LifeLock attempts to pull all three credit reports from the major credit bureaus upon signup with its Ultimate Plus plan, presenting the information in an easy-to-read format for its customers. In addition to the credit reports, LifeLock provides a TransRisk score for each report with an explanation of the main factors contributing to the score.
Additionally, they provide customers with an updated TransRisk score each month based off of activity in the customer’s Experian credit report as well as alerting them to “key changes” on the other credit reports. They’re easy to reach by phone and maintain state-of-the-art security on the data they hold.
A quick breakdown of the positives:
3B Reporting – Lifelock pulls credit reports from all three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. They provide a TransRisk credit score for each of these reports and ongoing updates to the Experian credit report.
Customer Service Hours – LifeLock offers 24/7 phone support from call centers within the United States, making it easier to reach someone when you need to.
Information Security – They take customer privacy and data protection very seriously, with a call center that prohibits agents from having access to cell phones or other means of recording customer data.
Identity Theft Protection – For those concerned about identity theft, LifeLock brings a lot of protective features to the table, which can be viewed under the “Feature Details” tab. A more thorough review of LifeLock as a protection service can be found here.
While it may be a good identity theft protection company, the credit monitoring and reporting options provided by LifeLock are limited by not providing useful credit scores, very infrequent report refreshes, and reliance upon federally mandated free reports that anyone can pull on their own, for free. A breakdown of the bad:
Non-standard Credit Scores – LifeLock does not provide customers with a “true” FICO score, the credit score utilized by over 90% of major lenders. Instead they give you the much less common TransRisk score, which few, if any major lenders use. This means that the credit scores LifeLock provides you may be very different from the one your lenders see, and cannot be relied upon for determining or even approximating your actual credit standing with lenders.
Poor Credit Report Refresh Rate – On the Ultimate Plus plan, Lifelock will only provide customers with their full credit reports from all three bureaus once per year. A lot can happen in one year. Those who are committed to improving their credit would do well to monitor their full reports more often than that.
As many customers have noted, their advertised monthly credit refreshes are only for one of those three credit reports, Experian, and do not include the report itself, only a TransRisk credit score which, as mentioned before, isn’t all that useful in determining your actual credit standing with most lenders.
Reliance on Free Credit Reports – LifeLock obtains credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com – where, by federal law, anyone can pull their own credit reports for free once per year. This means that if you’ve recently pulled your own credit reports from that site, LifeLock will be unable to pull them for you into your account.
Price – When you take into account the above factors, providing the customer with three reports a year and no true FICO scores, $29.99/mnth represents one of the worst values of any credit monitoring company we’ve ever reviewed. That’s an effective cost of $120 per credit report per year, with no true score provided.
Lawsuits – At time of writing, LifeLock is embroiled in two separate lawsuits, one with the FTC for misleading consumers, and one with its former Chief Information Security officer who claims he was fired after objecting to the company cutting costs by reducing the number of alerts sent to their customers.
Both of these lawsuits are quite serious, and litigation of this nature is both costly and may be indicative of something unhealthy in the underlying business.
Cancellation Policy – Canceling with LifeLock requires a user to call in and speak with someone over the phone whose job is to persuade the customer not to cancel. This is a hassle we don’t like to see at TBC. Additionally, no partial refunds are offered for those who cancel mid-month, which is a customer-unfriendly policy. Both of these practices are commonly employed by businesses seeking to cover for a high cancellation rate following a misleading claim.
Identity Theft Protection
LifeLock offers extensive identity protection which includes:
- LifeLock Identity Alert® System
- Lost Wallet Protection
- Address Change Verification
- Reduced Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
- Black Market Website Surveillance
- Live Member Service 24/7/365
- $1 Million Total Service Guarantee
- Fictitious Identity Monitoring
- Court Records Scanning
- Data Breach Notifications
- Credit Card, Checking and Savings Account Activity Alerts
- Investment Account Activity Alerts
- Checking and Savings Account Application Alerts
- Bank Account Takeover Alerts
- Credit Inquiry Activity
- File-Sharing Network Searches
- Sex Offender Registry Reports
The features above are not necessarily included in all levels of membership. To see which features are exclusive to which plans, visit: http://www.lifelock.com/
LifeLock offers two packages that include credit monitoring services:
LifeLock Advantage ($19.99/month)
- Online Annual Credit Report: Access to annual credit reports from all three primary bureaus to help users understand the details of their creditworthiness
- Online Annual Credit Score: Access to annual TransRisk scores based on the contents of each annual credit report.
LifeLock Ultimate Plus ($29.99/month)
- All of the Credit Monitoring Features of the Advantage Package
- Credit Inquiry Alerts: Issues alerts for inquiries made against your credit file.
- Monthly Credit Score Tracking: Single-bureau credit score tracking (Experian) each month to help customers identify important changes. Credit Score provided is a TransRisk score which is not used by most lenders.