Experian IdentityWorks Experian IdentityWorks
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Experian IdentityWorks Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Daily updated Experian credit scores, plus quarterly 3-bureau reports and scores; excellent identity theft protection and credit monitoring; 30-day free trial (monthly) or 2 months free (annual membership)

Full Review:
Experian IdentityWorks is a new credit monitoring and identity theft protection service offered by Experian, one of the three credit bureaus. In addition to an array of credit monitoring features, this service provides extensive identity monitoring and fraud resolution assistance. Add in its budget-friendly prices, and any individual looking for credit monitoring should consider Experian IdentityWorks a solid option.

Experian IdentityWorks offers two plan options with different pricing: Experian IdentityWorks Premium and Experian IdentityWorks Plus.

Experian IdentityWorks Premium plan costs $19.99/month for a month-to-month subscription or $199.99 for a full year ($19.99/month with two months for free). Choosing a monthly plan nets you a 30-day trial, but you will need to provide credit card information at signup. You can cancel your membership at any time within the 30-day trial period to prevent your credit card from being charged. Annual plans come with two free months, and you're charged immediately after signup. Cancelling an annual membership before the year is up results in a prorated refund for the months you haven’t used (e.g., if you cancel after six months, you’ll be refunded for the remaining four — remember that the first two months are free). Since you get two months for free with an annual plan, it’s worth considering, but it makes just as much sense to sign up for the monthly plan so you can test out Experian IdentityWorks during the 30-day trial.


The second plan, Experian IdentityWorks Plus, is cheaper at just $9.99/month for the monthly subscription (plus a 30-day trial) or $99.99/year ($9.99/month with two months for free) for an annual plan. However, this isn’t the best plan for someone looking for thorough credit monitoring, as it does not offer three-bureau credit reports and scores or the plethora of identity monitoring alerts that Premium provides.


Signup

Signing up for Experian IdentityWorks is a fairly straightforward, fast process with just four pages total to navigate through. You will have to provide some personal information, including your address, social security number and birth date, as well as answer some identity verification questions at the end to prove who you are. As previously noted, you also must provide credit card information at signup, but you will only be charged immediately if you are signing up for an annual plan — those opting for a month-to-month plan will not be charged until after the 30-day trial period is up. Once you’ve completed the signup process, you’ll receive several welcome emails from Experian to help you get started setting up your account.


Credit Monitoring, Reports and Scores

When it comes to credit report monitoring, Experian IdentityWorks Premium members will benefit from credit monitoring and alerts, as well as regular reports and scores from all three credit bureaus. There is a focus on Experian’s credit reports and scores, which makes sense given that this is the credit bureau’s own service, and as such, your Experian credit report and scores will be updated on a daily basis. Equifax and TransUnion reports and scores, on the other hand, will update on a quarterly basis. If you find yourself unable to wait until the next quarterly update, it’s possible to purchase current three-bureau credit reports and scores at any time for $39.99. Note that if you opt for a Plus membership, you can only view your Experian report and score, and only Experian will be monitored for suspicious activity.


All of this can be viewed in the Reports and Scores section of the website, which is easy to use and enables you to easily filter through various reports, scores and other information. In the event a new inquiry or other suspicious activity is detected on one of your credit reports, you’ll be sent a notification, which you can view in the Credit Alerts tab of this section. Each of your credit reports and scores can be viewed individually, and you can also compare your scores to see how they stack up against one another. You will also be provided helpful information on what each of your scores means and what factors are impacting it — both positive and negative — along with suggestions on what steps you can take to improve it. The credit report view is quite detailed, which is a plus, especially in the event that you notice something potentially erroneous in your credit reports. The more information you have, the easier it will be to file a dispute or contact a creditor.

In addition to your standard FICO Score 8 credit score, Experian also offers three additional credit scores — mortgage, auto loan and credit card — which some lenders might see when determining your creditworthiness. These can be quite helpful, especially if you’re looking to purchase a home or open a new credit card. Other credit monitoring features include a score simulator that lets you select from a variety of scenarios to see how each would impact your score (e.g., max out your credit cards) as well as a credit score tracker that shows your progress over time. Again, these features are only available for your Experian score, but they are still valuable to get an idea of how to manage your credit.


Another aspect of Experian IdentityWorks that some may deem helpful, while others might feel annoyed by, are the ads for credit cards and loans displayed prominently on the dashboard and several pages within the site. By default, Experian uses your credit data to provide personalized recommendations for credit cards, personal loans, auto loans and debt consolidation. You can go into your account settings and turn off personalized recommendations, but you can’t hide these features outright, as they are integrated into the service. If you’re someone in the market for a new credit card, however, you might find this feature useful as it can be detrimental to your credit to apply for a credit card you aren’t qualified for.

