Experian and Costco team up to give you top-to-bottom identity protection.
The name says it all. Complete ID aims to give you complete identity protection. All my tests bore this claim out. Complete ID is the real deal. It kept my private information out of the hands of fraudsters, while giving me extra peace of mind with its robust identity monitoring, insurance coverage, and recovery services.
It’s true, Complete ID does have a lot in common with other Top Identity Protection Services on the market. But it stands out, too. For instance, Complete ID has close ties to Costco. (Thinking of signing up? Grab a Costco membership first!) But that’s not the only thing Complete ID has going for itself.
It’s also the brainchild of Experian. If you’ve never run across Experian before, it’s one of the three U.S. bureaus that keep track of our debts, credit card balances, and bill payments.1 In other words, Experian issues our credit ratings. In my eyes, this makes it a great fit for the ID theft protection business.
I’ve already reviewed Experian IdentityWorks, Experian’s flagship ID monitoring service, and it got solid marks across the board. Today, I’m going to take a closer look at Complete ID, including prices, plans and special features.
First off, if you’re new to identity monitoring services, most core features are similar from provider to provider. That’s why pricing plays a big role in whether or not we recommend a service at SafeHome.org. After all, why pay more when you don’t have to?
In Complete ID’s case, I found that price was a factor. Complete ID is a little cheaper than comparable IDShield packages or ID Watchdog plans, two close competitors. But it’s not a huge savings. There’s also the fact that in order to sign up for Complete ID, you actually need a Costco membership. This is great for Costco members (and for anyone who’s been thinking of signing up with Costco), but maybe not a whopping incentive to dump your Sam’s Club membership.
Pro Tip: Children are unlikely to become victims of identity theft.2 But if they are, it can be an absolute mess. Protecting your kids and having recovery services to turn to can make life a whole lot easier if disaster ever strikes.
Another thing to keep in mind about Complete ID is that they charge for every user. Not the end of the world by a long shot, since some services do offer “family plans” that include partners and kids. (In fact, Zander Insurance’s family plan is one of them.) But if you go with Complete ID, just remember that if you’re a two-user household, you’ll need to pay for two separate accounts. You’ll also need to pay extra for child monitoring. But the good news here is that Complete ID covers up to five children on one plan!
Finally, keep in mind that there are different savings tiers for Complete ID. Costco’s Executive members pay less for the service, for instance, while Gold Star and Business members pay a bit more.
|Price for Costco Executive members||Price for Costco Gold Star and Business members|
|Complete ID (per adult)||$8.99 per month||$13.99 per month|
|Add child monitoring||$2.99 per month||$3.99 per month|
FYI: Want the lowdown on identity theft monitoring and protection from A-Z? Check out our Complete ID Theft Protection Buyer’s Guide.
Complete ID keeps things very simple. In fact, there’s only one plan on Complete ID’s menu.
This might not seem like much of a selling point, but some ID theft protection providers have a huge variety of plans on offer (each with its own set of options). This can make it even more difficult to choose the right one. With Complete ID, you pay for the adult plan, and the only upgrade or add-on you need to think about is child monitoring, if you want it. Easy does it.
Subscribing to Complete ID nets you plenty of coverage, none more important than triple-bureau credit monitoring. Monitoring from all three bureaus is a huge plus in my book, and something that typically only comes with the highest-tier ID theft protection packages.
Why do I love having monitoring from all three major bureaus? Because, by checking in with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, Complete ID makes sure I don’t miss any important financial events that might slip through the cracks, causing real havoc when I least expect it. That’s why I always recommend signing up with a service that offers triple-bureau coverage.
Did You Know: If you want a credit boost (or your credit rating has taken an unexpected hit), just ask a family member or friend with a credit card in good standing to make you an authorized user. Their good credit is now yours.
Your Complete ID plan also includes SSN monitoring, which is incredibly important. Remember, once a fraudster nabs your SSN, they can really go to town. With SSN monitoring, you’ll know the minute your SSN has been used for anything out of the ordinary, like applying for a loan or opening a bank account.
Complete ID can also monitor other personal information, like driver’s license numbers and bank information. This is a first-rate perk, and I definitely recommend taking advantage of it. That said, Complete ID isn’t alone here. I found the same above-and-beyond monitoring coverage in my LifeLock review.
Obviously, this is the worst-case scenario, but if you ever become the victim of identity theft (which is, unfortunately, on a crazy upwards spike these days3), Complete ID’s recovery assistance team will jump into action and help you get back what you lost — to the tune of $1 million (maximum) in identity theft insurance.
FYI: Restoring your ID takes work. Companies like Complete ID will tick off all the boxes — like reporting the incident, correcting your credit records, and securing your identity going forward — to make sure you get your good name and credit back.
