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Equifax Review – Credit Monitoring and Identity Protection From A Name You Can Trust

By David Bakke

Recently, I took a good hard look at the website Equifax, which is devoted to products regarding monitoring your credit and protecting your identity. The site has some built-in credibility to it as it is one of the three main credit reporting companies, along with TransUnion and Experian. This means a lot in my opinion, because the number of websites and companies out there in this field are numerous, and some are much more trustworthy than others.

What They Offer

The site offers four basic products to consumers, all with differing features and benefits. First, they have ID Patrol, which is a comprehensive product for identity protection. This costs $14.95 per month. Next, they have 3-in-1 Monitoring, where you can monitor your score from all three reporting agencies for $14.95 per month as well. Also, they offer Debt Wise, a program that purports to allow you to pay down debt faster. This costs $14.95 per month, but they currently have a special on this product where you only pay $4.95 for the first month. Finally, there is Score Watch, where you can monitor your credit score and your credit report (Equifax only).

They also offer the option of making a one-time purchase of various reports. These reports are pricier, ranging from $9.95 to $39.95, but it is a one-time fee rather than a monthly subscription-type service.

The Site Itself

As far as a breakdown of the site itself, there are a few other sections worth mentioning. They have a Business tab, which offers a great deal of consumer information solutions. They offer products including demographic information on consumers to information on businesses and/or potential suppliers, payroll services, and also industry-specific products and services.

There is also a Small Business tab that I found interesting as well. There, you can buy a credit report on any U.S. company in their database for $49.95. You can also monitor the credit of any company in their database, which has over 24 million records, for $19.95 per month. They also have a discount for ordering multiple reports.

At the bottom of their home page, they offer a variety of other services. There is a link where you can correct errors on your credit report or dispute something on your credit report. There are also links where you can request a fraud alert or a security freeze for your credit file. And finally, they have the standard FAQ section and also a personal finance blog. There, you can learn more about credit, taxes, insurance, retirement and real estate.

My Take

I found the Equifax site to be a good, solid website. It does have the additional built-in credibility of being one of the three major credit reporting agencies. However, I found the site to be a little more sales-based than I would have liked. Your credit report is available for free from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once per year, but you would never know that from visiting this site.

Equifax can be very useful for fraud alerts and security freezes. In some cases, your credit can be frozen and unfrozen for free; it depends on which state you live in. Their sections on businesses, both large and small, could be very useful. The consumer demographic information they provide and also the credit reports of any company in their database could be a great benefit to any new business.

Their personal finance blog was not that great. Maybe it is because I read so much on the subject or have recently visited sites with better blogs, but I found the information offered there to be limited.

Tread Lightly

I am always very leery of endorsing any kind of “paid” product when it comes to your credit or managing debt. The same holds true here. As previously stated, you can get your credit report for free one time per year from each of the three major agencies. If you set yourself up on a schedule, you can monitor your credit report on your own for free, once every four months. If you know how to read a credit report and what to do if you find an error, I would say this is the way to go. Also, if there are errors you are want to fix on your report, make sure to understand how to fix errors on your credit report for free

If I was unsure of how to read or track my credit report, however, I might recommend Equifax. I say this because of their built-in reputation. There are so many companies and websites that offer the same services and protection as does Equifax, but seem to be much more of the fly-by-night variety. Or the products they offer may not protect you at all. Also, Equifax offers places to go for disputes and freezes and so forth right there on their site.

What Everybody Else Is Saying

Whenever I review a product or a website, I always try to spend time finding out what other people are saying. And I did this with Equifax. I would have to categorize these reviews as mixed. Some had the same things to say that I did. They are a more trusted site, with more places to go when and if you find something wrong with your report. Others were not so nice. I read complaints about poor customer service, to people having difficulty canceling their subscriptions, to people saying that Equifax ruined their credit.

These negatives were not so prevalent as to steer me way from the site. If you are unsure of how to read your credit report or what to do if you find an error, then Equifax may have a product for you. Also, if you are starting out in a small business, or need some information on your competition or your suppliers, then Equifax also may have a product for you.

Has anyone out there had an experience with Equifax, good or bad? If so, please share your experiences below.

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://www.equifax.com/blog/en_ff Claire

    David,

    Thanks for taking the time to really check out the site and offer this review.

    I’m an editor for the Equifax Personal Finance Blog and we always appreciate feedback. It’s a new site — we just launched in May 2010 — our goal is to provide consumers the best information on credit, tax, insurance, real estate and retirement issues.

    You said the blog wasn’t “that great” and the information we posted was “limited.” Thank you for the feedback, we want to do better! I’d love to hear any suggestions for content you might have for us. What topic do you want to see us cover? We want our site to be an unlimited source for our readers.

    Hope to hear from you!
    Claire

  • David/MoneyCrashers

    Claire

    First, thank you for commenting–I appreciate your words.

    I think my opinion of the blog was what it was only because I recently had visited other sites that had more comprehensive ones. If you just launched in May, I think you’ve got a great deal of content.

    If you’re looking for feedback on more content ideas, I would suggest things like credit card calculator articles so people can see for themselves what credit card debt costs them, tutorials on subjects like credit card debt (the basics), understanding your credit card statement, and so on.

    Maybe some other articles on how to read your credit report, what does it mean, how to read your credit score, etc.

    Hope that helps, and thanks again for commenting

  • David/MoneyCrashers

    Let me qualify my previous remark.

    I saw and reviewed several of the articles contained in your blog that dealt with some of the things that I just mentioned. What I’ve seen in other places that I really liked were actual links to calculators so people could see the problems with CC debt with their own two eyes, and other links that were set up more as tutorials rather than blog posts.

    You obviously have a wealth of content for the short time you’ve been “up” and some very talented writers as well.

  • Ginger

    All I can say is beware. Be very careful if you are going to try the Free 30 day trial that you check every page an terms of agreement. I signed up for the ‘free trial’ through the exact same urls for both my husband and myself. I was charged immediately but he wasn’t. When I called they did offer to cancel and refund the money.
    My BIGGEST issue with their service is that the represent the fact that you can get all 3 credit scores from their site. The truth is that all the Credit Reporting Agency’s use their own credit rating scale and Equifax does not have access to the others models so they calulate your score based on their own. It is NOT your true score with the other agencies. Buyer beware.

    • Davidbakke

      Ginger

      Thanks for your insightful feedback. Our readers will appreciate it!

    • Anny Crisostomo

      Same here, they charge me right away. When i called they told me they can give me a free month ut they cant refund it.-

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