Experian

Experian

The newest and largest of the three major credit bureaus, Experian has been in business since 1996. The company offers competitively priced triple-bureau credit reports in addition to single-bureau credit monitoring. Although its service only actively monitors one of the three credit reports, it offers a surprising number of features and functionality, including an awesome mobile app, which could make it an option worth considering for some.

The Good

  • Website
  • Daily refresh rate
  • Automated monitoring
  • FICO scores
  • Education center
  • Mobile app

Website

We feel that it's worth noting that Experian's 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 Refresh Rate

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

In addition to providing users with full access to their Experian credit report and score each day, Experian 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.

FICO Scores

Experian is the only credit bureau to include true FICO scores as part of its standard purchase options; the other two bureaus either don't offer it or charge extra to see it. Additionally, Experian provides a fairly comprehensive list of credit factors that are influencing your score, helping you to know what to do in order to improve it.

Education Center

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.

Mobile App

Experian's mobile app for iPhone and Android has earned high praise for its ease-of-use and polished design, with solid ratings on both the Apple and Android app stores. It's ease 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 Bad

  • Trial complaints
  • Additional fees
  • Single-bureau monitoring
  • Data breach
  • Legal issues

Trial Complaints

We have seen numerous complaints about the trial offered by Experian where either the customer was unaware of the full cost of the service after the trial, they didn't get the full seven days of monitoring, or they had difficulty canceling the service. Depending on where one signs up for the service, the trial length varies. On its 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 Fees

Subscribers to Experian 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 an additional fee to pull them. 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 find a less expensive way to receive triple-bureau tracking through other companies.

Single-Bureau Monitoring

For those looking for an ongoing subscription option, Experian only provides regular access to reports and scores from Experian. Although the company has 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.

Data Breach

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 its credit monitoring customers, but it reflects poorly on Experian's ability to guard consumer information in general.

Legal Issues

Experian has been tangled up in quite a few lawsuits recently, including:

  • class-action lawsuit in July of 2015 filed in the state of California for failing to secure customer information against ID theft
  • A suit filed by the State of Mississippi in 2014 for failing to ensure credit report accuracy
  • A 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 these lawsuits were against the credit bureau in general, rather than anything specific with the credit tracking services it offers, and all three major 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.

The Bottom Line

As troubling as the legal and security issues are, the unfortunate truth is that as one of the big three credit bureaus, Experian most likely already has your private information regardless of whether or not you personally use their credit service. The company offers daily refreshes, FICO scores, and credit monitoring and reports for an affordable price.

6 Experian Reviews

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  • User Score

    0

    July 20th, 2017 Warren Township, NJ

    When trying to validate my new "complimentary" experian id account, Dorothy would not let me finish why I was calling. She said repeatedly, don't be rude to me. I was trying to tell her what happened when I was trying to register. She said, it's going to to take 15 minutes. All I said, is let's get started now if it's going to take 15 minutes because I don't have very much time....very bad service considering my identity was breached by Caliber Home Loans

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  • User Score

    0

    July 10th, 2017 Palestine, TX

    I was deceived into credit card charges of $26.55 ea. month when I thought it was for $1.00. I've tried, for well over a year, to get experian to stop charging my credit card. I've called, more times than I can count, reported this to my credit card company and even cancelled the card (twice) and requested a newly assigned account number. Somehow, experian still charges the account...every month. When I call them, they tell me different stories. They hang up after long hold times, say they're going to cancel the charges and don't or they might say they can't find the account and it goes round and round...wasting my valuable time and money. They will not stop charging the card! I don't know what to do and then I wondered how many others have had this same problem. So, I searched and found many others! I'm thinking I need an attorney but this is ridiculous...right? I found there are class action suits and experien needs to be listed. I left a message with classaction.org. I'm going to try to find one or create a suit to get money for all my wasted time or months I couldn't call and they charged me. It takes time (I don't have) on the months, when I call my credit card company, for them to they take it off. But they keep telling me to call and stop the charges through experian. I've spent hours and hours on the phone. American Express doesn't seem to be able to block them from charging. It's like I'm caught in some twisted twilight zone episode of the ruthless, greedy and relentless stalking company..."experian!" I'm so tired of taking to representatives, supervisors etc...who do nothing to stop these charges. Please don't end up like me! If they want you to buy anything...run! Pass the word quickly so others are not ripped off like this. Something needs to be done to stop this.

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  • User Score

    0

    February 17th, 2017

    They automatically increased monthly rate they were charging my credit card from $10 per month to $25 per month. I didn't notice until a few months later, when I cancelled the card they were charging due to unrelated issue. When I was informed they were still trying to charge my card and the amount they were charging, I attempted to cancel. However, they provided a faulty number to my credit card company, as there was no answer and the call went straight to dial tone. I tried to contact them on their website, but could not find contact information. Before I could revisit the issue, they charged a different credit card of mine, without my authorization! I never gave them this credit card number. When I finally was able to contact them, they were unapologetic and refused to provide a refund for all of their fraudulent charges.

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  • User Score

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    October 7th, 2015 Cranberry Twp, PA

    My credit card was potentially compromised at the Costco photo site. They recommended placing a security freeze and listed the 3 big agencies. I ended up using a different agency for the credit freeze because Experian charges $10 while the others are free. I did opt to check my credit score for $1. At the time, it was not clear that it was a 7 day trial. Nowhere in the email does it state this. While checking my credit card charges I noticed a charge for 22.95. I called to cancel, which they did, but they would not reimburse the charge. I guess the jokes on me. I went to the site to protect myself and in the process was taken advantage of. This company should be ashamed of their business practices!

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  • User Score

    0

    May 29th, 2014 La Quinta, CA

    They get a ZERO. IT IS A HUGE SCAM. EXPERIAN OFFERS A CREDIT REORT FOR $1 AND THEN GIVE THE INFO TO "SCORESENCE.COM, WHO IMMIDITALY START CHARGING YOU MONTHLY. THEY CHARGED ME $29.95 FOR 17 MONTHS. OVER $550+ I AM TRYING TO GET IT BACK. THERE SHOULD BE A CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST THEM. IT'S CRIMMINAL!!!!!

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  • User Score

    10

    August 28th, 2013 Pleasant Grove, UT

    We signed up for the credit monitoring. So far we've been happy with it - we haven't had any alerts yet (they are supposed to notify you immediately), but every month we get an e-mail update stating that nothing has been found during their monitoring, which I appreciate for peace of mind. We have been using it for probably 4-5 months now. I haven't had too many customer service interactions, but one I did have was very positive. There was an error on my credit report, and the gentleman with whom I spoke was very helpful and made sure it was taken care of. Based on that interaction, I would give them a 10.

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