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Equifax Review: Monitor, Freeze, and Unfreeze Your Credit

Price: Plans start at $16.95/mo.
Summary: If you’re willing to overlook its poor reputation, Equifax offers comprehensive credit monitoring and identity theft monitoring services for you and your family at an affordable price.

Overview

Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States, offers credit monitoring and identity theft protection services at a reasonable price, with plans that fit different lifestyles. But its reputation leaves a lot to be desired.

On July 29, 2017, Equifax detected a major data breach that exposed sensitive and personal data of 148 million people, including credit card, driver’s license, and Social Security numbers. That’s almost half of the US population at risk for identity theft. But the company waited six weeks, until September 7, 2017, to disclose the breach to consumers.

Because Equifax handled the data breach so poorly, we don’t recommend its services.

In the aftermath, Equifax offered free credit freezes and, for a limited time, free credit monitoring services. But it didn’t offer to reimburse any victims, nor did it introduce any long-term practices to help keep consumer information safe.

Because Equifax handled the data breach so poorly, we don’t recommend its credit monitoring or identity theft services. If you’re willing to overlook its poor reputation and lack of transparency, read on for a comprehensive review of its offerings.

Otherwise, check out our top recommendations for credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.

Equifax pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable package options
  • Family Plan option for credit monitoring and ID theft protection

Cons

  • Poor customer support reputation
  • Three-bureau credit scores only annually

Compare Equifax membership plans

ID PatrolPremierFamily Plan
Price$16.95/mo.$19.95/mo.$29.95/mo.
Credit monitoring (3 bureaus)
Annual credit score (3 bureaus)
Daily credit score (1 bureau)
Annual credit report (3 bureaus)
Daily credit report (1 bureau)
Lost wallet assistance
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Learn moreView Plans
View PlansView Plans
Price
Credit monitoring (3 bureaus)
Annual credit score (3 bureaus)
Daily credit score (1 bureau)
Annual credit report (3 bureaus)
Daily credit report (1 bureau)
Lost wallet assistance
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Learn more
ID Patrol Premier Family Plan
$16.95/mo. $19.95/mo. $29.95/mo.
View Plans
View Plans View Plans

Data effective 02/25/2019. Offers subject to change.

Price

Equifax membership plans offer solid credit monitoring with some identity theft protection perks. Although all three of its plans offer a lot of the same things, a few bonuses set each of them apart.

Equifax ID Patrol

For $16.95 a month, Equifax ID Patrol offers fairly comprehensive services, including some basic protection from identity thieves. It’s a great option if you want to get serious about your credit standing—like if you’re going to apply for a loan or a new credit card.

What you get

  • Credit file monitoring from all three national credit bureaus
  • Annual three-bureau credit report
  • Credit report lock
  • Automatic fraud alerts

Equifax Complete Premier

The Premier plan ups the ante a bit. For $19.95 per month, you’ll be alerted of any changes to your Equifax credit score and report, so you always have a good idea of what’s going on with your credit.

This plan is great if you’re single and looking to maintain or improve your credit score and keep your identity safe.

What you get

  • Everything from the ID Patrol plan
  • Annual three-bureau credit scores
  • Daily Equifax credit score
  • Credit score monitoring
  • Financial alerts

Equifax Complete Family Plan

At $29.95 a month, the family plan doesn’t have any added features compared to the Premier plan. But it does give one other adult family member access to their own credit monitoring and identity theft protection at no added cost.

The Family Plan also allows you to monitor the credit of up to four children. It’s best if you’re a parent or live in a household with two adults.

What you get

  • Everything from the Premier plan
  • Access for a second adult for all Premier features
  • Equifax credit monitoring and credit lock for up to four children

Equifax features

Equifax provides some helpful tools online at no cost to help you protect yourself from identity theft.

How to freeze your credit with Equifax

With an Equifax credit freeze (also known as a security freeze), you can prevent unauthorized access to a credit file, which in turn stops identity thieves from opening a new credit card or loan in your name. It’s a good idea to freeze your credit if you know your identity has been stolen or compromised.

ASL Insider Tip

It's the law

Thanks to a law signed in May 2018, the three largest credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—are required to include free credit freezes and thaws.

Freezing your credit with Equifax is straightforward. After creating an account, you can place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove your security freeze. The service is available online, over the phone, or by mail.

You can also use Equifax’s Lock & Alert app to lock your credit report on the go. A lock has the same impact on your credit report, but it’s not federally regulated like a security freeze is.

How to place a fraud alert

A fraud alert can also protect your personal information. By placing a free fraud alert on your credit report, you can still let creditors and lenders access your report, but they’ll be notified to verify your identity before allowing new or additional credit in your name.

It’s smart to place a fraud alert if you suspect your credit info is compromised or if you know your data was stolen since it makes it harder for someone to open accounts or otherwise misuse your information.

Fraud alerts can be placed in two increments: a one-year initial fraud alert or active duty alert can be made online, by phone, or via email. A longer, seven-year extended fraud alert requires a special request form and documentation that proves you’re a victim of identity theft.

Customer service

Equifax has a poor reputation for customer support, and most reviews of Equifax’s services are negative. Subscribers say filed disputes are rarely resolved, waiting times via phone are super long, and support is often unable to actually help with any issues.

Availability

Equifax’s website says it offers customer support via phone, email and chat. But on the contact page, Equifax provides access only to an online chat option, available from 8 a.m. to midnight ET on weekdays, and a phone number for questions related to its 2017 data breach. Finding another number takes some digging, which can add frustration.

Our recommendation:

Equifax has some desirable features: Equifax’s credit freeze process is straightforward, and all its plans are fairly priced with a good selection of perks and services.

Still, Equifax’s overall reputation isn’t great. We think it’s best to invest in a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service that’s more reputable.

We recommend IdentityForce. It has a lot of similar features, and we like that it bundles credit monitoring with identity theft protection at a fair price.

>>Still looking? Check out our picks for best credit report monitoring and identity theft protection services.

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