As the threat of identity theft continues to grow, smart consumers are looking to protect themselves using protective and preventive services. A number of businesses and membership organizations are also taking these dangers seriously and are offering their customers access to identity theft monitoring.
Discover is one of these companies. While they’re best known for their credit cards and other financial services, they also offer an identity theft protection service that shouldn’t be overlooked. In our opinion, it can hold its own against some of the industry’s top names like Identity Guard, IdentityForce, and one of the biggest names in the game, NortonLifeLock.
LifeLock was founded in 2005, but the company has since been acquired by Symantec — the same people that brought you Norton antivirus. Now called NortonLifeLock, the service has become one of the most popular identity theft protection platforms on the market. And for good reason. It offers some of the most comprehensive coverage out there, and a suite of bonus features and cybersecurity offerings that make it really stand out.
Can Discover hold a candle to NortonLifeLock? Let’s take a deep dive into both services and see how they stack up against each other.
Discover and NortonLifeLock: The Similarities — Powerful Credit Monitoring and Identity Protections
First things first, we need to establish some context. For the purposes of this comparison, we will be using NortonLifeLock’s premier tier of service, called Ultimate Plus. This is their most expensive tier at $29.99 per month for the first year, and it’s also the service that offers the most features. For an in-depth look at the ins and outs of these features, we recommend checking out our full review of NortonLifeLock.
Now that that’s out of the way, we have to say these services are similar in a lot of ways. For one, both offer triple-bureau credit monitoring — a must-have in our opinion.
Why? Glad you asked. Credit monitoring is one of the best ways to detect identity theft. Unexpected drops in your credit score can be indicative that someone has opened up a line of credit or taken out a loan using your identity and welched on the bill. It’s important to monitor all three bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to make sure you catch this activity early before major damage can be done.
FYI: There are myriad identity protection services out there, and each one approaches credit monitoring a little differently. To help you find the right service, we’ve compiled a list of this year’s best credit monitoring services.
Both services also offer payday loan alerts, notifying you of accounts that open in your name from the top payday lenders — a favorite attack vector for identity thieves since they usually require less documentation to establish a loan than traditional outlets. This is good news for anyone looking for comprehensive identity theft protection.
Both services also offer intensive identity protections including address change alerts, criminal court alerts, and dark web monitoring. These are critical services that when vigilantly monitored can prevent identity theft from occurring in the first place, and we’re happy to share that both NortonLifeLock and Discover feel complete in these categories.
That said, there are some crucial differences in the way both companies approach identity theft protection. Let’s unpack those now.
NortonLifeLock vs Discover: The Differences — Features, Bonuses, and Preventative Measures
First and foremost, we have to address the fact that in order to access Discover's services, you have to be a Discover card-holder. This puts them at an automatic disadvantage since NortonLifeLock is available to anyone. However, Discover is a relatively popular financial institution, so odds are you might already have an account. If not, we can’t recommend one way or the other if you should open one only to have access to their identity theft protection services — probably not, but that’s up to you to decide.
That said, you’re going to notice a big difference in the cost and tiers of protection. While NortonLifeLock offers four levels of protection: Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus, Discover is much more simple, offering only one plan. And at only $15 per month, Discover’s plan is cheaper than LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus, which will run you $29.99 per month for the first year, then $34.99 per month after.
Discover also edges out NortonLifeLock by offering credit balance and card limit and utilization alerts. Not only can this help you identify if identity theft has taken place in near real-time, but it can also help you stay on track financially when you set limits and alerts in accordance with your budget. We always like when services offer tangential tools like this.
Did You Know? There’s a lot to consider when selecting an identity theft protection service. To help, we created an in-depth Identity Theft Buyer’s Guide on how to choose a plan that makes sense for you.
But with that in mind, NortonLifeLock blows Discover out of the water when it comes to add ons — particularly as it relates to cybersecurity. With a NortonLifeLock subscription, you’ll have access to antivirus software, safe browsing, and even a virtual private network. Not super surprising offerings from a company owned by a cybersecurity firm.
If you’re not familiar, Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs for short, essentially spoof the physical location of your computer, obfuscating your computer’s digital signature, making it much harder for hackers to break into your network. We love this, because not only does NortonLifeLock offer powerful identity theft monitoring tools, they’re also offering preventative measures to safeguard you against identity theft attacks in the first place.
But speaking of monitoring tools, with Discover, you’ll have access to monthly credit summaries of your activity with all three bureaus — the closest comparison with LifeLock is annual three-bureau credit reports. Keeping an eye on these reports with regular frequency will ensure there are no discrepancies or mistakes that might be negatively impacting your credit score, and is certainly best practice in our opinion. Point to Discover, here.
And add another point for Discover’s identity verification alerts. This is a particularly unique protection we’ve only seen offered here. Discover will actually alert you if someone correctly answers any Experian verification questions to access or create an account in your name — a sure sign of identity theft. But by monitoring this and addressing it early, it can be taken care of before any major damage can be done.
Finally, it’s also worth pointing out that Discover offers its services for free for up to ten children of the account holder. Great news for the budget-conscious large family, as adding LifeLock Jr. to an existing account is an additional $5.99 per month per child. If you have a few kids you want protected with NortonLifeLock, the costs are going to add up quickly.
