Last Updated on June 2, 2023
Putting Aura and Costco Complete ID head-to-head was interesting. Ultimately, after several weeks of testing, Aura won.
I expected that. Given Aura’s award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring alongside its exhaustive list of services and features, it’s hard for any other identity protection company to compare.
What I didn’t expect was how close the competition came. Costco Complete ID put up a fight with highly accurate monitoring and an excellent customer service team.
I concluded that while both services are above average, Aura’s is better because it’s more comprehensive.
- You want protective features like antivirus software and a VPN not just monitoring.
- You want to make sure that all of your family members have enough coverage.
- You value 24/7, high quality customer service.
- Family for you includes your adult children.
- You want a great product at a reasonable price.
With Aura, you get total peace of mind. It will protect you, your spouse, and up to three other adults (like your parents or adult children) from identity theft. And it will protect your kids and teens from cyber predators with its uniquely adept parental control features.
So, regarding family protection, Aura is the better choice. But I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Read on for a thorough analysis of both these services, and you can be the judge.
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Costco Complete ID vs. Aura: Head-to-Head Comparison
Award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring that’s comprehensive and accurate.
Accurate but less comprehensive than Aura.
24/7/365 U.S.-based customer service with an average of seven years of industry experience.
24/7/365 U.S-based customer service; direct line to a designated specialist if you’re an identity theft victim.
Flexible family plans to allow up to five adults and unlimited children with comprehensive parental controls and safe gaming features.
Family plans for one or two adults and up to five children. No parental controls are available.
$1 million in theft insurance coverage per adult with ALL plans.
$1 million in theft insurance coverage in total.
Ease of Use
A little cluttered but easy to use.
Its annoying layout is challenging to navigate.
Online Safety Features
An exhaustive list of safety features includes a VPN, password manager, antivirus software, and more.
Includes password manager, safe browser, and VPN.
Very affordable (mainly when you use our discount code)
Justifiable price if you’re already a Costco Executive member.
Monitoring: Winner – Aura
How well an identity protection service can monitor your identity determines, in large part, how effective it will ultimately be. If a service excels at finding and alerting you to vulnerabilities, you’re less likely to become an identity theft victim.
To do this, the best identity protection services monitor many areas with incredible accuracy.
Aura’s monitoring capabilities are excellent (they’ve even won an award for it.) As you’re about to see, they’re comprehensive and highly accurate.
Costco Complete ID is much better than some of the other services I’ve tested, but it must include a few key areas most people need.
With their family plans, Costco Complete ID and Aura monitor:
Aura offers home and auto title monitoring. If you own your car or home, it’s an essential service. Without it, two of your most significant assets are vulnerable to title theft. If you don’t own your home or car, title theft monitoring is less critical, and Costco Complete ID may seem like a good choice.
If you have small children and worry about sex offenders in your neighborhood, Costco Complete ID looks even better. Its sex offender registry monitoring service, which it calls “Neighborhood Watch,” is uniquely good.
While most services, including Aura’s, only provide the name of a sex offender living within a certain radius, Costco Complete ID goes above and beyond. It gives the offender’s name, physical description, and in many cases, a summary of their offenses.
Where Costco Complete ID struggles a tiny bit is with accuracy.
When I tested these services, Aura found nine unique dark web alerts, and Costco found the same. That’s impressive! Only some other services have matched Aura for dark web monitoring.
However, Aura also found 15 password alerts. Costco only found 11. That tells me that while Costco Complete ID is more accurate than most, it still needs to be on par with Aura.
Credit and Financial
Regarding credit monitoring tools, Costco Complete ID and Aura are even. They offer three-bureau credit monitoring, annual reports, and a monthly VantageScore. They also both include an in-portal Experian credit lock.
Notably, Aura also includes guided credit freezes for your child’s credit. But otherwise, Costco Complete ID and Aura are the same.
However, only Aura offers the following financial monitoring extras:
- 401(K) and investment account monitoring
- Financial transaction monitoring
- Bank fraud monitoring
These are essential services that anyone with retirement savings and regular bank accounts will want to have.
