shopping around for the best price we can find, and then sign up with our test information to see how accurate and fast each service is. We go over each part of what the service offers, step by step, with an eye toward a few key factors like how easy it is to use and how effective each of its tools turns out to be.
Once we’ve gathered all the information we can, we divide what we liked and didn’t like about each service into different categories, and weight each according to importance. These criteria are as follows:
- Monitoring and Alerts
- Threat Resolution
- Ease of Use
- Additional Services
From there, our final score is determined from the weighted average of these categories, with the bulk of the score coming from the top three criteria.
Why Get Identity Theft Protection At All?
Because if you’re active in any way on the internet, or even in business in general, there’s a solid chance your identity is going to get stolen in some way. Data breaches to companies you do business with can expose passwords and other information to bad actors, and there are a variety of other factors that can ruin your life lurking out there in the depths of the world, waiting to find people with a vulnerability.
Identity theft protection acts as both a deterrent and an early warning system, much like your home security system. It’s something everyone should have.
Let’s Get Started
Make no mistake, Identity Force is a very competent service that offers a wide range of protections and a satisfying amount of accuracy, plus a plethora of tools to help protect your identity. Even better, it offers something that no other service on the market offers within easy reach: education. Compared to Identity Guard it comes quite close, and makes an interesting budget option.
Unfortunately it falls off in a few key areas in terms of monitoring certain key identity aspects we’ll talk about later.
The table below highlights the key criteria we will be discussing for each provider and how they are weighted (ie. How important they are to the user.)
Ease of Use: Winner – Identity Guard
I’m going to talk about something here that I don’t usually bother to mention for other options: the signup process. The account setup for Identity Force was surprisingly difficult. The service asks for a lot of information in some annoyingly obtuse ways, and it ends up being very difficult to fill out all of the required boxes in the way they want you to.
It’s not helped that they’ve stuck to extremely old versions of text fields for things like your social security number, which don’t automatically advance to the next box when you’ve filled in the previous. This can lead to errors as text boxes don’t get filled properly, and so on. Extremely annoying.
Once signed in though, things are more promising.
As you can see, Identity Force’s dashboard isn’t quite the cleanest I’ve seen, but it works well. I’d put it somewhere below Identity Guard and IDShield, both of which have very good websites for different reasons, but not as bad as something like Experian or Zander.
It’s functional, but focuses a little bit on appearance that actually detracts from the functionality a bit; this dashboard has a lot of redundant information, and of particular note is the “Stay Informed” section shoved into the right side, seen below:
This is indicative of a larger problem with the dashboard: there’s just too much stuff here. You have to scroll down a lot to see all your monitored info, and this section in particular makes it look a lot like the homepage of a website or something similar, not an account overview.
A dashboard or overview page should give a lot of good “at a glance” information; the more your eyes need to roam to take in anything, the more the site has failed.
That said, everything else is quite good. The site loads all the tabs in under a second, and each is clearly labeled as to what it gives.
This part is on par with Identity Guard, making the very clunky dashboard screen really the deciding factor.
Look at Identity Guard’s version – this is what a dashboard should look like:
It’s not minimalist, per se, but it’s made up entirely of relevant info that you might actually need or want to see immediately on opening the page.
Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Identity Guard
Identity Force has very good monitoring for what it is. It covers a lot of your bases: fraud, dark web, transaction monitoring, bank activity alerts, and more. Everything you’d expect from a comprehensive identity monitoring service.
The monitoring is also blazing fast and accurate. It turned up alerts the instant I finished setting up the account, and I received a lot of texts in rapid succession informing me of them. While quite annoying in the moment, it’s nice to know how fast the alerts get sent out in the case of something being found. These alerts are also visible on their website.
All of the alerts were the exact ones I expected to find, and it’s the same ones Identity Guard turned up instantly as well.
Basically, it gets an A++ rating on speed and accuracy of alerts.
The rub is, as usual, that Identity Guard simply offers more comprehensive monitoring. Home title and 401(k) and investment monitoring aren’t even an option for Identity Force, which effectively only offers one tier of service (which I’ll get into below).
On top of that lack of monitoring breadth, Identity Guard has similar or better accuracy, and catches a lot of the more esoteric data breach options. Where Identity Force only shows an email address being compromised in many of the above alerts, Identity Guard throws up things like login details from various websites. It also conglomerates the email address alerts into a single alert instead of five separate ones, making the interface cleaner and easier to navigate.