The last feature I wanted to touch on is sex offender registry alerts. If your ID theft monitoring service offers this feature, I highly recommend turning it on, especially if you have children. The idea is pretty simple: If a state-registered sex offender joins your community, sex offender registry alerts, like Neighborhood Watch, let you know.
While this might not be dinner conversation, or anything you even think about on the day to day, it is a fact of life. With this extra layer of security running in the background 24/7, you’ll at least have the peace of mind of never being caught off guard.
So what’s your best bet for saving on Complete ID right now? Basically, Complete ID’s prices. Starting at $8.99, they’re low-cost to begin with, especially for Costco’s Executive members. But there are savings for Gold Star and Business members, too.
|Complete ID for Costco Executive Members||Complete ID for Costco Business and Gold Members|
|View Packages||View Packages|
|SSN Identity Monitoring||SSN Identity Monitoring|
|Criminal Record Monitoring||Criminal Record Monitoring|
|Neighborhood Watch Alerts||Neighborhood Watch Alerts|
|Triple-Bureau Credit Monitoring with Credit Alerts||Triple-Bureau Credit Monitoring with Credit Alerts|
|24/7 Access to Recover Assistance Specialists||24/7 Access to Recover Assistance Specialists|
|Up to $1 million in ID Theft Insurance||Up to $1 million in ID Theft Insurance|
|Lost Wallet Replacement Assistance||Lost Wallet Replacement Assistance|
Two things to note here: First, you can add identity monitoring for children to either plan at $2.99 and $3.99 per month, respectively. As I mentioned up top, that fee will cover up to five children.
Second, you’ve probably noticed that the core ID theft protection features are the same for both Business and Gold members, as well as for Executive account holders. The only difference is the price tag: $60 less a year for Executive members. Let me break that number down.
An Executive membership at Costco is $120 per year. Both Gold and Business memberships cost $60. So if you’re a current Costco member with a Gold or Business plan, and you upgraded to Executive, you’d essentially be getting your Complete ID subscription for free. Not bad.
As I found out firsthand in my analysis of Complete ID, the service’s $8.99 per month price tag is competitive, if not cheaper than some other comparable plans on the market. The caveat? These savings are only available for card-carrying Costco Executive members. Otherwise, if you’ve got a basic Gold or Business membership, your bill would be $13.99 per month, which is par for the course for mid-tier ID monitoring coverage.
Bottom line? If signing up for Costco has been on your to-do list forever, bundling in a premium ID monitoring service at a discount might be a smart move. Just keep in mind that with Complete ID there are no family plans. This means two things: Spouses and partners will need separate subscriptions. Adding children to your account is possible, but this will cost extra, too.
These restrictions may not be for everyone. If you’re primarily in the market for ID monitoring for the whole family, for instance, and you aren’t planning on signing up with Costco anytime soon, you may want to check out services like Identity Guard, Zander Insurance, or Experian’s own IdentityWorks. All three have family plans.
Pro Tip: When you’re choosing an ID monitoring service, definitely look for the lowest prices. But make sure you don’t compromise on core features. At a minimum, we recommend Social Security number monitoring and credit monitoring for at least one bureau (and ideally all three.) Recovery assistance and insurance should be on your must-have list, too.
Complete ID is available through Costco and was developed by the credit reporting giant Experian.
Experian also has a couple of other identity monitoring options. IdentityWorks is at the top of that list, but the top credit bureau also has a product called ProtectMyID, which it offers in partnership with AAA (in pretty much the same way that it works with Costco on Complete ID).
How reliable is Experian? Let’s just say Experian has a pretty solid reputation in identity monitoring and protection. In fact, when hackers busted into fellow credit bureau Equifax in 2017,4 Equifax offered victims Experian’s identity theft services as part of their restitution package.
FYI: Are you already an AAA member? ProtectMyID’s special offers for AAA card holders might be a good fit for you if you’re shopping for an ID monitoring service.
Not exactly. In order to sign up for Complete ID, you have to be a paying Costco member.
Costco Gold Star and Business+ members can sign up for Complete ID for $13.99 per month, while Costco Executive members pay $8.99 per month. This is on top of the annual $60 Costco membership cost.
Yes, Complete ID offers triple-bureau credit monitoring as well as VantageScore tracking.
Identity monitoring protections include Social Security number monitoring, criminal record monitoring, and payday loan monitoring.
Kind of. Complete ID doesn’t have a proper app, just a mobile version of the desktop website.
Irby, Latoya. (2019, May 14). Things You Should Know About Credit Bureaus. The Balance.
Grant, Kelli B. (2018, April 24) Identity Theft Isn’t Just an Adult Problem. Kids are Victims, Too. CNBC.
Federal Trade Commission. (2021, Feb.) Consumer Sentinel Network: Data Book 2020.
Federal Trade Commission. (January, 2020). Equifax Data Breach Settlement.
With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.