When you’re looking for identity theft protection, it pays to comparison shop. With that in mind, we tested and compared two of the most popular services out there — Equifax and NortonLifeLock — to get a feel for them side-by-side. While they’re both very different, we think you’ll find that both services have plenty of merit in their own ways.
LifeLock was founded back in 2005 and has since been acquired by the computer security giant Symantec of Norton antivirus fame. Now known as NortonLifeLock, the service helps protect customers by monitoring their personal and financial information and alerting them to indicators of fraud. When we recently used the service, we were immediately impressed with NortonLifeLock’s mobile app and their device security offerings.
Equifax, on the other hand, has been around for over a century and is best known as one of the three main credit bureau reporting agencies. However, they now offer identity theft protection that can help prevent bad actors from stealing your identity and committing fraud in your name. As you’ll see, Equifax’s credit monitoring and reporting features really stood out to us while testing out the service.
Did You Know: Equifax compiles information on over 800 million individual consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide.
We like both services for different reasons, and we’re confident one will be right for you, too. Let’s take a look at both side by side to help you make a good decision on how to best protect yourself.
Overview: LifeLock vs Equifax
Both NortonLifeLock and Equifax offer similar core features like social security number monitoring and fraud alerts, but when it comes to execution, these companies are on opposite ends of the spectrum. When we reviewed Equifax, we found it to be a much more utilitarian service, foregoing the frills and perks we saw when we looked at NortonLifeLock. Both services are complete and their coverage is — in our opinion — more than adequate, but you get a lot more features when you choose NortonLifeLock.
Before we dive into the features and daily use, though, let’s take a look at the ways these two services are similar.
Similarities Between Equifax and NortonLifeLock
First, let’s talk about the core functions. Both Equifax and NortonLifeLock offer fraud and identity protection in the form of three-bureau credit monitoring, access to scores and reports, internet monitoring, and restoration services. These are the normal features you’ll see with pretty much any service — although the triple-bureau credit monitoring usually only shows up in higher-end services and packages.
Pro Tip: We always recommend going with triple-bureau monitoring whenever possible, and to that end, here’s our list of the best credit monitoring services out there.
The reason we always recommend triple-bureau monitoring is pretty simple. Creditworthiness in today’s world is usually determined by the three bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Each report is similar, but the way your score is calculated and the data points used to determine it differ slightly between agencies. That’s why it’s not uncommon for scores to be different from bureau to bureau, but it also means that improprieties that appear on one report might not on another. For the most complete protection, you want to be watching all three.
Note that Equifax only offers two tiers of service: ID Patrol and Complete Premier. And NortonLifeLock offers four services: Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. Not surprisingly, the basic packages for both services are definitely affordable, but you won’t have access to all the features. Also worth noting, you’ll only get triple-bureau credit monitoring from NortonLifeLock if you go with the Ultimate Plus plan (which is what we recommend).
Both brands also offer restoration and insurance should you become the victim of identity theft. Whether you go with Equifax or NortonLifeLock, you’ll be entitled to up to $1 million if any funds are stolen from you, and they also both provide ID theft insurance of up to $1 million as well. This is something you should always look out for when selecting an identity theft protection service. And for reference, here’s our roundup of the top ID theft protection services available. We think the peace of mind restoration and insurance offers is invaluable regardless of the plan you select.
Now that we’ve unpacked how Equifax and NortonLifeLock are similar, let’s take a look at the critical differences that make them unique — and that will certainly give you more context for making a smart choice.
Differences: Equifax and LifeLock go Head-to-Head
In a word — features. NortonLifeLock’s got them, and Equifax doesn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Some people are looking for a more hands-off approach to identity theft protection, and some prefer to get in there and tinker with the nobs. And if you like tinkering, NortonLifeLock has plenty for you to do. Here’s a quick rundown of the add-ons you’ll get with their premium package:
- Cloud Backup
- Virus Protection
- Parental Controls
- VPN Access
- Password Manager
- Ad-Tracker Blocker
- Sex Offender Alerts
None of these peripheral services are offered by Equifax; their service is much more standard and spartan. That’s a double-edged sword, though. Equifax is very easy to set up and get running, while NortonLifeLock is a much more involved process.
That said, there are also differences in the overall experience of using the services. The feel, if you will. NortonLifeLock feels slightly more modern. Everything is sleek and elegant with the service, while Equifax offers a more utilitarian experience. Neither approach is wrong, per se, but the difference is night and day.
Personally, we prefer the NortonLifeLock approach. There are so many features, we can fiddle with it all day every day and always find something new. We also prefer the design, which feels a lot more up-to-date than Equifax. But again — that’s just us.
Also worth pointing out, Equifax does not offer an app version of their service — they’re all desktop. This might not be a big deal for some people, especially if you’re opting for an “always running in the background” type service like Equifax. However, if you’re looking to manage your identity theft protection on the go, you should really consider picking NortonLifeLock. Their app is one of the best we’ve seen.
Both Equifax and NortonLifeLock offer versions of identity monitoring. You’ll of course get the standard social security and address monitoring with both as well as fraud alerts and dark web monitoring, but if you go with NortonLifeLock, you’ll get a little extra.
Did You Know: The so-called deep web — home of the dark web and some of the most nefarious activity on the internet — is estimated to be 500 times larger than the common internet.
In addition to the standard services above, NortonLifeLock also monitors court records for crimes committed in your name, file-sharing network searches, and even provides parental controls for your child’s computer.
Should either service catch something untoward, you’ll be alerted immediately. Equifax’s alert system feels a little dated, but the information you’ll need is all there. NortonLifeLock also offers actionable alerts with complete information and steps to take if action is required on your part. So good news for both services there.