Threat Resolution Services: Winner – Identity Guard
Identity Guard’s benefits are simple, but effective. Easy access to their customer support team with “white glove resolution concierge” to put you in contact with knowledgeable, helpful representatives who walk you through the process of getting your life back on track. There’s also a dedicated Wallet Protection service that helps you when your wallet has been lost or stolen.
Identity Force on the other hand has significantly worse customer support. It’s only open between the hours of 8 AM and 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Identity Guard is open significantly later most days (until 11 PM on weekdays) and they have Saturday availability as well.
On the bright side, they do offer some interesting side benefits I haven’t seen before. Dedicated support of deceased relatives is one; if your relative was a member of Identity Force when they died, their protection lasts indefinitely for the purpose of people using the identity of the deceased to commit fraud.
They also offer their resolution services to any immediate family member (parents, siblings, and children of the account holder) living under the same household: even people who don’t have a membership. Their information isn’t monitored, of course (you need a family plan for that), but they do have access to professionals who can help them after the fact if their identity is stolen.
Identity Guard still wins this round, based on the raw quality and competence of their customer service, not to mention availability. Still, Identity Force has a lot going for it here, despite the hassle.
Read More: Identity Guard Reviews
Additional Services: Winner – Identity Force
Identity Force offers a lot of stuff Identity Guard doesn’t in the realm of things not directly related to their identity theft protection service. Two are listed above; they can help family members who aren’t technically members.
But their Resources tab has all sorts of interesting surprises. They offer a wealth of in-depth information to educate yourself on the topic of identity theft and fraud.
Of particular note is this nice little feature: pre-written forms.
They offer a variety of forms that are easy to fill out and send off to various companies that may be abusing your information – by sending you marketing info you don’t need, for instance. This is the exact kind of thing that makes your life easier that a service like this should offer.
Identity Guard is a great service, but it doesn’t do much to streamline some of these often overlooked processes like this. AT best, Identity Guard offers a bit of education on scams and the like, with a plethora of well-written articles on identity theft, but this is fairly standard among these services.
Cost: Winner – Identity Guard
One of the main advantages Identity Guard has over other options is the ease of finding discounts, in particular a hefty 33% discount on all their plans that is available perpetually.
This brings their Ultra plan (our main point of comparison) down to a surprisingly low price.
Quick Price Comparison:
|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)|
Additionally, Identity Force offers “Childwatch” in lieu of a proper Family Plan, for $2.75 per month for each child tacked onto the plan. As a final incentive, you can get two months free when signing up for an annual membership.
As you can see, it’s not bad, but it’s nothing special in terms of price. UltraSecure is a lot better than Identity Guard Total, for only $2 more per month, which is great. Adding Credit though puts it at the same cost as Identity Guard Ultra, which is unfortunate. Ultra is better in every single conceivable way than UltraSecure+Credit, offering all the same options and then some for the same price.
Additionally, Identity Guard has some quite generous family plan offers, covering multiple adults (something Identity Force does not) as well as children for relatively slim price increases. This one is no contest. Save for those thinking about getting identity Guard Total (who could instead get Identity Force Ultra Secure, which is cheaper and better) Identity Guard simply offers a lower cost for better services.
Other Comparison Articles:
- Identity Guard versus ProtectMyID
- Experian and Identity Guard Features Compared
- Identity Guard vs IDShield – Which is the Winner?
- Zander versus Identity Guard
- InfoArmor AllState versus Identity Guard
Insurance: A Tie
Both services are essentially identical here. Both offer $1 million in insurance, and both cover all available expenses required to get your identity back.
This includes everything from lost wages due to needing to take time off, legal fees, reordering fees for documents that may have been lost or stolen, and so on.
The amounts are identical as well; for example both offer $2000 per week for up to 5 weeks on lost wages.
Identity Guard’s insurance is the gold standard, and Identity Force matches it step for step. A win for both options: they’re at the pinnacle of what’s on offer.
Final Verdict: Identity Guard
This was a really close one.
Identity Guard has the advantage of a breadth of monitoring that no other provider seems to really match (or does so at a much higher price point.) Home title monitoring in particular is a key feature for a lot of people, and it’s one of the biggest weak points out there for homeowners.
Combined with Identity Guard’s superior customer service and site layout, the win goes to Identity Guard, though by a much smaller margin than other providers.
Much like with IDShield, a lot of what’s on offer nevertheless makes Identity Force a force to be reckoned with, pun intended – It offers a ton of coverage, with blazing fast alert speeds and pinpoint accuracy on data breaches and monitoring. If you’re looking for a budget option with great insurance, powerful monitoring, and a lot of interesting features, Identity Force offers it.
Ultimately you will need to weigh up what your priorities are, depending on what your life circumstances are at the time.
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