The credit reporting bureau Equifax can do more than calculate your credit score
You probably know about Equifax as one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. These bureaus track our debts, credit card balances, and bill payments. And they give us a credit rating, so that lenders can choose whether or not to lend us money or give us credit (and how much, at what rate, you know the drill).
If a crook steals your identity and uses it to take out a credit card or a loan, it will almost certainly show up in your credit file. That’s why we recommend you get an identity protection service that monitors your credit. For obvious reasons, it makes sense that the credit bureaus themselves would get into the identity protection business, offering plans and packages of all stripes. After all, they have the insider scoop on our credit files!
Did You Know? Credit scores are part of why identity theft is dangerous. If someone steals our identity and takes out a new loan, that can do more than just cost us money. It can ruin our credit, too.
In our full review of Equifax and their identity protection services (including Equifax ID Patrol), we tested the service and measured it against the competition. We found it to be a pretty decent option overall. But if you’re considering signing up, you should read on to learn all about their plans, pricing and packages, current deals, and more. We’re unpacking it all right here.
Equifax’s credit monitoring options include these important features:
We think that Equifax’s identity protection options are pretty straightforward. The brand names can be a little confusing, though. Equifax used to use a brand name called TrustedID. But thankfully, Equifax puts its own name on its protection products now, which helps to eliminate confusion. Note that Equifax ID Patrol and Equifax Complete are the individual plan names. Even though these sound like different brands, you can think of them as different tiers of the same service.
If you choose to get identity protection from Equifax, you’ll choose between three different plans. There are the plans mentioned above (ID Patrol and Complete Premier), plus their Equifax Complete Family Plan.
Depending on the service you choose, you can get access to different features and enjoy protection for just yourself, coverage for yourself and your spouse or partner, or coverage for your entire family. With Equifax, you have options. We found the prices to be fairly reasonable, but you can expect the monthly fee to vary depending on the level of protection.
|Equifax ID Patrol||$16.95 / month|
|Equifax Complete Premier||$19.95 / month|
|Equifax Complete Family Plan||$19.95 / month|
Interesting enough, the Equifax Complete Family Plan is the same price as the Equifax Complete Premier option. In our experience testing other brands, family plans are typically the most expensive option on the menu. So this is good news for families looking for peace of mind. Now let’s dive deeper into the specific plans to see which one (if any!) make sense for you and your budget.
Depending on what you’re looking for, any of the three Equifax plans could be the right fit. Keep in mind that all of them include basic features, but only certain packages have perks like child monitoring and three-bureau credit scores. Generally speaking, the more you’re willing to spend for a monthly subscription, the more protection you’re going to get.
ID Patrol is our cheapest option for Equifax identity protection, and it includes some great coverage. With this plan, Equifax will monitor your credit file (but not your credit score) across all three bureaus. Equifax ID Patrol also scans the internet for your private information, like your social security number. This scanning includes the Dark Web, too. At only $16.95 per month, we were actually surprised to see three-bureau monitoring and Dark Web scanning.
Did You Know? The Dark Web is the highly anonymous “underworld” of the internet that requires a special browser to visit.1 Crooks use the Dark Web to buy, sell, and trade identities and otherwise private data. Don’t let it be yours!
With ID Patrol, you’ll also get identity theft insurance coverage for up to $1 million in expenses and losses. Sure, $1 million sounds like a generous insurance policy, but note that a cool million is actually the industry standard these days.
Another thing we appreciated about the ID Patrol plan was the access to recovery specialists. However, in our complete review of the brand, we criticized Equifax as its recovery team was only available during business hours. So there are better full-service restoration and recovery teams out there. But still, we think their recovery service — along with three-bureau credit monitoring and $1 million policy — certainly makes Equifax ID Patrol a contender in the space.
Who it’s best for: ID Patrol is a great value for anyone looking for affordable individual identity protection.
We tested out the Equifax Complete Premier plan for ourselves. With this service tier, we enjoyed everything included in Equifax ID Patrol, plus some extra features that we think you’ll like.
Equifax Complete Premier monitored our credit score instead of just our credit files. But it’s worth mentioning that it only checked our Equifax score (go figure).
One thing we really liked about Complete Premier is that it let us take a peek at our Equifax credit score every day. You’ll find this useful if you happen to be working toward a goal that requires a clean credit history and credit score (buying a home soon?). We were also able to set up financial accounts monitoring with Complete Premier, which is an extra safeguard that’s worth having. Combined, these are useful personal finance tools, but nothing to really write home about.
Who it’s best for: Complete Premier makes sense for folks who desire personal finance features and tools as well as all-around identity protection.