For our money, we prefer NortonLifeLock’s identity monitoring, but only if you go with the Ultimate Plus plan. The additional features are all meaningful and offer a higher level of protection where Equifax falls just a bit short.
Financial & Credit Monitoring
Equifax and NortonLifeLock’s premium plan both monitor all three credit bureaus, which, as we explained earlier, is definitely a good thing. You always want to pick the most complete protection possible, and single-bureau just doesn’t get it done for us. They both also provide you with access to your credit reports from all three bureaus — also a good thing — so you can check to make sure there’s nothing out of place.
Did You Know: When choosing an identity theft package, you’ll want to consider features and tech, pricing, and more. To help you out here, we created an in-depth Identity Theft Buyer’s Guide on how to choose a service that makes sense for you.
True to the theme, though, NortonLifeLock provides a few little bonuses you won’t find at Equifax like 401k monitoring, account takeover alerts, and checking and savings account application alerts. These might seem like overkill, but they really aren’t. Account takeover is occurring more frequently, and specifically monitoring for it can save you a tremendous amount of headache. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you checked your savings only to find it completely drained? Best to avoid that nightmare.
Also worth noting — both services offer immediate credit locks. Equifax, understandably, will lock your Equifax credit report, and NortonLifeLock will lock up your TransUnion score. This is a great feature to have and should be taken advantage of immediately. If you’ll allow us to get up on our soapbox for a bit, we’ll tell you why.
Locking your credit makes it so no one but you can access the report, and only if it’s unlocked. This prevents ne’er-do-wells from opening up new lines of credit or taking out loans without your knowledge. It’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself, and we’re happy that both NortonLifeLock and Equifax help you do it.
Did You Know: There’s a difference between a credit freeze and a credit lock. Locks can be toggled on or off in real-time, while freezes take time to set and undo.
Identity Restoration & Insurance Coverage
Both Equifax and NortonLifeLock will help if your identity is ever stolen or you become the victim of fraud, and that peace of mind goes a long way. The services both provide access to experts that will help resolve your case, and both offer up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement and ID theft insurance. NortonLifeLock takes it a step further, and also offers up to $1 million to cover the costs of lawyers and other experts.
This is tremendously important, and it’s why any service worth its salt will offer robust restoration services. Hopefully you’ll never need them, but this is the majority of what you’re paying for, right here. Let’s say your credit score plummets and you’re suddenly getting threatening calls from lenders you’ve never dealt with. It’d be really helpful to have some expert resources at your disposal to get the issue worked out, right?
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.
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. The coverage provided by each of these services is really worth its weight in gold. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing categories of crime, and even if you’re extremely careful, you can still fall victim. It’s helpful to know that either of these services will have your back in the event something terrible happens.
Equifax & LifeLock Plans
If you choose to go with Equifax, you won’t have to decide between much. If you just want your identity protected, there’s the ID Patrol service, but if you want full credit monitoring, you’ll want to go with Complete Premier. The former is $16.95 per month, and the latter is $19.95. We think both are reasonably priced for the service you get. Check out the chart below, or head over to our Equifax Identity Protection pricing and plans guide for a deep-dive look at your options.
Equifax Plans & Pricing
|Equifax Service||ID Patrol||Complete Premier|
|Triple-Bureau Credit Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Triple-Bureau Credit Scores and Report||Yes||Yes|
|Equifax Credit Lock||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Access to Equifax Credit Score and Report||No||Yes|
|Equifax Credit Score Monitoring||No||Yes|
|Identity Restoration Services||No||Yes|
|Stolen Funds Replacement||Up to $1 Million||Up to $1 Million|
|ID Theft Insurance||Up to $1 Million||Up to $1 Million|
|Price||$16.95 Per Month||$19.95 Per Month|
NortonLifeLock is a little trickier. Like we said before, there are four tiers of service — Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. Instead of writing out what you get with each, we’ve made this handy chart, or you can read our plans and pricing guide for NortonLifeLock.
NortonLifeLock Plans & Pricing
|LifeLock Services||Standard||Select||Advantage||Ultimate Plus|
|Credit Monitoring||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Annual Credit Report and Scores||Not Provided||Not Provided||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Credit Lock||Not Provided||Not Provided||Provided||Provided|
|Sex Offender Registry Reports||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided||Provided|
|Stolen Funds Reimbursement||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $100,000||Up to $1 Million|
|Personal Expense Compensation||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $100,000||Up to $1 Million|
|Cloud Backup||Not Provided||Up to 100GB||Up to 250GB||Up to 500GB|
|VPN||Not Provided||Up to 5 Devices||Up to 10 Devices||Unlimited Devices|
Keep in mind that NortonLifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan is one of the pricier services we’ve used, but it also provides more features than most other products we’ve tried. This is a fair tradeoff in our opinion.
LifeLock vs Equifax — Getting Down to Brass Tacks
So the moral of the story, if you will, is that NortonLifeLock is ripe with features and bonuses while Equifax is more bare-bones and basic. Equifax will get the job done, but that’s about it. NortonLifeLock will go above and beyond, but you’ll pay for it, especially if you go with the full-blown Ultimate Plus plan.
We like both services — they’re just designed with different people in mind. If you want a more hands-off approach, we recommend choosing Equifax. But if you want to have more control over your identity protection (like we do!), you’d be wise to pick NortonLifeLock. Either way, though, you really can’t go wrong.
FAQs About Both Services
Yes, the Complete Premier plan monitors Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion while also providing access to complete scores from all three bureaus.
Yes, but only with their Ultimate Plus tier of service. All others monitor only one.
NortonLifeLock offers an app, while Equifax does not.
Yes, both services allow you to lock a credit Report. Equifax locks their own, and NortonLifeLock will lock your TransUnion report.
No, Equifax does not offer features beyond standard credit and identity monitoring.