As identity theft becomes more prevalent, smart consumers are looking for ways to protect themselves. This mostly comes in the form of subscribing to an identity theft monitoring and prevention service.
While this is a great step to take, we have to say that no two services are exactly alike. While there are numerous services that will simply get the job done, there are a few on the market that go above and beyond by offering robust protections.
Two of the leaders in that category are NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard. While both are top-shelf services, they still differ in significant ways worth noting before you decide which one is right for you.
So let’s unpack their services to get a better idea of what both brands offer and to see how they compare to one another. To start, let’s take a look at how NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard’s services are similar.
NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard: Two Sides of the Same Coin
At first glance, these two services are nearly indistinguishable. In our review of NortonLifeLock and in our in-depth look at Identity Guard, we found both offer multiple tiers of service that range from basic monitoring to comprehensive protections. They are priced similarly, and both offer some tertiary, preventative cybersecurity protections.
Please note — for the purposes of this comparison, we’re going to be looking at both NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard’s premier service plans. Now let’s break those down in detail.
On the financial and credit-monitoring side of things, NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard are nearly one in the same. Their premium tiers of protection both offer triple-bureau credit monitoring — a must-have for us — as well as detailed account monitoring that goes beyond traditional checking and savings accounts, meaning both services also keep an eye on retirement and investment accounts as well, which is pretty unique in this space.
FYI: The different credit monitoring agencies use different algorithms and data sets to determine your credit score. Monitoring one of them can help prevent identity theft, but triple bureau credit monitoring is far more comprehensive and will alert you to suspicious activity much faster. With that in mind, here’s our list of the best credit monitoring services out there.
Both services also offer transaction alerts, meaning you can be notified when amounts of money over certain limits are moved from your bank account. Not only is this functionality great for quickly identifying unauthorized purchases, but it can also help you stay on track budgetarily speaking. We always like it when services offer tools to help improve financial health, and both get points here for that.
We’d also like to mention that NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard both give you the option to access credit freezes and credit locks. There are a few other services out there that have this functionality, but few offer as many additional protections and features. If you’re looking for another option with credit locks, check out our review of ProtectMyID, or our in-depth coverage of Equifax’s Identity Protection.
Regardless of who you go with, though, the ability to lock your credit file is a huge tick mark in our “benefits” column. To understand why, though, we have to do a little exposition.
First of all, there’s a difference between a credit freeze and a credit lock, but both essentially accomplish the same thing — preventing anyone from accessing your credit report from the main reporting bureaus. Keep in mind that a lock can be toggled on and off in near-real time, while a freeze takes a little longer to set up and undo.
Either way, this is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from identity fraud. NortonLifeLock gives you the ability to lock your TransUnion file, and gives you information on how to freeze the other two. On the other hand, Identity Guard doesn’t offer a locking mechanism, but does give you all the resources you’ll need to set up freezes at the three bureaus. Slight advantage to NortonLifeLock here, but to be honest, the fact this is an included resource with both services is quite impressive.
So that’s how NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard are similar on the financial side of things. Now let’s talk about how both services approach identity protection and monitoring.
NortonLifeLock vs Identity Guard – Identity Protection
Again, both services are in a league of their own when it comes to identity protection. They both, of course, offer industry-standard features like dark web monitoring for our address, our social security number, and log in information, but the way both services approach this protection is a little different. More on this later, though. For now, just know that both companies offer complete identity protection and monitoring services, and the attention to detail here is impeccable.
If suspicious activity is detected, or your personal information is showing up in places it shouldn’t be, these services offer detailed, actionable alerts. Some plans we’ve tried really skimp on the details here, but not NortonLifeLock or Identity Guard, thankfully.
That said, we do wish a little more attention had been paid to the preventative aspects of the alerts. Context is key here, and spelling out how to protect yourself from similar situations in the future would have been helpful.
Finally, we wanted to talk about the preventative cybersecurity measures offered by both NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard. This category of service isn’t offered by many companies, so it’s definitely worth paying attention when it shows up.
