Experian, along with TransUnion and Equifax, has been keeping track of people’s credit since 1996. Since the company experienced a massive data breach when it was hacked in 2015, it has worked hard to not only monitor people’s credit but also to become a leader in identity theft protection. Learn more about this and our other top five identity theft protection services.
Experian Identity Theft Protection Review
About Experian Identity Theft Protection
Experian’s identity theft protection services are offered through an annual or monthly subscription to its IdentityWorks plans. There are two different plans: IdentityWorks Plus and IdentityWorks Premium. The two plans are very similar and offer standard identity theft protection options (credit reports, Social Security number monitoring, identity theft insurance) and include a few bonus features like direct access to your FICO scores.
Experian Identity Theft Pricing and Plans
- Direct Coverage
The fact that these plans are offered directly through Experian means you can lock and unlock your credit easily. You also get more direct access to your credit scores than you would through other companies. That means you’ll have a much easier time resolving issues related to your credit report. But even with these benefits, one call won’t solve all your problems if your identity gets stolen. You’ll still need to call your bank and follow all the other recommended steps.
- Lots of Extra Services
The IdentityWorks Premium plan will keep an eye on all sorts of places where you wouldn’t want your name showing up. It will monitor payday loans, court records, sex offender registries, social networks, and file-sharing networks to name a few.
- Few Options
There’s not much of a difference between the two plans—when looking at both side by side, the Plus plan seems like a watered-down version of the Premium plan. You can choose a plan for a single adult, a single parent and children, or two parents and children. You just pay $5 more a month each time you add an adult. A customizable plan based on how much coverage you want would be ideal, but that isn’t an option with Experian (or most other identity theft protection services).
Features and Usability
We recommend the IdentityWorks Premium plan. It covers all your bases when it comes to identity theft issues and has a solid selection of added features. The IdentityWorks Plus plan is a good basic plan, but the best thing Experian offers over other identity theft protection services is FICO scores and quarterly reports from the other credit bureaus—and those benefits come only with the Premium plan.
- Mobile Access
The Experian plans are accessible from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Most of the information and alerts will come to you through emails, but you can access them on any device, making this service easy to use.
- Access to Your FICO Score
For most of us, our credit scores are something we don’t know or even understand all that well. We hear about it when applying for a loan and that’s about it. You can get your credit report for free once a year, but these reports don’t show your credit score. With Experian’s identity theft protection services, you get to see your actual FICO credit score daily, and you get to see your credit scores from all three credit bureaus quarterly. If you’re working on repairing your credit for any reason (not just identity theft), this could be extremely helpful to you.
- Credit Monitoring
Either of the plans offered by Experian give you solid credit monitoring options, but only the Premium plan offers credit card and bank account takeover alerts and monitoring. Fraud alerts like these can save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
- Difficult Cancellation
You get your first thirty days free when you sign up with Experian, but that does require your credit card information, and you will be billed after that. Some customers reported difficulties canceling the service, both during the trial period and after they began paying.
- Customer Service Problems
Many, many online reviewers noted that Experian was difficult to work with when it came to customer support issues. You could easily freeze your credit report, but other than that, many of the services were not easy to access. The website does not list any customer support hours or have any online support options. There are also reports of emails not being answered when customers tried to reach out for help that way. These plans seem like great options for access to information, but they may not be especially helpful if you actually have your identity stolen.
|IdentityWorks Plus||IdentityWorks Premium|
|Monthly Subscription||Starting at $9.99||Starting at $19.99|
|Social Security Number Monitoring|
|Identity Theft Insurance||Up to $500,000||Up to $1,000,000|
|Credit Inquiry Alerts|
|FICO Scores||Daily from Experian||Daily from Experian, quarterly from all 3 credit bureaus|
|View Plans||View Plans|
Experian Identity Theft Protection FAQs
There are many ways your identity can be hijacked by someone. Whether you're buying something online or signing up for a service, it's smart to start with a verified source. If you suspect something has gone sour, freeze your account to prevent any further charges. Get the full story on how to safeguard your credit.
The Dark Web is a part of the internet that is accessible only by special software and is used by people who don’t want their actions online to be traced. Almost all identity theft transactions occur on the Dark Web. If you’ve been hacked, your information will be bought and sold on the Dark Web. Most identity theft protection services will monitor activities on the Dark Web for you because information there moves quickly.
Yes and no. It really depends on the type of plan you sign up for. Most identity theft protection plans will offer credit monitoring services, but not all credit monitoring services will offer everything you need for identity theft protection.
The Bottom Line
Experian’s IdentityWorks Plus and Premium plans offer solid, helpful identity protection services. If you need credit monitoring for rebuilding your credit or because of previous identity theft, these are good plans. It’s best to pay the extra money and get the Premium plan because of the extra FICO score and credit report information you get. Be aware, though, that when you sign up, you’ll still need to be ready to take a lot of action on your own if your identity is compromised, and Experian’s customer service has been reported as less than stellar.
How we evaluated Experian Identity Theft Protection services
We evaluated Experian’s IdentityWorks plans by reading through its website and comparing the plans to others offered by alternate companies. We also spoke with an online security expert and people who have experienced identity theft, and we combed internet reviews. For more information, see the SafeWise Methodology.