Experian and Equifax are two of the three major credit bureaus that collect and maintain information about your credit history. They also both offer monitoring services so you can keep track of your credit and protect your identity.
Experian’s most comprehensive membership offers detailed and reliable coverage with standout features like FICO score tracking—a useful tool if you’re looking to take out a big loan. But it has negative customer reviews and pricey higher tiers.
Equifax has affordable monitoring packages with basic coverage, with features like a credit lock that prevents third parties from accessing your credit report. But we have concerns about its poor reputation, especially considering the bureau’s lack of transparency during 2017’s data breach.
Neither brand has a stellar reputation when it comes to customer service. Comparing the two, we prefer Experian, so if you’re interested in getting credit monitoring and identity protection coverage straight from one of the credit reporting agencies, read on.
Experian vs. Equifax: Credit monitoring
Experian CreditWorks monitors your credit with two tiers of service. CreditWorks Basic will get you basic one-bureau credit monitoring at no cost. CreditWorks Premium adds much more, with three-bureau credit monitoring and monthly credit scores, as well as a daily credit report and score. We think it’s best if you want to take proactive steps towards improving or maintaining your credit.
Equifax offers credit monitoring at all three tiers of service. At its lowest tier, you’ll get three-bureau credit monitoring, a daily credit report, and an annual three-bureau credit report (which isn’t really a big get, since you’re already entitled to one by law). At its highest tiers, you’ll get access to daily and annual credit scores too.
Compare Experian and Equifax credit monitoring services
|Lowest monitoring cost||Free|| |
Monthly credit score
|Monthly credit report|
Daily credit score
Daily credit report
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
*Data effective 6/19/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Experian CreditWorks plans and prices
CreditWorks Basic is Experian’s free credit monitoring service that gives you a no-frills look at your credit file. Consider it if you’re curious about keeping an eye on both your credit file and credit history but don’t want to commit to a monthly fee.
What comes with CreditWorks Basic
- Monthly Experian credit score and report
- Monitoring for credit inquiries and new accounts
Looking to build or maintain credit? CreditWorks Premium ups the ante, by a lot. For $24.99 per month—and a $4.99 trial period for the first month—CreditWorks gets you your money’s worth with comprehensive credit monitoring. It also lets you use the FICO score simulator—so you can see how making decisions like opening a new credit card or buying a car might affect your score.
These are good features for the price. Yes, it’s more than you’ll pay with Equifax, but you get a lot more. Compared to other competitors though, the cost is a bit more than a budget option like Credit Sesame.
What comes with CreditWorks Premium
- Everything from the Basic plan
- Three-bureau credit monitoring
- Three-bureau monthly credit score and report
- Daily credit scores from the three major credit bureaus
- Daily Experian credit report
- FICO score simulator
Equifax credit monitoring plans and prices
Equifax ID Patrol, priced at $16.95 per month, doesn’t have a ton of monitoring features, but it can alert you of any suspicious activity. ID Patrol also offers a credit lock service, so third parties can’t access your Equifax credit report.
What comes with Equifax ID Patrol
- Three-bureau credit monitoring
- Annual three-bureau credit report
- Daily Equifax credit report
- Credit report lock
Credit lock vs. credit freeze
A credit freeze and a credit lock can both protect your credit reports from third parties. Think of a credit lock as a preventive measure to keep your credit file and credit history safe from identity thieves. It’s easier to undo than a credit freeze, but it doesn’t give you quite as much protection. Credit freezes—also known as security freezes—are free at every major bureau and can be used when you think your personal data has been exposed. They’re harder to undo than a lock, so you should only use a freeze as a last resort.
At $19.95 per month, Equifax Complete Premier also monitors your Equifax credit score, so you can see how different financial decisions affect your credit. It’s an affordable way to maintain or improve your credit day to day.
What comes with Equifax Complete Premier
- Everything from the ID Patrol plan
- Annual three-bureau credit scores
- Daily Equifax credit score
- Credit score monitoring
For $29.95 per month, Equifax Complete Family has all the features of Complete Premier, plus coverage for a second adult. You’ll also get access to one-bureau credit monitoring and credit locks for any kids.
What comes with Equifax Complete Family
- Everything from the Premier plan
- Premier features for a second adult
- Equifax credit monitoring and lock for up to four children
Experian vs. Equifax: Identity theft protection
Experian IdentityWorks helps prevent identity fraud and alerts you to suspicious activity with low-cost memberships and options for family coverage. IdentityWorks Plus takes care of the basics with dark web monitoring, lost wallet assistance, and more.