But do you really need to protect your children? After all, they aren’t really participating in the financial world yet. The short answer is yes. Absolutely yes. After all, children are a primary target of identity thieves because they are, in essence, a blank slate. Because they don’t have anything established like property or bank accounts, their identities are easy to steal. Add to that the fact that the fraud is likely to go undiscovered for years, and you’ll understand why children are so often preyed upon by fraudsters.
Did You Know? Discover isn’t the only identity theft protection service built with families in mind. We’ve compiled a guide to the best identity theft services for protecting children.
So that about does it with the differences between NortonLifeLock and Discover. Both are solid choices, but Discover might be a little better for a family, while NortonLifeLock is better for the tech-savvy who are looking to be a little more proactive on the prevention side of things.
Now the next section is a little uncomfortable to think about, but it’s critically important to understand. What happens if your identity is stolen? If worse comes to worse, which service is better to have in your corner? This is definitely something to consider when comparing identity theft protection plans.
Discover and NortonLifeLock: Resolution and Restitution — Complete Peace of Mind
The good news is both Discover and NortonLifeLock are pretty similar in terms of offering financial restitution should your identity be stolen. Both offer up to $1 million in insurance to cover stolen funds, but NortonLifeLock takes it a little further by also offering up to $1 million to pay for lawyers and other experts. Worth pointing out again, though, we’re talking about their Ultimate Plus plan here — NortonLifeLock’s lower tiers of service offer less insurance. We’ll get into that in the next section, though.
Both services also offer round-the-clock access to U.S.-based identity restoration specialists that will see your case through from incident to resolution. These specialists will help guide you through conversations with financial institutions and with the credit monitoring bureaus themselves to get your identity restored.
In our opinion, this peace of mind is really what these services are all about, and one of their most valuable aspects. Both NortonLifeLock and Discover’s offerings in this regard are more than acceptable, and you’ll be in good hands with either service.
FYI: If you think you’ve become the victim of ID theft or cyber-fraud, we recommend reading our guide on how to report identity theft.
Now finally, let’s talk about protection packages and selecting the service that’s right for you.
NortonLifeLock vs Discover: Pricing, Packages, and Tiers of Service
As we mentioned before, NortonLifeLock has four tiers of service — Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. We’ve made this handy chart so you can compare them, or you can read our NortonLifeLock plans and pricing guide for a more comprehensive look.
|LifeLock Services||Standard||Select||Advantage||Ultimate Plus|
|Credit Monitoring||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Annual Credit Report and Scores||No||No||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Sex Offender Registry Reports||No||No||No||Yes|
|Stolen Funds Reimbursement||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $100,000||Up to $1 Million|
|VPN||Not Provided||Up to 5 Devices||Up to 10 Devices||Unlimited Devices|
Discover, as we said, is a little more straightforward. There is only one tier of service and one flat rate — $15 per month. Here’s what you’ll get:
Discover’s Identity Theft Protection Plans
|Triple-Bureau Credit Monitoring||Monthly Triple-Bureau Activity Summary||U.S.-Based Fraud Resolution Specialists|
|Dark Web Monitoring||Digital Dashboard||Up to $1 Million in Reimbursement|
|Credit Balance, Limit and Utilization Alerts||Mobile App||X|
|Change of Address Alerts||X||X|
|Criminal Court Alerts||X||X|
We’ve worked with numerous identity theft protection services in the past, and we have to say, Discover isn’t one you should overlook. To their credit, Discover really does give NortonLifeLock a run for its money when you compare its features to its cost.
Discover and NortonLifeLock: The Final Wisdom
So which service is right for you? It’s tough for us to say with confidence, but we give the nod to NortonLifeLock. Both NortonLifeLock and Discover offer robust protections both in terms of finances and critical pieces of identifiable information. It’s worth considering that Discover is only available to card-holders, while NortonLifeLock’s premier plan is one of the most expensive (but comprehensive) services on the market today.
That said, NortonLifeLock’s services, features, and bonuses edge out Discover, while Discover’s ability to cover up to 10 children at no additional charge might make the choice easy for someone with a large family. Ultimately, it’s about selecting the service you feel the most comfortable with that matches your personal habits and situation the best. For our money, we’d go with NortonLifeLock, but we certainly understand why Discover would be appealing to some consumers.
That said, when looking for the identity theft protection service that’s right for you, it always helps to comparison shop. There are tons of identity theft protection services on the market, which is why we’ve built this handy ID theft protection comparison guide. We suggest starting there to find the service that’s right for you.
FAQs About Both Services
Both NortonLifeLock and Discover both offer robust identity theft protections. NortonLifeLock, however, offers more features, while Discover is better for large families.
Yes, both services monitor all three credit bureaus; however, NoronLifeLock’s lower tiers of service only offer single-bureau monitoring.
NortonLifeLock offers far more preventative cybersecurity measures than Discover.
Yes, both services scan the dark web for identifiable pieces of information that fraudsters could use to steal your identity.
Discover costs $15 per month, while NortonLifeLock will run between $9.99 per month and $29.99 per month.