The Equifax Complete Family Plan is almost exactly the same as Equifax Complete Premier. That is, you’ll enjoy all the same features, but the difference is the Equifax Complete Family Plan covers a second adult and up to four children.
FYI: Child identity theft is real, but rare.2 We recommend you sign up with identity monitoring for your kids if the price is right. Child credit monitoring is less essential, as children typically don’t have an active credit file. Freezing their accounts might be a good idea, but that’s something you can do on your own.
If you do choose the family plan, note that the second adult gets all the same features, whereas any children on the plan get “credit monitoring.” Your childrens’ Equifax credit files will also be locked and monitored for good measure. We think it’s a decent offer at $19.95 per month.
With that said, we’ve used other ID theft protection services that cover up to 10 children on their family plans. So if you have a full house, we think you’re better off going with a membership from Identity Guard or LifeLock.
Who it’s best for: Spouses and families who want coverage for the whole household.
If you’re looking for a deal on Equifax ID Patrol or an Equifax Complete Plan, we recommend keeping an eye out for rolling deals throughout the year. We’ve also seen discount codes and promo codes from time to time. One tip is to purchase during the holidays, as sometimes these brands offer deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Currently, there aren’t any deals or special promotions floating around, but rest assured we’ll keep you posted as soon as they’re announced.
We’ve tried dozens upon dozens of identity theft services. And we must say, Equifax ID Patrol and Equifax Complete Premier both have typical subscription fees. They aren’t the cheapest (that would be Zander or ID Watchdog), but they certainly aren’t the most expensive. In our experience using the products, they offer plenty of ‘bang for your buck’. Starting at $16.95 per month for three-bureau monitoring, recovery services and insurance, it’s actually a good deal in our eyes.
However, the Equifax Complete Family Plan might be the best value from this brand. Adding a second adult for the same price as an Equifax Complete Premier individual plan definitely helps to sweeten the deal. And at $19.95 per month, it’s one of the cheaper plan options we’ve seen for families. Just remember, you can only cover up to 4 children with this option, but this will serve most families well.
Equifax ID Patrol and Equifax Complete Premier both have pretty typical prices. They’re not the best deals we’ve ever seen, but they offer solid value.
As we said in our review, the Equifax Complete Family Plan looks like a pretty good value. Adding a second adult for the same price as Equifax Complete Premier is a pretty sweet deal. As long as the prices stay the same, we think that Equifax Complete Family Plan is the best value on Equifax’s menu.
Equifax has a very long history. It was founded way back in 1889.3 For more than 120 years, Equifax has been keeping credit files on American and Canadian citizens. When you apply for a credit card, loan, or rental property, your lender will often run a credit check to see if you’re “creditworthy.” Equifax steps in and provides the necessary information to help you along.
Note that Equifax gathers its information from public records and from lenders. Of course, lenders don’t have to share your information with Equifax, but many do because it’s in their best interest.4 So if anyone knows your credit history and how you manage your finances, it’s going to be Equifax and other major credit bureaus.
Unfortunately, it’s not all smooth sailing with Equifax. The credit bureau suffered an infamous security breach back in 2017, which compromised the private data of 147.9 million U.S. citizens.5 That’s nearly half of the nation’s population.
The good news is that Equifax made amends by offering reimbursements and identity monitoring services to the victims. Interestingly enough, victims were enrolled with one of Experian’s monitoring services — a rival credit bureau! It’s also worth mentioning that since this incident, Equifax has kept its nose clean (as far as we know).
Complete Premier costs $19.95 per month or $199.95 annually.
Yes, Complete Premier monitors for important pieces of financial and personal information, but the setup can be frustrating.
Yes, Complete Premier monitors Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion while also providing access to complete scores from all three bureaus.
No, Complete Premier does not have a mobile app, but it does offer SMS-based alerts.
Yes, dedicated specialists are on call to help settle identity theft issues, and Complete Premier also offers up to $1 million in restoration costs and $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Patterson, D. (2016, September 1). How the Dark Web Works. ZDNet.
Grant, Kelli B. (2018, April 24). Identity Theft Isn’t Just an Adult Problem. Kids are Victims, Too. CNBC.
Freas, Theresa. (2018, April 27). Credit Through the Ages: Where It All Began. Equifax.
DeNicola, Louis. (2019, March 6). What Are Credit Bureaus and How Do They Work? Experian.
Barett, B. (2020, February 18). How 4 Chinese Hackers Allegedly Took Down Equifax. Wired.
Issa, Natalie. (2019, April 18). How Do Credit Scores Work? Credit.com.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. Retrieved June 4, 2020. Free Credit Reports.