One final feature which makes Experian IdentityWorks stand out is the Experian CreditLock feature, which is available to both Plus and Premium memberships. You can use this feature to instantly lock and unlock your Experian credit report, essentially blocking unwanted credit inquiries at the click of a button. This kind of security feature is sometimes available for credit cards, but it’s the first we’ve seen for a credit report. Considering that the traditional route of placing a credit freeze can take time and be costly, it’s certainly a nice feature to have — just don’t forget to unlock your credit report before applying for any kind of new credit!


Identity Theft Protection and Tools

As this is first and foremost marketed as an identity theft protection service, Experian IdentityWorks offers some fairly extensive monitoring. Premium users can input a whole host of personal information to be monitored, including their social security number, up to three email addresses, up to three phone numbers, their driver’s license number, their passport number, up to two medical IDs, up to five bank accounts, up to 10 credit/debit cards, up to two retail/membership cards or accounts and four social networks accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram). Experian IdentityWorks monitors thousands of websites and millions of data points using techniques such as chat room monitoring, scraping and forum extraction to look for instances of your personal information, user names, card numbers, etc.

If a problem is detected, you will receive an alert, which can be viewed within the Identity Theft section of the Experian IdentityWorks website. This section is broken down into three parts: Activity, Protection and Resolution. The Activity tab provides a scrollable timeline of all alerts and other messages you’ve received. You can view them by date and easily collapse or expand sections for viewing, as well as filter them for specific types of alerts or messages (e.g., dark web surveillance). If you have an unread alert, you’ll see a notification bubble with the number of unread messages. Within the Protection tab, you can view, edit and add monitored data as well as read more about the different kinds of alerts and monitoring Experian IdentityWorks provides, while the Resolution tab offers information on the identity theft insurance the service provides, as well as instructions for how to reach a resolution specialist in the event you become a victim of fraud.


The scope of Experian IdentityWorks’ monitoring is fairly broad, covering the most prominent forms of identity theft and personal information misuse. Social security number alerts will let you know if any new names, addresses or aliases become associated with your number. Financial account takeover alerts tell you if there’s suspicious activity with one of your accounts, or if a new account is opened using your information. Sex offender alerts not only notify you when any registered offenders move into your immediate area, but also if someone fraudulently registers as a sex offender in your name, and if your data is detected on criminal acts booked or reported in the court system, you will be notified. If your mail is redirected through the U.S. Postal Service you'll receive a change of address alert. You will also receive an alert if your information is used to apply for a non-credit loan, payday loan or rent-to-own application.

Some of the alerts can seem a bit ridiculous when it comes to social media monitoring — for example, we received an alert which flagged the word “flame” in a Facebook post as potentially risky to our reputation, citing "vulgar language" as the reason. In general, they seemed to be informative and did a good job of explaining what was at risk and why. If you aren’t sure what a particular alert means, you always have the option of contacting Experian.


Overall, Experian IdentityWorks’ identity theft protection features are easy to understand, thorough and clearly designed to be as user-friendly as possible. That said, it’s important to note that Experian IdentityWorks Plus members will not have access to a good number of these alerts and features — only the dark web surveillance alerts are included with that membership.


Customer Support

Experian IdentityWorks’ support section contains plenty of information about its various features, as well as an in-depth guide to credit disputes and educational articles on a variety of credit and identity theft-related topics. If you want to speak with a representative, you can call Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. There is no online chat support, but we found that when we called to ask a couple of questions, the phone menu was easy to understand, the wait time was minimal and the representatives we spoke with were polite and, for the most part, knowledgeable and helpful.

Additionally, it’s important to note that both Plus and Premium plans include up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage, which can possibly serve to reimburse for stolen funds linked to unauthorized account access, lost wages and third-party assistance, such as legal defense. Experian IdentityWorks employs dedicated fraud resolution agents, and in the event an issue arises, you can call and be connected with a primary point of contact to help you navigate the lengthy process of reporting identity theft and restoring your good name.


Conclusion

Overall, Experian IdentityWorks offers competitive features and extensive credit and identity monitoring services at a price that, while a bit more expensive than some of the other credit monitoring services we review, is still a good value for what you get. The Experian CreditLock feature is one we haven’t seen before, and we appreciate how easy to use and understand the different sections of the website are. The prominent display of credit card and loan ads might be a turn-off for some, but it isn’t too intrusive as to overshadow the site’s primary focus. The cheaper Plus plan isn’t ideal for someone who is serious about monitoring their credit, but the Premium plan is worth taking for a spin — especially since you’ve got 30 days to try it for free with a monthly plan or two free months to enjoy with the annual plan.

Sign up for Experian IdentityWorks | Compare to Other Credit Report Monitoring

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Product Details

Credit Scores:Free scores from Equifax, Experian & TransUnion
Credit Reports:Reports from all 3 bureaus
Trial Period & Price:2 months free & $19.99/mo (w/annual prepay) or 30-day free trial & $19.99/mo (w/monthly plan)
Credit Monitoring:All 3 bureaus

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