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Equifax Review

Friday, March 1st

2024 Credit Monitoring Company Reviews

Equifax Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • 1 free plan
  • 5 paid plans
  • All packages come with 3-bureau credit monitoring, SSN monitoring, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance
  • Family package available to cover up to 4 children
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB

Equifax is one of the three major credit bureaus, alongside Experian and TransUnion. It collects and maintains consumer credit information used by lenders and businesses to assess creditworthiness. Equifax provides credit reports, credit scores, and credit monitoring services for individuals. Should you consider going directly to the source, so to speak, for your credit monitoring?

Lots of plans to choose from for credit monitoring and beyond

Equifax offers one free and five paid packages. But, it took a lot of digging to find the free plan and the three least-expensive tiers of service (which we find annoying, honestly). Here's what we found:

  • Core Credit (free): no-cost access to your monthly Equifax score and credit report. This is similar to what you might already get when you log into your bank account or credit card dashboard, and doesn't come with any true monitoring features.
  • Credit Monitor ($4.95/month): this tier monitors your Equifax credit report and score only (not the other two bureaus or FICO), and lets you lock your credit report.
  • Complete ($9.95/month): Equifax's most entry-level credit plus identity monitoring service, reporting solely on your Equifax credit report. You'll get up to $500k in identity theft insurance and can access identity restoration specialists if you're the victim of ID theft.
  • ID Patrol ($16.95/month): it comes with three-bureau credit monitoring (surprising considering that two bureaus are direct rivals), Social Security number monitoring, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
  • Premier ($19.95/month): you get all the features of ID Patrol, as well as identity restoration services if you're the victim of ID fraud or theft.
  • Family ($29.95/month): this package is essentially the Premier plan but it includes up to 4 children as well.
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Reputation is on the mend

Despite having issues with a 2017 data breach, Equifax's reputation has more or less recovered, as demonstrated by an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. That doesn't mean that people now love this credit bureau - almost 5000 people have filed complaints with the BBB in the last three years - but it's a step in the right direction.

Not a bad option for tracking your credit and identity

As for credit monitoring, we give Equifax a half-star boost compared with our last evaluation of the service. The numerous package options are confusing and feel a little nickel-and-dime, especially when much of what they offer as "affordable" services are available for free if you know where to look (like some of the higher-rated providers on our list, for starters). But, there's nothing wrong with choosing credit monitoring through Equifax if you see something you like - just read the details carefully to be sure that the plan you choose actually includes the services you need.

Who Offers the Best Credit Monitoring Service?

In today's interconnected digital world, maintaining a strong credit profile is essential. That's where credit monitoring services come into play - valuable tools to safeguard your financial well-being and keep you informed about your credit health. These services provide continuous oversight of your credit report and alert you to any significant changes.

Credit monitoring lets you to detect and respond swiftly to potential threats like identity theft, fraud, or errors on your credit reports. They do this by sending you alerts via email or text whenever there are significant changes in your credit report. They offer ongoing monitoring of your credit reports from major credit bureaus, allowing you to stay vigilant without manual effort. Moreover, many credit monitoring services provide educational resources and tips for improving your credit scores and managing debt.

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Credit Monitoring Company FAQ

Credit monitoring keeps an eye on financial transactions associated with your credit use: your buying behavior, changes in your credit score, and so on. When potential fraud is detected, a credit monitoring service notifies you quickly so that you can put a stop to any unauthorized use of your information or money.
Unless you have the time and energy to keep an eagle-eye watch over all of your accounts, credit monitoring is a must in this age of phishing scams, spam phone calls, and data breaches. Having a credit monitoring service in place can shut down fraudsters early on, before any serious damage is done to your credit history (or your bank balance!).
It's important to point out that credit monitoring doesn't prevent fraud. It can only give you tools to try and protect yourself, while letting you know right away if anything suspicious is detected. Credit monitoring won't stop your credit card from being skimmed, keep your data protected if there's a breach somewhere, or prevent an identity theft from applying for credit in your name.
Both types of score represent different models used to predict how likely it is that any given consumer will be at least 90 days behind on a bill sometime in the next two years. Because they give different weights to the various components in their calculations, the scores they return can be different for the same individual. For example, to get a FICO score, you need to have at least one credit account that's six months "old" or more, but a VantageScore only requires you to have one active account (even if it's not six months "old" ).
Many services are offered at no charge. Yes, you read that correctly: you can get a certain level of credit monitoring for absolutely no fees. However, if you're looking for the most comprehensive services, you can expect monthly fees ranging from $12 to $35.
It's definitely worth considering. Because most minors don't have extremely active credit accounts (car loans, credit cards, and so on), fraud can go undetected for a very long time. Without credit monitoring, your child could go to apply for a college loan or their first credit card and find out that someone has been using their name to open accounts for years!
Be sure to check out what other customers have said about the service. Also, look for a listing with the Better Business Bureau, to give yourself that added assurance that the credit monitoring service you're considering is reputable.
While your credit card company probably does alert you if fraud is detected, it's not designed to be comprehensive: they don't keep an eye on your bank account or any use of your Social Security number to open accounts. Your bank may provide your credit score when you sign into your account, but they don't flag most transactions. Unless you're going to play an active role in monitoring your credit, it's worth it to pay for a service to track it all for you. Plus, many credit monitoring services will help you restore your identity if it's compromised while you're a subscriber.
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Continued from above...

In the unfortunate event of identity theft, reputable credit monitoring services often offer assistance in resolving issues and restoring your credit, providing you with valuable support and guidance during a challenging time. It's important to note that credit monitoring primarily focuses on credit-related activities and may not detect all forms of identity theft or fraud, such as medical or criminal identity theft.

Additionally, you may receive alerts for legitimate actions, which could lead to unnecessary concern or alert fatigue. And, it's crucial to understand that credit monitoring services can't prevent or stop fraudulent activities; they can only provide information and alerts, underscoring the importance of your own proactive vigilance in protecting your financial well-being.

Now that you understand what credit monitoring can (and can't) do for you, how do you choose which option is right for you? There are a lot of similarities among providers of this service, and it can get frustrating trying to sort out the minute differences that could impact your decision.

Consider these factors that might illuminate those differences and make it clearer which one you should choose:

  • Cost. Evaluate the pricing structure, including monthly or annual fees, to determine if it offers a good value for what you'll be paying. Don't shy away from free credit monitoring options, either.
  • Features. Consider the range of features offered, such as credit report monitoring, credit score tracking, identity theft protection, and fraud resolution support. Check which credit bureaus' reports are monitored, as coverage can vary among different services (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or even FICO).
  • Reputation. Research the service provider's reputation, read user reviews, and assess their track record in delivering reliable alerts and assistance.
  • Alert system. Assess the speed and effectiveness of the alert system in notifying you about changes in your credit reports.
  • Customer support. Look for responsive customer support options, especially for resolving issues related to false alarms or identity theft incidents.
  • Educational resources. Some of the best credit monitoring services go the extra mile to help you understand credit reports, scores, and financial management.
  • Mobile app. If applicable, evaluate the user-friendliness and functionality of the mobile app for convenient access to credit information.

Credit monitoring services offer you valuable tools to protect your financial well-being and maintain a healthy credit profile, and Top Consumer Reviews has done the legwork to make it easy to compare today's most popular providers. We're confident that this information will empower you to take control of your financial life and stay on top of your credit profile.

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