Our Experian Review in a NutshellThe newest and largest of the three major credit bureaus, Experian has been in business since 1996. They offer competitively priced three-bureau credit reports in addition to single-bureau credit monitoring. Although their service only actively monitors one of the three credit reports, it offers a surprising number of features and functionality, including a "killer app" that could make it an option worth considering for some.
Great Interface on the Website, Easy-to-View Credit Report
We feel that it’s worth noting that Experian’s Credit Tracker website has what we consider to be a fantastic and easy-to-use interface. In fact, our review team feels the level of polish and design is an order of magnitude higher than comparable offerings from either of the other two credit bureaus.
Daily Updates to Experian Credit Report and Score
Members of Experian Credit tracker enjoy unmatched access and insight into their Experian Credit Report. With the option of being able to refresh their Experian credit report as often as once per day, customers that are at especially high risk of identity theft will be able to catch changes to their report the moment they happen.
It is worth noting that the daily updates to this credit report also include a daily update to their FICO score based on that report, which is a compelling value.
Automated Monitoring of Experian Credit Report
In addition to providing users with full access to their Experian credit report and score each day, Experian Credit Tracker also provides automated monitoring and alerts to users (via email or through the mobile app) of any suspicious or major changes to their report, such as new accounts being opened, inquiries, or changes of address.
Low Price on 3-Bureau Credit Reports/FICO Scores
At $39.95 for credit reports from all three bureaus, along with FICO scores for each report, this Experian product offers one of the best values for those looking to get all their credit reports and true credit scores for the lowest cost from one place. It’s also worth noting that a customer need not subscribe to Experian’s subscription monitoring service in order to purchase these credit reports, which provides a nice level of flexibility for those who aren’t as interested in paying a recurring fee or automated monitoring.
Experian is the only credit bureau to include true FICO scores as part of their standard purchase options, the other two bureaus either don’t offer it or charge extra to see it. Additionally, they provide a fairly comprehensive list of credit factors that are influencing your score, helping you to know what to do in order to improve it.
Great Education Center and Score Simulator
In addition to its core credit monitoring functionality, Experian also includes a robust credit education center with their membership, which our review team found to include a wide range of up-to-date, authoritative and accurate consumer credit information. It’s a great resource for newcomers and credit monitoring veterans alike who are seeking to better understand their credit health and the many factors affecting it.
Additionally, we do want to call out the credit score simulator included as part of the subscription, for those who are unfamiliar with such tools, simulators allow customers to see how different financial decisions might potentially impact their credit score, like filing for bankruptcy or paying down credit card balances, taking out a car loan, and more. Because this simulator is powered by FICO, the predictions are as accurate as can be expected from tools like this.
Experian’s mobile app for iPhone and Android has earned high praise for its ease-of-use and polished design, with a solid 5/5 ranking on Apple’s app store, and 4.5/5 on Google’s. Our review team downloaded it and we can see why so many people are rating it so highly. It’s easy of use, stability, bug-free experience and attractive design is noteworthy.
We especially liked the integrated video tutorials included with the app that help users to understand how to use it in order to do everything from disputing an inaccurate item on their credit report to tracking their score over time. The app is pretty tremendous and we think it might be the best-designed mobile app in the credit monitoring space.
It is also worth noting that Experian appears to be actively maintaining the app, rolling out new updates on a regular basis to address customer feedback.
Experian’s negatives lie mostly in the limitations and complaints of its subscription service as well as a handful privacy, security, and legal issues faced by the credit bureau as a whole.
We have seen numerous complaints about the trial offered for Experian Credit Tracker, where either the customer was unaware of the full cost of the service after the trial, they didn’t get 7 days of monitoring, or they had difficulty canceling the service. Depending on where one signs up for the service, the trial length varies. At their main website, Experian offers users a full month of access for $4.95, after which it costs $19.95 per month.
Either way, we advise customers to give themselves plenty of time to call in and cancel before the bill comes due in order to allow time for any unexpected cancellation difficulties.
