Equifax Review (Updated for 2012)
Atlanta, Georgia-based Equifax is one of the three main credit reporting agencies (TransUnion and Experian being the two others). Galvanized by the success of pioneers TrustedID and LifeLock, Equifax entered the identity theft protection industry with the goal of offering customers greater variety in subscription services.
ID Patrol, Equifax's main identity theft protections service, monitors a customer's credit files with each of the three credit bureaus for suspicious activity. Should there occur any, Equifax immediately alerts the customer.Visit Website
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Equifax considers suspicious the following activities:
- Changes to a customer's credit files;
- Changes to a customer's personal information;
- Changes to sensitive documents of any sort pertaining to a customer's identity.
Upon detecting any such changes to a customer's personal information, Equifax locks his or her credit files. Once locked, a customer's file remains inaccessible to any party who does not first secure the customer's authorization.
ID Patrol, Equifax's most popular service, has seven main features. These include:
- Credit File Monitoring
- Monitors customers' credit files with the three major credit bureaus, and sends customers alerts should there occur any suspicious activity.
- Credit Score Control
- Allows customers to lock or unlock their credit files -- either for selected companies, or all of them -- in a few convenient steps.
- Regularly scans the Internet for suspicious activity involving a customer's private information and alerts the customer to possible identity theft.
- Unlimited Equifax Credit Scores
- Provides customers unlimited access to their credit scores, and also provides an annual 3-in-1 credit score that compiles the customer's Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian scores into a single report.
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
- Provides zero-deductible identity theft insurance -- up to the amount of $1 million -- underwritten by Travelers Casualty and Surety Company.
- 24-Hour Support
- Equifax provides assistance and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all of its customers.
Equifax Complete™ gives customers all the tools they need to understand, protect, and track their credit and scores. Equifax monitors credit files across all three bureaus and alerts customers within 24 hours to any changes made to them. And because customers can access to their credit scores from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, they know exactly what to expect when applying for a loan.
Benefits of Equifax Complete include:
- Comprehensive credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files;
- One 3-in-1 Credit Report with three scores, with details concerning the factors affecting each score;
- Interactive Score Estimator™ to simulate changes to all three credit scores at once;
- Unlimited access to an Equifax Credit Report and Score, with an Interactive Score Estimator&™, and with details concerning the factors affecting each score;
- Information on how lenders perceive a customer's risk level when it comes time to apply for a loan;
- $1 million worth of ID theft insurance;
- Round-the-clock access to helpful Identity Theft Resolution specialists;
- Automatic Fraud Alerts: a feature that offers additional protection.
A higher credit score means big savings in the long term, because it translates into lower-interest loans, and therefore lower monthly payments. ScoreWatch allows customers to project trends based on their present credit score, so they can chart a course to their ideal score.
ScoreWatch's features include:
- Continuous score monitoring and notification of any credit score change;
- Detailed explanations of key score changes and specific tips for understanding the score itself;
- Daily Equifax Credit Report monitoring with notification of key changes (via email or wireless);
- Two Equifax Credit Reports™; and two FICO® scores per year, plus discounts on additional credit reports and additional score reports;
- Detailed "Bottom Line" analyses of what a customer's current score means, how it compares with national averages, and how lenders interpret it;
- Seven-day-a-week access to friendly and knowledgeable Customer Care specialists.
Equifax's smart, innovative Debt Wise features a step-by-step plan to paying down debts and saving money. Debt Wise's benefits include:
- Quick and easy plan development with Fast Pay Plan Wizard;
- Quick and easy selection, addition, or changing of debts appearing on an Equifax Credit Report with the Flexible Fast Pay Plan;
- Automatic progress tracking as new changes occur to the customer's Equifax Credit Report;
- Effective household budgeting with Spend Right tools and tips;
- Enhanced credit score vigilance with four-times-a-year Equifax credit reporting, which includes detailed explanations of credit scores, their comparison with national averages, and their significance to lenders;
- Interactive score simulation to model both desirable and undesirable changes to a credit score;
- Daily monitoring of customers' Equifax Credit Report for notable changes, with notice of such changes sent expeditiously;
- $25,000 worth of zero-deductible identity theft insurance;
- 24-7 access to Knowledgeable Customer Care specialists.
Pricing And Cancellation
The pricing for the above services is as follows:
- $14.95/month for Equifax ID Patrol
- $16.95/month for Equifax Complete
- $12.95/month for ScoreWatch
- $14.95/month for Debt Wise
Equifax allows customers to add family members to their plan. Rates range from $159/year to $207/year per each additional member. Customers may opt instead for package rates that ranges from $714/year to $928/year, depending on the package selected, which allow the addition of up to ten additional family members.
Customers pre-paying their subscription will receive an alert from Equifax of any service renewals 30 prior to the renewal date.
Customers joining on a month-to-month basis will have their accounts billed on the same date each month, and will receive no advance notice.
Customers wishing to cancel their subscription must contact Equifax directly by phone or email. Customer service will determine whether canceling customers are entitled to any refunds.
Add-ons and Plans
Additional plans include add-ons for some of the above plans include 3-in-1 credit scores with or without FICO scores ($29.95 without; $39.95 with), and 3-in-1 credit scoring with Score Power for $39.95. Equifax also offer Equifax Identity Report for $9.95 and a Credit Report and Score for $15.95.
Equifax offers customer support through an extensive FAQ section, a searchable article database, customer service email, and a toll-free number that is open from 8 AM to 3 AM EST, 7 days a week.
Customers may only access customer service numbers and emails once they have logged into their Equifax accounts online.
Customer Service Number: 866-243-8181
Equifax in a Nutshell
Equifax's Patrol ID and related products have proven flexible, inexpensive, and user-friendly. Equifax does have one drawback: it cannot lock or unlock customers' Experian and TransUnion credit files. Customers wishing to do so much make their own provisions. Customers can, however, lock and unlock their Equifax file whenever they like at no charge -- a service that TrustedID, another identity theft protection company, charges for on a per-use basis. On balance, then, Equifax offers value and service in equal measure for those in need of solid identity theft protection.Visit Website
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