3-Bureau Credit Reports
In addition to monitoring for, and alerting members of, key changes to their credit reports, as a part of its IDEssentials plan, TrustedID provides its members with 3 credit reports; one from each of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
We like to see this, as it enables customers to get a solid, comprehensive one-time snapshot of their credit health. These reports are accompanied by three Equifax credit scores which are calculated based off of the information in each of the provided reports.
Live Chat Support
TrustedID offers live chat support from its website for both prospective and current members – we wanted to spotlight this because too few companies in this industry offer chat support. In our opinion, the more ways to contact customer service, the better, especially when a company is willing to provide this level of support before one signs up. The response time was acceptable and we were able to get answers to our questions in a timely manner.
As one can gather from its name, TrustedID is primarily an ID theft protection company. As such, it does offer a fairly robust suite of ID protection and monitoring tools, including Facebook Privacy Monitoring, Credit Monitoring, Black Market Monitoring, a proprietary ID Theft Score which measures one’s risk of having their ID stolen, lost wallet protection, live ID protection specialists and the like. Although we are most concerned with how well a company helps its users understand and improve their credit over time, ID protection features are always a welcome addition.
Misleading and/or Hidden Information
TrustedID’s website has a few transparency issues. We weren’t able to easily find, for instance, how often the provided credit reports are actually refreshed on the IDEssentials service until after we reached out to their customer service department.
Additionally, at the time of writing, one of the statements on their “Fact Sheet” is completely misleading, specifically when they claim “Get online access to your credit scores from the three major credit bureaus. See the scores that lenders see when deciding to give you a loan or line of credit.” This is not true. To put it bluntly, nobody uses the Equifax score.
This isn’t an innocent mistake, either; deep in the fine print, users can find the following tidy disclaimer:
When a company hides or misleads users on very obvious and verifiable information, it substantially undermines our trust in them. We find ourselves asking, “Okay… so if they can’t even be honest about some of the most fundamental parts of their service… what else are they hiding?”
Horrible Report Refresh Rate – Poor Value for Customers
After doing some digging with a customer service representative, we discovered that TrustedID only updates the three provided Credit Reports once every year. Although they offer ongoing monitoring and promise to alert clients to key changes to their credit reports, so do many other companies that also provide more frequent access to full credit reports.
To see what a raw deal this is, do the math of how much you pay over the course of the year for each credit report provided. $14.99 per month x 12 months = $179.88 / 3 reports = a cost of roughly $60 dollars per credit report per year. This is not a good value for credit reports.
No FICO Score
One of the most common complaints about TrustedID is that they don’t actually provide their users with a very useful credit score, since few, if any, lenders use the Equifax Credit Score model. At the time of writing, TrustedID doesn’t have a way for customers to obtain a FICO score through their service. As a result, many customers have reported that lenders see very different scores from what their TrustedID account displays.
Lack of Updates, Apps, and Changes since Being Acquired
Everything from the dated web design, nonexistent advertising, lack of mobile applications, all the way to the company blog which hasn’t been updated since the company was acquired in 2013 by Equifax suggests that TrustedID is on life support with an uncertain future.
This is a major red flag, as it suggests that Equifax bought the company in order to gut its technology and business relationships and has essentially left it with a skeleton crew of employees to support their existing clientele. This lack of ongoing support indicates to us that Equifax will probably shut down TrustedID sometime in the future.
Equifax Ownership means Equifax Lawsuits and Privacy Problems
Between the major lawsuits they lost or settled in 2013 and 2015 and the serious problems they’ve had with protecting customer data from hackers in March 2013 and April 2015, Equifax is a company plagued by a laundry list of problems that apply equally to any website or company owned by them, such as TrustedID. We caution potential customers to do their research on Equifax before trusting them with payment information. For more information on Equifax’s corporate troubles, check out this part of our Equifax review.
TrustedID only has its IDEssentials product, but it includes several features. Members can either choose from the individual monthly plan for $14.99/month or the family monthly plan for $27.99 where family members (up to 4 and living at the same address) receive the same benefits as the subscriber.
TrustedID offers a free 14-day trial during which new customers can have access to all features which are available on a paid subscription. A valid credit card is required to sign up for a membership and is charged a small verification fee of $1 upon signing up for a trial. If a customer does not cancel their membership during the trial period, the card is automatically charged for the next month of membership at the end of the trial.
Scores & Reports Provided
The score which is provided by TrustedID is the “Equifax 3-Bureau Credit Score model and are the same scores used by third parties to assess creditworthiness.” It is important to note that scores are for “educational” use only and are not the same ones which are used by lenders.
The following text is taken directly from TrustedId’s contract (emphasis added):
CREDIT SCORES. Unless otherwise indicated, all credit scores furnished with Our Products are Equifax Credit Scores. By this, We mean that all credit scores are prepared by Equifax and make use of the Equifax Risk Score, which is a proprietary credit score model developed by Equifax. Although the Equifax Risk Score is sometimes used by lenders, it is unlikely that Your particular lender with will use the Equifax Risk Score. When prepared and delivered to You as part of any Product, The Equifax Credit Score is provided solely to help You understand how lenders may evaluate Your overall credit risk. Therefore, nothing in any of Our Products is an endorsement or a determination of a person’s qualification for a loan, or any other extension of credit. Each lender has specific underwriting standards, so You should not assume that You will receive the same evaluation, credit terms or conditions. Equifax does not represent that the Equifax Credit Score is identical or similar to any other credit score or score model. Moreover, any estimated score changes predicted by Our Products are only estimates and are provided for educational purposes solely to enable You to determine how future financial decisions (e.g., obtaining a new car loan or mortgage) might impact your credit score. In all instances, the information We use to calculate Your Equifax Credit Score is derived from one or more credit reports produced by EIS or one of the other national credit reporting bureaus. The consumer credit information contained in these credit reports reflects the latest information provided to the pertinent credit reporting agency. Recent activity may not yet be reflected in Your credit report. If not, this activity will not be reflected in Your Equifax Credit Score. In addition, Your Equifax Credit Score may change every time new information is added to or removed from a credit report as well as with the passage of time.
If customers find errors in their credit reports, TrustedID does not assist in any way to get them corrected either via a web portal to dispute errors or by even providing the information (process, addresses, etc.) needed by customers to report errors on their credit report.
While TrustedID states that they provide daily monitoring, evidence from their customers suggests that this is not necessarily the case, or that the service seems to do best when customers are proactive and monitor monthly.
Credit Score and Report Refreshes
After speaking with a customer service representative, we discovered that the three bureau credit report is only refreshed once per year.
TrustedID operates a secure site which is verified by Truste as well as being VeriSign Secured. With the government actions against Equifax for selling their customer’s data, there are some concerns about customers’ information remaining safe from the inside.
Identity Theft Protection
Identity protection includes TrustedID monitoring public databases and black market internet sites for their customer’s SSN and credit card information. If information is found on these sites, TrustedID helps their customers place fraud alerts on their credit reports.
While TrustedID states that they provide full-credit monitoring, there is no mention of how credit alerts being sent to their customers. On other third-party sites, customers mention that they did not receive alerts about changes to their credit reports. Representatives from TrustedID stated that alerts can be set up to be delivered “any way that a customer wants,” before going for a close when asked by a member of our review team.
Time in Business
TrustedId has been in business since 2011 and was acquired by Equifax in 2013.
395 Page Mill Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94306-2066
Equifax, Inc. (Headquarters)
1550 Peachtree Street
Mail Drop 65
Atlanta, GA 30309