IdentityWorks Premium is much more comprehensive, adding features like bank account and credit card monitoring and identity validation alerts.
Equifax’s identity protection services are a bit limited compared to Experian’s. All three tiers have the same level of identity theft protection, with lost wallet assistance (to save you time contacting credit card companies if your wallet gets lost), automatic fraud alerts, and bank account and credit card monitoring.
Compare Experian and Equifax identity theft protection services
|Lowest monitoring cost|
|Identity theft insurance||Up to $1 million||Up to $1 million|
|Lost wallet protection|
Bank account and credit card monitoring
|Social network monitoring|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
*Data effective 6/29/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Experian IdentityWorks plans and prices
At $9.99 per month, IdentityWorks Plus has great identity theft protection. You’ll get alerts when IdentityWorks detects big changes to your account balance, a FICO score simulator, and up to $500,000 in ID theft insurance. And with a 30-day free trial, it’s a great plan if you’re new to identity theft prevention.
What comes with IdentityWorks Plus
- Identity theft insurance up to $500,000
- Dark web monitoring
- Lost wallet assistance
- Social Security number monitoring
- Address change verification
- Account balance notificationsDaily FICO credit score
- FICO score simulator
IdentityWorks Premium, priced at $19.99 per month, bumps the identity theft insurance up to $1,000,000. It also adds some more specific monitoring, from court record monitoring to identity validation alerts.
What comes with IdentityWorks Premium
- Everything from the Plus plan
- Up to $1,000,000 identity theft insurance
- Bank and credit card monitoring
- Identity validation alerts
- Payday loan monitoring
- Court record monitoring
- File-sharing network monitoring
- Social network monitoring
- Sex offender registry report
IdentityWorks also offers plans for families and is one of the only identity protection services that has enough coverage for larger families. For $5 more a month, you can cover one adult and up to 10 children. For $10 more, you’ll get enough coverage for two adults and up to 10 kids.
Equifax ID theft protection plans and prices
Equifax offers the same basic identity theft protection for all its tiers: ID Patrol for $16.95 per month; Complete Premier for $19.95 a month; and Complete Family at $19.95 per month. The difference between the plans is in the credit monitoring.
No matter what plan you choose, you’ll get lost wallet help, Social Security number monitoring, automatic fraud alerts, and up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. You’ll also be able to use Equifax’s Internet Scanning feature, which monitors the web for your passport, credit card, bank account, and insurance policy numbers.
Features and flaws
Experian is the rare monitoring service that offers a FICO score simulator and tracks your FICO score. That’s a great number to have if you’re considering making a big purchase or taking out a hefty loan for a mortgage.
Like Equifax, Experian also offers a credit lock. Unfortunately, it will cost you: to lock your Experian credit report, you’ll need a subscription to Experian IdentityWorks.
Whether you’re a subscriber or not, Equifax offers a free credit lock, so you can keep your Equifax credit report safe from potential identity thieves if your credit card or driver’s license is lost. Equifax also has an automatic fraud alert feature that encourages potential lenders to take a few extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit to you—or someone posing as you.
Compared to the competition, Equifax doesn’t offer much in the way of identity theft protection. Brands like Experian and IdentityForce offer extensive monitoring—from address change verification dark web monitoring of your personal information—and Equifax’s offerings are pretty limited in comparison.
Experian’s customer service is available via phone Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT). However, a lot of customers describe a poor customer service experience. Some report that getting in touch with an actual person can be a long, drawn-out process.
Equifax provides access to an online chat portal, available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight (ET). It also has several phone numbers listed for different queries—canceling your Equifax product, questions about the 2017 Equifax data breach—but there’s no number listed for general queries about your account. Admittedly, the Equifax contact page is a little confusing.
It makes sense then that customers often report long wait times and difficulty getting in touch with a real live human. Many also say that support is sometimes unable to resolve their issues.
As two of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian and Equifax both offer credit monitoring and identity theft protection from the source.
But between the two of them, Experian IdentityWorks is the clear winner. It offers comprehensive identity theft protection with solid credit monitoring and is an excellent option if you’re looking for an easy way to protect your identity and keep an eye on your credit. You can read more about Experian’s plans, pros, and cons in our full review.
If you like the idea of monitoring your credit with a credit reporting agency and don’t want as much ID theft coverage, Equifax could be a better fit. You’ll get decent credit monitoring, so-so identity theft coverage, and affordable options for family coverage. Read more about Equifax in our full review.
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