As one of the leading identity theft protection companies in the United States, LifeLock includes credit monitoring as part of its Ultimate Plus membership program. This review is geared specifically towards examining how robust and effective its credit report monitoring features are for those seeking to track, improve, and build their credit and credit score over time.
- Triple-bureau reporting
- Customer service
- Information security
- Identity theft protection
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, the company provides customers with an updated TransRisk score each month based off of activity in the customer’s Experian credit report, as well as alerts customers of “key changes” on the other credit reports.
LifeLock pulls credit reports from all three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The company provides a TransRisk credit score for each of these reports and ongoing updates to the Experian credit report.
LifeLock offers 24/7 phone support from call centers within the United States, making it easier to reach someone when you need to.
LifeLock takes 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.
- Non-standard credit scores
- Poor refresh rate
- Reliance on free credit reports
- Cancellation policy
Non-Standard Credit Scores
LifeLock does not provide customers with a “true” FICO score, which is the credit score utilized by over 90 percent of major lenders. Instead, the company gives you a VantageScore, 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 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, the company’s advertised monthly credit refreshes are only for one of those three credit reports, Experian, and do not include the report itself, only a VantageScore 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.
When you take into account the above factors, providing the customer with three reports a year and no true FICO scores, $29.99 per month 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 FICO score provided.
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 that we don’t like to see. 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/.