Identity Guard calls it’s offerings “Safe Browsing” and includes phishing protections, HTTPS protections, an ad blocker, a flash player blocker, and cryptocurrency mining protections. Compare that to NortonLifeLock, which offers cybersecurity features as well in the form of virus protection, a password manager, and access to a secure VPN.
Did You Know: Crypto mining uses your computer’s power to develop a cryptocurrency for “miners” without your knowledge or permission resulting in severely decreased performance.
We’ll discuss the different features in more detail in a bit, but ultimately, both NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard’s cybersecurity measures aim to prevent your personal information from becoming exposed in the first place, and this added layer of preventative protection is something unique. This is what really sets NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard apart from their competitors in the industry.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the two services’ recovery and remediation offerings. Again, both align nearly perfectly. Identity Guard and NortonLifeLock both offer $1 million in stolen funds insurance and access to experts that will help resolve your case.
Worth pointing out, though, NortonLifeLock does take it a step further, offering an additional $1 million in insurance to cover the costs of lawyers and other experts. Advantage NortonLifeLock, but for the average person, the differences in protection and recovery are negligible.
So, that’s how these two services look similar. Now let’s discuss where they diverge.
NortonLifeLock vs Identity Guard: Different Approaches, Same Goal
One of the first differences we noticed between the two services is their approach to protection. While NortonLifeLock has a more passive “observe, report, react” methodology, Identity Guard takes a more “gamified” posture.
Did You Know: Gamification refers to the application of game-playing elements like assigning scores and competition with others to encourage certain types of behaviors — in this case, establishing safer habits.
Using a series of 32 questions about your personal life, financial behaviors, consumer habits, and access to healthcare, Identity Guard develops a Risk Management Score — a numerical value that informs you of your risk of becoming the victim of identity theft. This score is dynamic, meaning that as your behaviors change over time, your score will increase or decrease, giving you a feedback mechanism for making better decisions. We love this approach. We really think the attention to detail makes it an effective tool to become more proactive in your identity theft protections.
Another area where Identity Guard outperforms NortonLifeLock is with its home title monitoring. Both services offer this feature, but Identity Guard’s protection is much more detailed and complete.
But to discuss this, we first need to understand what’s being monitored here. There are several types of fraud that can occur involving your property, including deed fraud, which occurs when someone steals your identity, forges your name on a deed and takes your home to borrow against. Obviously, you want to protect against this unthinkable scenario.
While NortonLifeLock keeps a passive eye on your title, Identity Guard gives you access to all of your tax information, your deed, even the latitude and longitude of your property. If title theft is a protection that’s important to you, Identity Guard has you covered in spades.
But just because we’ve sung the praises of Identity Guard, that doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of NortonLifeLock that outshine it. Remember when we said we’d talk more about the cybersecurity elements of both? Let’s do that now.
While it’s great they both offer preventative services, in our opinion Identity Guard’s pale in comparison to NortonLifeLock’s. Identity Guard essentially offers a browser plug-in, while NortonLifeLock provides a full suite of robust cybersecurity protections. While blocking ads and detecting unsecure web elements is helpful, a VPN blows that out of the water in terms of preventing cybercriminals from taking advantage of you in digital spaces. Advantage: NortonLifeLock.
Did You Know: VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. These work by spoofing the physical location of your computer to prevent hackers from accessing your network.
NortonLifeLock also seems to have a greater focus on user’s online privacy. As such, they monitor over a dozen data brokers — companies that use your personal information to build detailed profiles of you to sell to marketers and advertisers — and can help remove these profiles on your behalf for a fee.
While that has the immediate benefit of getting rid of targeted ads, it also means there won’t be repositories of your personal information floating around out there in unsecured spaces. This is a neat feature by NortonLifeLock, and one we’d really like to see more of.
Finally, NortonLifeLock offers one of the best apps we’ve seen in this space. Identity Guard’s mobile experience is — well, fine — but NortonLifeLock really steps it up here. If protection on the go is something important to you, we’d highly recommend giving NortonLifeLock a closer look.
