Identity theft protection services are not monolithic. Selecting which one best fits your needs can be a difficult prospect. Some services focus more on finances, some focus more on cybersecurity, and some are… well… simply not worth your time.
It can be difficult to discern whether or not a service should be considered, but lucky for you we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. In this comparison guide, we’re going to be taking a look at two wildly different services — Zander and NortonLifeLock. Both are top services in their own right, but as you’ll see, they’re kind of apples and oranges. They are clearly designed with different audiences in mind.
As we found in our in-depth review of Zander, the product is endorsed by financial expert Dave Ramsey, and they really lean heavily on the authority associated with his name. While that inspires some level of confidence, Zander is a pretty unique service and takes a different approach to fraud protection, focusing almost exclusively on the identity side of things.
On the other hand, you have NortonLifeLock, which boasts one of the most extensive suites of services on the market, ranging from VPNs and virus protection, to triple-bureau credit alerts and financial account monitoring. We were really impressed with the depth of protection when we reviewed NortonLifeLock, so much so that we’ve consistently ranked it as one of the best services out there.
So which one is right for you? It’s tough to say right off the bat. Ultimately, it comes down to what you need and the size of your budget. To help you make the best decision, though, we’re going to unpack these two services, and we’ll show you where they’re similar and where they differ. So let’s jump in.
Zander and NortonLifeLock: Strange Bedfellows
When it comes to similarities, there are few overlaps between Zander and NortonLifeLock’s services. They look most similar when comparing their identity theft protections. Zander and NortonLifeLock do a great job of this, and both keep an eye on critical items like bank account information, medical IDs, criminal records, social security numbers, and home titles. The identity protections of both services feel complete with no glaring gaps in coverage. Here’s a quick look at what Zander covers.
We’d also like to point out that both Zander and NortonLifeLock offer very detailed and actionable alerts when they’ve located something suspicious. For example, Zander’s social security number monitoring provides a map of locations wherever your social security number has been used to help create context for what you’re seeing. We really liked this functionality.
This is really helpful — instead of having to scroll through every instance of your number showing up in public records, you can simply make sure your number isn’t being used in a place you’ve never been or never lived.
Similarly, when we were using NortonLifeLock, we had some notifications pop up regarding our email address and passwords being found on the dark web. Instead of panicking, though, NortonLifeLock gave us step-by-step instructions on how to remedy the issue. Major points for both services in this regard.
Both services are also committed to helping you should your identity become compromised. Zander and NortonLifeLock both offer up to $1 million in stolen fund reimbursement, and both have customer service and restoration specialists available at all times to help, including contacting the entity that issued the credentials or account in question, notifying law enforcement, reviewing credit reports, filing fraud alerts, and placing credit freezes at the three bureaus. No matter the service you choose, we highly recommend looking out for these recovery and restoration features.
Did You Know: The cost of identity theft is rising. Consumers reported losing more than $1.9 billion related to fraud complaints, an increase of $293 million from 2018.
A quick word on that last bit — freezing credit is something you should do anyway. Freezing your credit reports makes it so no bad actors are able to open new lines of credit. Some services will do it for you — We saw it when we took an in-depth look at ID Watchdog, and also when we reviewed Experian IdentityWorks — a service built by the credit monitoring agency itself.
But even if the service you choose doesn’t offer this functionality, it’s easy to do through the major credit bureaus. It’s also free and doesn’t take much time. And trust us here, freezing your credit is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from fraudsters, so we recommend everyone take advantage of this underutilized functionality.
So both services do a good job protecting vital pieces of identifying information and important documentation. But it’s here, though, that the similarities stop and the two services really diverge. Let’s have a look.
Zander and NortonLifeLock: Two Different Approaches
The most obvious difference between the two services is that Zander does not offer credit monitoring. None at all. That, to us, is a bit of a red flag. (But as you’ll see from Zander’s rock-bottom prices, it kind of makes sense the service is lean).
The company justifies this glaring omission as being an intentional choice, saying that credit monitoring does little to protect you from identity theft, arguing that by the time your credit has been impacted, the damage has been done.
FYI: According to Zander’s materials, credit monitoring can only detect about 21 percent of identity theft events. Regardless, we still recommend finding a service that monitors the credit bureaus for suspicious activity. A good place to start is our Best Identity Theft Protection guide.
We respectfully disagree, and instead recommend the most complete protections available — like the triple-bureau monitoring and identity theft protections offered by NortonLifeLock. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to decide how complete you want your protections to be, and how much you want to pay for them.
Having said that, we come to the next obvious difference — the disparity in the monthly cost between Zander and NortonLifeLock. Zander is one of the most affordable products on the market at $6.75 per month while NortonLifeLock is one of the most expensive; their premium service tier will run you $29.99 per month.
