Three Bureau Reports
With their top-level UltraSecure+Credit plan, IdentityForce pulls credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus, allowing customers a thorough look at everything going on with their credit at each agency. Each report is accompanied by a TransRisk credit score for educational purposes. The reports are updated quarterly, with a new TransRisk score provided each month.
Credit Score Simulator
IdentityForce also includes a credit score simulator, which is a great feature for any credit monitoring and reporting service, as it lets users evaluate the impact of different financial decisions on their TransRisk score, for instance, taking out a new car loan, or paying off a credit card. Interactive features such as this allow clients to “test” different decisions before committing to them in the real world, and we applaud IdentityForce for including this feature in their service.
Although we don’t consider it to be strictly necessary in a credit report monitoring service, IdentityForce does provide users with a fairly comprehensive suite of tools for protecting their identity that may be of value to at-risk customers looking to protect themselves from fraud in addition to tracking their credit reports and overall credit health.
Lack of Transparency, Inconsistent Pricing
Some fairly important information is hidden from the customer prior to signing up. Namely, the nature of the “credit score” provided and the true cost of the service.
The first transparency issue we encountered was inconsistent pricing. When our review team first visited the signup page, they were presented with two plans: one for $23.95/mnth and one for $17.95/mnth. When they returned later, they were presented with lower pricing, $19.95/mnth and $12.95/mnth. When they re-opened the same page in “incognito mode”, they saw the original, higher pricing.
It is clear that the marketing team at IdentityGuard is testing different price points for their product, which isn’t necessarily illegal or unethical, but it left a bad taste in our mouth all the same.
How would members who signed up for the UltraSecure plan at $17.95/mnth feel if they knew they were being milked for an extra $5 per month for no other reason than signing up too early? It feels like a game, and our review team does not like games; they undermine consumer trust in the company.
Secretive Score Model
Most telling for our review team was the failure to disclose, prior to signup, which credit scoring algorithm IdentityGuard uses. After some digging, we found it was the TransRisk model. The decision to deliberately hide this vital piece of information will no doubt mislead some users into believing that they’re getting industry-standard credit scores when they are not.
Non-FICO scores are common in this space, but most reputable companies make an effort to disclose this to customers before they sign up.
IdentityGuard’s decision to not disclose their credit scoring methodology or lowest price up-front is troubling and further undermines trust in the company, begging the question. What else are they not telling us?
TransRisk Scores are Not FICO Scores
Unfortunately, IdentityForce does not provide its users with true FICO® scores, instead providing the cheaper and relatively unused TransRisk score. This means that the credit scores provided by IdentityForce will most likely differ from the scores most lenders use in evaluating creditworthiness. Reliance on TransRisk scores may result in a IdentityForce customer believing themselves to be more or less creditworthy than they actually are.
Reports Refresh Quarterly – Not Often Enough
Although IdentityForce does provide its clients with credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus, they only update these reports every quarter. With many companies in this industry offering monthly or even weekly reports, this makes IdentityForce a less competitive option for those seeking the most comprehensive and up-to-date look at their entire credit profile.
Although they do feature “daily 3-Bureau credit monitoring” which means they alert you to important changes to any of your credit reports… so does nearly every other company in this industry, many of which also provide you with more frequent credit reports and/or true FICO® scores.
They do get some points for at least providing you with updated TransRisk scores each month, but as mentioned before, these scores aren’t guaranteed to be particularly useful or accurate.
No Mobile App
The absence of a mobile app is a notable point for a company that has been in business as long as IdentityForce. Our review team considers on-the-go access to credit monitoring to be less of a “nice to have” amenity and more of an “essential in this day-and-age” core product feature for this industry.
No Refunds, Billing Changes Requires Phone Call to Non-24hr Number
IdentityForce does not offer partial refunds and requires members to call into its member services department to either cancel their service or change their billing method. Although this is an annoyance, it becomes problematic when they aren’t open past 5:30pm eastern time on weekdays and are closed on weekends. In other words, if you have a 9-5 job on the west coast, you’ll need to take time out of your workday to get billing and customer support issues resolved. Although the industry may require call-to-cancel, the hours aren’t customer friendly. At all.
IdentityForce offers two subscription levels for their members. While many companies offer identity theft protection as an add-on or upgrade, IdentityForce primarily offers this service and credit monitoring and alerts are secondary.
- UltraSecure ($17.95/month or 179.95/year)
- UltraSecure + Credit ($23.95/month or $239.50/year)
IdentityForce offers a 14-day free trial for the UltraSecure package, but not for the UltraSecure+Credit package.
Scores & Reports Provided
IdentityForce offers all three credit reports and TransRisk scores as well as a monthly TransRisk score tracker for all of their UltraSecure + Credit subscribers. The standard UltraSecure plan does not include credit monitoring, credit reports or scores.
IdentityForce does not offer their subscribers assistance in disputing errors on their credit reports.
In order to receive credit monitoring, one must sign up for the UltraSecure + Credit. Under this plan, IdentityForce performs daily 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring. The primary focus for IdentityForce is not monitoring credit reports, but in identity monitoring and protection, which is covered by both subscription levels.
Credit Score and Report Refreshes
IdentityForce provides quarterly reports from all three credit reports, along with accompanying TransRisk scores. Additionally, they provide a monthly update to the TransRisk scores provided.
There is no information about the security of IdentityForce’s website online and when speaking to customer service representatives, our reviewer was informed that the “site is secure at the highest level,” but the representative could not give specifics about the measures taken to ensure that the site remains safe from hackers, etc., potentially putting financial and identity information at risk.
Identity Theft Protection
IdentityForce is more focused on identity protection than credit monitoring, in that the base package offers comprehensive identity protection including several features. Included are consultations by identity restoration specialists with years of experience helping individuals and companies whose identity has been compromised. These consultants are available 24/7.
Identity theft insurance is also available for all subscribers of either plan. The limits of the insurance coverage are: $1,000,000 maximum payout, $1,000/week in lost wages (5 week maximum) and there is not a deductible for any policy.
Alerts are sent via text message or to a computer or tablet within minutes of potentially fraudulent information being detected by IdentityForce.
Time in Business
IdentityForce was founded in 1978 and has been in continuous operation since that time with their headquarters in Massachusetts.
40 Speen Street
Framingham, MA 01701
Phone: (508) 788-9400
Member Services: (877) 694-3367