Additional Fee to View Additional Credit Reports
Subscribers to Experian Credit Monitoring may be disappointed to find that the service doesn’t give them unlimited access to credit reports and scores from the other two major credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. If a customer wants to view either of these reports, they will need to pay a one-time fee of $39.95 to pull both of those reports.
Once pulled, the reports are available to view side-by-side with a customer’s Experian report, but they will not be updated each day. Any time a customer wishes to refresh these two reports, they’ll need to pay another $39.95. For those who are looking for a way to regularly monitor all three credit bureau reports semi-regularly, this cost will add up. Users may feel that they can get a less-expensive way to do three-bureau tracking through other companies.
Single Bureau Monitoring
For those looking for an ongoing subscription option, Experian Credit Tracker only provides regular access to reports and scores from Experian. Although they set up monitoring to alert you of key changes on the other two bureau’s reports, it falls short of what we look for in a comprehensive credit monitoring solution.
In October of 2015, one of Experian’s servers was hacked and the personal information of an estimated 15 million T-Mobile customers stolen (Experian handled credit checks for T-Mobile). Security failures at companies of this size, especially when they provide ID theft protection, are extremely troubling.
This breach had nothing to do with their credit monitoring customers, but it reflects poorly on Experian’s ability to guard consumer information in general.
Experian has been tangled up in quite a few lawsuits recently, including:
- A class-action lawsuit in July of 2015 filed in the state of California for failing to secure customer information against ID theft
- Another suit filed by the State of Mississippi in 2014 for failing to ensure credit report accuracy
- Another class action lawsuit filed in 2011 for disclosing information to debt collectors, which they settled for $8 million in 2014.
It is worth noting that 1.) these lawsuits are against the credit bureau, in general, rather than anything specific with the credit tracking services they offer and 2.) all three bureaus have been hit with lawsuits within the past five years.
In spite of these disclaimers, a large number of ongoing lawsuits is troubling and could be indicative of deeper issues within the company as a whole.
Experian offers three credit reporting products:
- 3-Bureau Credit Report ($39.95) – Includes credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and a FICO® score for each.
- 1-Bureau Credit Report ($19.95) – Includes Experian credit report and FICO® score.
- Experian Credit Tracking ($4.95 for the first month, $19.95/month thereafter) – Includes ongoing access to Experian credit report and FICO® score, refreshed bi-weekly and ongoing monitoring of all three bureaus.
Experian offers a 7 day trial for their Experian Credit Tracker Product. This trial is not free; it costs $1 and the actual term for the trial may be only 5 days since the trial period begins with sign-up, but it can take up to 48 hours to receive information.
Taken directly from Experian’s website:
The credit monitoring benefit may only be available for 5 days during your trial period since enrollment can take up to 48 hours. You may cancel your trial membership any time during your first 7 days without charge.
Scores & Reports Provided
The three bureau report package includes credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, as well as FICO® scores for each report, using the most recent version of their algorithm FICO® Score 8.
The monitoring package only provides scores and reports from Experian itself.
Experian gives additional help in disputing errors. There is no additional costs for this service. You can find it on the Experian website under disputes.
On their Credit Tracker product, Experian states that they provide daily and real-time monitoring of all three credit bureaus, meaning they’ll alert you of major changes to any of your three credit reports, like a new account being opened with your social security number.
Credit Score and Report Refreshes
The Experian Credit Tracker is supposed to refresh monthly. Customers have reported that the refreshes are slow. One can purchase the 3-Bureau Credit Report and FICO Scores as an add-on monthly and representatives from the Experian site and the report will be a refreshed copy. There are neither positive or negative experiences which our review team was able to find to disprove or confirm the information.
Identity Theft Protection
Experian offers their Identity Theft Protection with 3-bureau credit monitoring for $15.95/month. Included are alerts to suspicious activities, expert fraud resolution support and internet ID scanning.
Alerts are primarily sent via email, but customer may receive text alerts should they desire. There is little information about how rapid the turnaround time from the company detecting suspicious activity to alerting customers. Some customers have reported that there were days involved between activity showing up on a credit report and being contacted by Experian.
Time in Business
Experian has been in business since 1996.
475 Anton Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626