Experian IdentityWorksThough we’ve seen multiple identity theft protection services come and go over the past few years, the core issue that these businesses seek to address has steadily remained a problem for millions across the country. While there is no way to completely prevent identity theft, having a service on your side that provides monitoring and alerts for potential misuse of your personal information, in-depth credit monitoring and resources for dealing with identity theft can be a huge benefit. Experian recently launched a new service called Experian IdentityWorks which offers a host of identity theft and credit protection features to its subscribers. To see what this new service offers, we signed up and tested it out. Does it measure up? Keep reading to get the verdict.

What it costs

One of the most important factors in today’s economic climate when considering adding a product or service to your life is how much it’s going to cost you. To start, Experian IdentityWorks offers two different plans: Plus and Premium. You have the option with either plan to purchase an annual subscription or pay month to month. The annual subscription offers a discount of two months free, while the month-to-month subscription features a 30-day free trial. Note that there is no free trial if you choose the annual prepay option. Both have their positives and negatives, of course, but rest assured that if you do choose the annual plan and want to cancel before the year is up, you’ll receive a prorated refund for the months you did not use (excluding the two free months).

Experian IdentityWorks Plus costs $9.99/month for a month-to-month payment plan or $99.99/year for the entire year, while IdentityWorks Premium costs $19.99/month for the month-to-month subscription and $199.99/year when you pay up front for the whole year. Although the Plus plan offers a cheaper price, that comes at the cost of important identity monitoring features and three-bureau credit reports and scores, so it’s in your best interest to opt for the Premium plan to get the most thorough identity theft protection possible.

How it protects your identity

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. Users can input a host of data for monitoring, including their social security number, up to three email addresses, up to three phone numbers, a driver’s license number, a 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). If suspicious activity is detected, an alert will be posted to the identity theft monitoring section of your account, and you can view all past and present alerts on an easy-to-use timeline.

Plus members will only receive dark web monitoring alerts, while Premium members will benefit from extensive identity monitoring, including social security number alerts, financial account takeover alerts, change of address alerts, sex offender registry alerts, booking and court system alerts and alerts to use of your information to apply for a non-credit loan (e.g., a payday loan). In the event suspicious activity is detected or your identity has been compromised, you can take advantage of Experian IdentityWorks’ dedicated fraud resolution agents, who will walk you through every step of the process. Additionally, both Plus and Premium members are covered with $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage.

How it monitors your credit

Credit monitoring from Experian IdentityWorks is, understandably, geared toward your Experian credit report and score — all members will receive daily updates of their Experian credit report and score, as well as additional credit scores for mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. The Experian CreditLock feature, also available to all members, lets you lock and unlock your credit report at the click of a button. Plus members only receive Experian credit information and monitoring, while Premium members’ TransUnion and Equifax credit reports and scores will also be monitored. In addition, Premium members receive quarterly updated credit reports and scores for all three credit bureaus. This is of high value for anyone concerned about their credit, as not all creditors report to the same credit bureaus, so having access to all three is the only way to ensure you know exactly what’s being reported in your name across the board. Other credit monitoring features include a credit score tracker that shows the progress of your Experian score over time, as well as a score simulator that shows the potential impact of different actions (e.g., paying off your credit card) on your credit.

Is Experian IdentityWorks the service for you?

This is certainly a solid identity theft protection service, though in order to get the most out of it, you will need to opt for the Premium plan, which is slightly more expensive than Identity Guard’s individual plan ($16.99/month compared to $19.99/month), but cheaper than LifeLock Ultimate Plus ($24.75/month w/annual prepay). Additionally, couples looking to save on identity theft or families wanting some protection for their children’s information will be disappointed, as Experian IdentityWorks does not offer any sort of couples or family plans. That said, the Experian-specific features, such as the Experian CreditLock and additional credit scores, as well as extensive monitoring and ease of use make this a service worth considering for the individual. Since most of the top-rated identity theft protection services we review, including Experian IdentityWorks’ month-to-month plan, offer a 30-day free trial, if you are torn between two services, you might benefit from signing up for both and testing the features out yourself.

Learn more about how to protect your information by following our identity theft protection blog.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the companies referenced in this article. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the companies mentioned. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through advertiser affiliate programs.