Experian IdentityWorks Experian IdentityWorks
by ,
4.5 5stars

Experian IdentityWorks Review

Sign up for Experian IdentityWorks
Rating:
Bottom Line:
Comprehensive credit and identity monitoring (with Premium membership) and unique Experian CreditLock feature combined with competitive pricing and an easy-to-use website

Full Review:
Experian IdentityWorks is a new identity theft protection service from the Experian credit bureau. This service offers an array of credit monitoring features alongside extensive identity monitoring and fraud resolution assistance. All this combined with its budget-friendly prices makes Experian IdentityWorks a solid option for anyone looking for identity theft protection.


Pricing

Experian IdentityWorks offers two plan options: Experian IdentityWorks Premium and Experian IdentityWorks Plus.

The 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). Monthly plans get a free 30-day trial to start, though you’ll need to provide credit card information at signup. Cancelling your membership anytime within the 30-day trial period will ensure that your credit card is not charged. On the other hand, annual plans come with two free months and you're charged immediately after signup. If you cancel an annual membership before the year is up, you’ll receive a prorated refund for the months you haven’t used (e.g., if you cancel after four months, you’ll be refunded for the remaining six — remember that the first two months are free). Since you get an extra month for free with an annual plan, it’s worth considering, but it also makes sense to sign up for the monthly plan to try out the service for free during the 30-day trial.


If IdentityWorks Premium is a little too expensive for you, there is a cheaper option called Experian IdentityWorks Plus, which costs $9.99/month for the monthly subscription and comes with a 30-day trial or $99.99/year ($9.99/month with two months for free) with an annual plan. However, this isn’t the best plan for someone looking for thorough identity and credit protection, as it does not offer three-bureau credit reports and scores or a plethora of identity monitoring alerts that Premium provides.


Signup

The signup process for Experian IdentityWorks is straightforward and quick. There are four pages total, and you will need to provide some personal information — including your address, social security number and birth date — as well as answer some questions at the end to verify your identity. As we noted earlier, you also must provide credit card information at signup, but you will only be charged if you sign up for an annual plan — those who opt for a monthly plan will not be charged until the 30-day trial period expires. Experian sends several welcome emails once your registration has been processed to help you get started setting up your account (e.g., inputting your credit card numbers for the service to track).


Identity Theft Protection

Experian IdentityWorks Premium allows users to input a whole host of personal information to be monitored. This includes your social security number, up to three email addresses, up to three phone numbers, your driver’s license number, your 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). It 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.

In the event that a problem is detected, you will receive an alert. The Identity Theft section of the Experian IdentityWorks website 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. If you have an unread alert, you’ll see a notification bubble with the number of unread messages. The Protection tab lets you view, edit and add monitored data as well as read more about the different kinds of alerts and monitoring Experian IdentityWorks provides, while Resolution offers information on the identity theft insurance as well as 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. The 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. Change of address alerts are sent if your mail is redirected through the U.S. Postal Service, while the sex offender alerts notify you not only of any offenders that move into your immediate area, but also if someone fraudulently registers as a sex offender in your name. 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, as well as if your data is detected in criminal acts booked or reported in the court system.

When it comes to social media network monitoring, some of the alerts can seem downright silly — one alert we received flagged the word “flame” in a Facebook post as potentially risky to our reputation for “vulgar language” — but in general, they seemed to be informative and did a good job of explaining what was at risk and why.


Overall, the identity theft protection features are easy to understand, thorough and clearly designed to be as user-friendly as possible. That said, we did have a few issues when trying to navigate, particularly with an alert for a social network monitoring report which we couldn’t open or clear — an error that happened twice. It’s also 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.


Credit Report Monitoring Information

The Reports and Scores section of the Experian IdentityWorks website is where Experian IdentityWorks members can view their credit reports and scores and see any alerts related to them. Understandably, the focal point is Experian’s credit reports and scores, which makes sense given that this is the credit bureau’s own identity theft protection service. That said, Premium members will benefit from credit monitoring and alerts, as well as the ability to receive reports and scores from all three credit bureaus. Your Experian credit report and scores are updated on a daily basis, while Equifax and TransUnion update on a quarterly basis. Note that Plus members can only view their Experian report and score (and only Experian will be monitored for suspicious activity). If you can’t wait until the next quarterly update, you have the option at any time to purchase current three-bureau credit reports and scores for $39.99.


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. You can view each of your credit reports and scores individually, as well as compare your scores to see how they stack up against one another. Experian IdentityWorks provides helpful information on what each of your scores means and what factors are impacting it (positive and negative), along with suggestions on what steps you can take to improve. The credit report view is quite detailed, which is a plus, especially in the event you notice something in your credit reports that isn’t quite right. Having as much information as possible will make it easier to file a dispute or contact a creditor.

In addition to your standard FICO Score 8 credit score, Experian also offers three additional scores — mortgage, auto loan and credit card — which some lenders might see when determining your creditworthiness. These can be helpful to view, especially if you’re in the market for a new car or credit card. Other credit monitoring features include a score tracker that shows your progress over time and a score simulator that lets you select from a variety of scenarios to see how each would impact your score (e.g., don’t pay any of your bills). 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.


One final feature which makes Experian IdentityWorks stand out is the Experian CreditLock feature, available to both membership tiers. This enables customers to instantly lock and unlock their Experian credit reports, 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 — and it’s a nice idea, especially considering that the traditional route of placing a credit freeze can take time and be costly. Just don’t forget to unlock your credit report before applying for any kind of new credit!


Identity Theft Assistance

As we have often stated, the true value of identity theft protection services lies in the restoration assistance offered in the event fraud does occur. 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 dedicated point of contact to help you navigate the lengthy process of reporting identity theft and restoring your good name. The ability to lock your Experian credit report can also go a long way toward stopping identity theft in its tracks, as it will block any new credit inquiries from being made (as long as the creditor contacts Experian).


Customer Service

The Support section of the website contains plenty of information about Experian IdentityWorks’ 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 talk to 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.

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.


Conclusion

Experian IdentityWorks offers competitive features and extensive credit and identity monitoring services at a price that makes it directly competitive with the big hitters in identity theft protection. 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, aside from a few hiccups with the alert system. 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 protecting their identity and 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 with the annual plan.

Sign up for Experian IdentityWorks | Compare to Other Identity Theft Protection

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Product Details

Price:2 months free & $19.99/mo (w/annual prepay) or 30-day free trial & $19.99/mo (w/monthly plan)
Fraud Monitoring:Monitors 3-bureau credit reports, credit applications, SSN, driver's license, passport, non-credit loans, address change, credit card and bank account activity, sex offender registry, court records
ID Theft Insurance/
Guarantee:
$1,000,000 insurance
Reports Delivered:Experian credit scores daily; 3-bureau credit reports & scores quarterly
Computer Security:None

NextAdvisor Identity Theft Protection Blog Headlines


About Us Blog Contact Us Forums Terms & Privacy Policy Affiliate Program Site Map
Copyright© 2006 - 2017 NextAdvisor.com - All rights reserved.

Advertiser Disclosure: NextAdvisor is a consumer information site that offers free reviews and ratings of online services. Many of the companies whose services we review provide us compensation when someone who clicks from our site becomes their customer. This is how we make money to support our site. The results of our analyses, calculators, reviews and ratings are based on objective quantitative and qualitative evaluation of all the cards on our site and are not affected by any compensation NextAdvisor may receive. Compensation may impact which products we review and write about and where those products appear. We do not review all products in a given category. All opinions expressed on this site are our own.