401(k) monitoring helps ensure your nest egg is safe from theft. Financial transaction monitoring allows you to review all your financial transactions in one place. So you can see your checking account, saving account, and credit card transactions on one page.
Finally, bank fraud monitoring helps you ensure that no one is opening fraudulent accounts in your name – including bank employees.
Because of these valuable services, Aura comes out ahead here. Anyone with any money in the bank can feel safe with the breadth of Aura’s financial monitoring tools.
Threat Resolution: Winner – Tie
Aura offers some of the industry’s best customer service and identity restoration. So I was impressed when I realized my testing didn’t reveal Costco Complete ID to be the lesser in any way here.
Both services offer excellent threat resolution. Given that no amount of monitoring can completely stop a criminal from using your identity, that’s a very good thing.
Costco Complete ID and Aura both offer 24/7/365 customer service lines. And when I tested them, I found that both customer service teams were knowledgeable and friendly.
I called both on a Tuesday afternoon and found them surprisingly similar. I reached a representative in under a minute each time and found they had no problems answering my questions.
I would have no issue calling either of them if I needed help with a service issue or wanted their advice on remedying an alert.
Identity Restoration Services
Both services are also quite good at identity restoration.
Aura boasts a restoration team with an average of seven years of industry experience. And while Costco Complete ID can’t quite say that, their designated identity specialists are well-trained.
If you or your family member were to fall victim to an identity crime, both services will file paperwork and arrange or even make calls on your behalf. They’ll also work with you to create a remediation plan that restores your identity to pre-theft status.
Costco stands out here by providing a direct line to a designated specialist that you can use within set hours. This specialist works with you through the entire process, and it’s nice that you can call them directly rather than deal with machine prompts each time you need something.
Lost Wallet Protection
Suppose you lost your wallet while a Costco Complete ID or Aura member, their respective service teams will work with you to cancel and replace your wallet’s contents. They’ll also help you create a plan to catch an identity thief quickly. This may include watching your credit more closely or reviewing your records for other signs of fraudulent activity.
This is a standard feature amongst identity theft services, and neither Costco Complete ID nor Aura stands out here. They don’t offer to wire emergency funds or provide cash reimbursement if money from your wallet is stolen. But, it’s nice to have help canceling and replacing everything – and I’d trust either service to do it competently.
Family Plans: Winner – Aura
Aura is the better choice for families with children, regardless of age. It doesn’t matter if you have young children, teens, college-aged kids, or full-grown adult daughters and sons. If you want to protect them, you want Aura.
While Costco Complete ID offers family plans that are slightly more flexible than most other services, they fail to provide a full range of options to protect families across age ranges.
Here’s what I mean.
Costco Complete ID offers a variety of family plans. You could opt for a couple’s plan to protect you and your spouse. Single parents can protect themselves and up to five children. Or you can choose a plan for two adults plus five kids.
If kids are included in your plan, you’ll receive child Social Security number monitoring, and that’s about it.
That means you can’t include any adult children (grandparents, in-laws, or anyone else you might want to protect). And there are no additional features to help protect young children. You can’t freeze their credit through Costco Complete ID or set parental controls.
Aura is much more flexible.
First, Aura lets you include up to five adults in a family plan. So, you can consist of your college-aged kids, aging parents, or anyone else you want to protect.
Second, Aura allows unlimited children under 18 and provides a full suite of tools to protect them. On top of Social Security number monitoring, Aura will enable parents to freeze their child’s credit quickly. And, as you’re about to see, Aura provides a comprehensive set of parental controls to protect kids online.
Parental Control Features
While Costco Complete ID excludes parental control features, Aura offers the best available.
Aura partnered with Circle to give parents complete control of their child’s online doings. This includes the ability to filter, block, and monitor website use.
It even includes a tool that lets you “pause the Internet.” If you’ve ever had to rip a tablet or smartphone from a small set of hands, you know how valuable that tool is. No more fighting over the device – with a simple master switch, you can turn everything off for as long as you need. Then, switch it right back on from your phone or computer.
