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.
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.
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.