But for that price, you’re going to be getting a ton of services. Services Zander doesn’t even come close to touching. Not only will you have access to all three credit reports with NortonLifeLock, but you’ll also be given a whole lineup of preventative measures and protections to keep your identity from becoming compromised in the first place. These include:
- VPN access
- Parental Controls
- Password Manager
- Anonymous Browsing
- Ad-Tracker Blocking
- Cloud Backup
- AntiVirus Software
And the list goes on and on. With that in mind, however, we will say this — more isn’t always better. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy or if you just don’t have a need for these tools, you’d be throwing money away every month should you go with NortonLifeLock. Just something to consider.
And we'll offer another item for your consideration: Zander handles protections for children a lot more economically than NortonLifeLock. With Zander, kids are offered the same protections as the primary account holder when you sign up for a family plan. This increases your monthly cost to $12.90 per month, but it’s still much more affordable than NortonLifeLock, which charges $5.99 per-month per-kid. If you have a large family you want protected, Zander isn’t going to break the bank, but NortonLifeLock might.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Why would I need to protect my kids from fraud? They don’t even have bank accounts.” We get the reasoning, but here’s why you should reconsider. Children are actually a primary target for fraudsters because they don’t have established credit histories — meaning they are easier to exploit and the fraudsters’ crimes are more difficult to detect.
FYI: It can be years before you discover your child’s identity was stolen, handicapping them financially before they even get started. So if you’re looking to protect the whole family, you should take a look at our Best Identity Theft Protection Services for Families guide.
Finally, we wanted to talk about the feel of both products. This gets a little subjective, but we think it’s an important discussion. Zander, at times, feels a little incomplete. The design choices feel a little dated, and some of the functionality can suffer because of that. On the other hand, NortonLifeLock feels a little more up to date, but their organization could use some work. Given the huge number of features, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and at times it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for.
Before making your decision though, let’s take a look at a quick overview of each services’ pricing and plans to make sure you have a complete picture of what you’ll be paying for.
Plans and Pricing: Zander Vs. NortonLifeLock
Zander is a little more clean-cut when it comes to pricing, so we’ll start there. For an in-depth look at the breakdown, check out our Zander pricing guide. Or, quickly breeze over this handy chart we drew up.
Zander Subscription Plans
|Proactive Monitoring and Alerts||Yes||Yes|
|Identity Theft Restoration||Yes||Yes|
|$1 Million in Reimbursements||Yes||Yes|
Pretty straightforward, right? With Zander, you really do get what you pay for. It’s a bare-bones service with rock-bottom pricing. Does that mean it’s not worth checking out? Certainly not, but it’s not going to be right for everyone.
Now let’s have a look at NortonLifeLock. This one is a bit more complicated, so you can go over to our guide to NortonLifeLock’s pricing and plans, or take a look at the highlights chart below.
NortonLifeLock Subscription Plans
|Credit Monitoring||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Annual Credit Report and Scores||No||No||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Bank Account Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Crimes In Your Name Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|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|
As you can see, their services are broken up into multiple tiers, but as you start going cheaper, the features really start dropping off. However, like we said before, more isn’t always better. If you’re spending $30 per month for features you never use, that wouldn’t be a great financial move. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you and your budget.
NortonLifeLock Vs. Zander: Our Recommendation
While both services have some great offerings, for our money, we’d go with NortonLifeLock if given the choice between the two. That’s because of two critical factors:
First, NortonLifeLock gave us triple-bureau credit monitoring, while Zander does not offer credit monitoring at all. Now, while this might not be a dealbreaker for everyone, it is for us. When we evaluate these services, we’re always looking for the most complete protections available, and Zander’s lack of credit monitoring is something we can’t overlook.
Second, NortonLifeLock just feels better to us. Some of the broken functionalities we found while reviewing Zander did not inspire confidence, and with NortonLifeLock, we just feel more in control of our protections. They told us what they were looking for, how they were doing it, and what to do if something suspect turned up in a more complete way than Zander did.
At the end of the day, though, it’s all about finding a service that fits your lifestyle and your budget. To help you make that decision, we recommend you head over to our identity theft service comparison tool where you can put the best of the best head-to-head.
FAQs about Zander and NortonLifeLock
Yes, Zander’s individual plan is $6.95 per month, while NortonLifeLock’s most basic plan is $9.99 per month.
No, While NortonLifeLock does monitor credit bureaus for suspicious activity, Zander does not offer this function.
Yes, both do offer identity theft protection for children, however, Zander’s family plan is more affordable.
Yes, both services scan the dark web for key pieces of identifying information like social security numbers and bank accounts.
Yes, both offer robust stolen funds reimbursement as well as specialists to help you recover should your identity become stolen.