That about does it for the major differences between the two services. As you can see, NortonLifeLock is a little more technical; a little more privacy-oriented while Identity Guard offers a more holistic, dynamic approach. And now that you have an in-depth understanding of what both are bringing to the table, we can discuss their plans and pricing.
NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard Service Packages: Finding a Tailor-Made Solution
It’s important to reiterate here — for the entirety of this comparison we were discussing both services’ premium plans. Both offer lesser tiers of service with pared down offerings for a smaller monthly fee, so if you’re not looking for all the bells and whistles but still want solid core protections for an affordable price, both NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard can cover you. Let’s look at the former first.
NortonLifeLock offers four tiers of service that range from $9.99 per month all the way up to $29.99 per month. Also worth noting, those are just the prices for the first year. After 12 months, you’re going to see a slight increase in your monthly fee. While NortonLifeLock is the most expensive identity theft protection service we’ve seen so far, they also offer the most features.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider Experian Identity Works. While testing and reviewing IdentityWorks, we found their services to be more than adequate for a reasonable price. If you’re curious and want to learn more, have a look at our IdentityWorks’ plans and pricing.
As far as NortonLifelock goes, you can read more about the tiers of services in our NortonLifeLock plans and pricing guide, or take a look at our highlights chart below.
NortonLifeLock Subscription Plans
|Credit Monitoring||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Bank Account Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Crimes In Your Name Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Annual Credit Report and Scores||No||No||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Monthly Credit Score Tracking||No||No||No||Yes|
|Checking and Savings Account Application Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|401k and Investment Account Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|Bank Account Takeover Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|Stolen Funds Reimbursement||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $100,000||Up to $1 million|
|VPN||No||Up to 5 Devices||Up to 10 Devices||Unlimited Devices|
You can also check out our roundup of Identity Guard’s costs and plans to get more detail, but you’ll notice their highlight list looks pretty similar to NortonLifeLock. Worth noting, though, while their premium service tier costs the same — $29.99 per month — this is a fixed rate that will not increase after a year. Advantage Identity Guard!
Identity Guard Subscription Plans
|Bank Account Monitoring||No||Yes||Yes|
|Credit and Debit Card Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|401k and Investment Account Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|Criminal and Sex Offense Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|USPS Address Change Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|1-Bureau Monthly Credit Score||No||Yes||Yes|
|3-Bureau Credit Monitoring||No||Yes||Yes|
|3-Bureau Annual Credit Report||No||No||Yes|
In terms of pricing and core features between Identity Guard and NortonLifeLock, it feels like an exercise in hair-splitting. Both are great services for similar prices — selecting one over the other is really a matter of figuring out which type of experience you prioritize. But if we had to choose, we’d give the edge to Identity Guard.
NortonLifeLock Vs. Identity Guard: The Verdict
Ultimately, we think the decision between NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard comes down to which features you’re going to get the most use out of. When looking at the premium plans for both, there are a lot of add ons and bonuses that — if utilized — are more than worth the price. However, if you’re not going to take advantage of, say, IdentityGuard’s title monitoring because you rent or you don’t want to mess with NortonLifeLock’s cybersecurity protections because you’re not really tech savvy, you’re going to be throwing away money.
If you’re considering either, we recommend taking a closer look at the in-depth reviews we linked to at the beginning of this article. This will help you establish which features you’re looking for and which you don’t really care too much about.
You might also consider reading our article on NortonLifeLock alternatives, or exploring other services you might not have considered. For instance, our comprehensive review of ID Watchdog might be of interest, as well as our IdentityForce review. These are both comparable services that we think really stack up well to Identity Guard and LifeLock.
FAQs for Both Services
Both services offer comparable features — the answer depends on your priorities.
Both services’ premium tiers cost $29.99 per month, but that price increases after 12 months with NortonLifeLock.
Yes, both have apps, but NortonLifeLock’s app is better designed.
Yes, both offer triple-bureau credit monitoring, but only with their premium tiers of service.
Yes, both services offer insurance policies and restoration services depending on the protection package purchased.