Anti-bullying monitoring and Safe Gaming
Aura also leads the industry in anti-bullying and safe gaming. They partnered with a company called Kidas, which makes an award-winning ProtectMe app. This application monitors over 200 popular games.
Using machine learning and AI technology, ProtectMe analyzes the voice and text interactions within the game, watching for signs of grooming, harassment, racism, and cyberbullying. If it picks anything up, parents receive an alert, allowing them to step in and talk to their children before a situation gets worse.
Theft Insurance: Winner – Aura
Here, again, Aura comes out ahead.
Costco Complete ID offers the industry standard $1 million in theft insurance coverage, including lost wages, legal fees, child and elderly care, and expense reimbursement. This coverage doesn’t change if you add additional adults to the plan. So, a family plan with two adults still gets $1 million in coverage.
Aura, though, offers $1 million in theft insurance coverage per adult. Because you can have up to five adults on a plan, that’s up to $5 million in coverage!
Ease of Use: Winner – Aura
To be perfectly transparent, I have issues with Aura’s and Costco Complete ID’s user interfaces.
Aura’s is alright, but I wish it were better, given how much I love the rest of their services. Their dashboard is cluttered and fails to highlight the most important things – namely, the alerts, which are hidden.
You can’t see them in this screenshot but are in the upper right-hand corner. Ideally, they’d be front and center on the dashboard, given that I’d want to address alerts first and foremost. Otherwise, though, Aura’s interface is easy to use.
Costco Complete ID, on the other hand, could be more intuitive. It features much white space alongside the relatively small text, so you must scroll and scroll to get where you need to go.
I’d like Costco Complete ID much more if it grouped things better rather than providing what feels like an infinite list of alert and monitoring categories.
Costco Complete ID is also challenging to navigate. It took me a long time to figure out how to get back to the main alerts dashboard after I went exploring. Hint – clicking Home doesn’t take you there. You have to use the notification bell in the top right corner.
It might not be so bad once you’re familiar with the layout. But I want to learn to use something other than an identity protection service – I want it to be intuitive, and Costco Complete ID fails.
Online Privacy Features: Winner – Aura
Both Aura and Costco Complete ID offer a range of online privacy features that come with their services. If you want to protect your family online, these services are essential, and while Costco Complete ID’s are alright, they can’t stand up to the breadth of options Aura provides.
Aura includes all of the following privacy features with their family plans:
That’s a HUGE list of additional features, and all of them are incredibly useful.
Take the email alias service. With it, Aura will help you generate aliases hiding your email when you need to sign up for things online. Limiting the number of companies with your email limits the number of data breaches you’re exposed to.
The family vault is also a top notch-feature. You can store digital files and passwords securely, giving the family access to what they need without risk.
Costco Complete ID’s list of privacy features could be more comprehensive. They include the following with their service:
Those things are important, yes, but Aura wins this category. They simply offer more!
Cost: Winner – Aura
Here’s where things get tricky.
If you pull up Costco Complete ID’s website, the pricing looks very attractive. And it is – if you’re already a Costco executive member. If you’re not a Costco member, or if you only have a regular membership, the cost of adding Complete ID needs to make more sense.
Aura’s pricing might look steep if you go directly to their site – though, given the number of things it includes, their pricing is justified. BUT, you don’t have to pay the price that’s listed for the general public. As a Family Security Matters reader, you have access to our discount code.
With that code in place, suddenly, Aura’s pricing is exceptionally affordable, especially given the value it brings.
And The Winner Is…Aura
So, there you have it. Though Costco Complete ID is far from a bad service, it can’t compare to Aura.
Aura offers more comprehensive monitoring, better family plans, more protective features, and more online privacy services. With Aura, you can protect your spouse, your parents, your in-laws, and your children – regardless of their age. This makes it the best option for families.
Costco Complete ID might be worth looking into if you already have an Executive Costco membership and only want to protect yourself and your spouse. It doesn’t offer comprehensive tools to protect children online, even with their family plans. And it doesn’t allow you to include additional adults (like college-aged kids) in their coverage.
Ultimately, Aura wins, and with our discount code, you can get all its features and services at a remarkably low rate. So, if you want to protect your family, sign up for Aura today.
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