Identity Guard and IDShield are two services that aren’t too different on the surface, which makes them perfect for comparisons. They share pretty much the same philosophy of what an identity theft protection service should be: all business, with a complete focus on pure performance.
The devil is in the details though, and the more important parts of the comparison are going to come from the drastic ways these services differ from each other rather than their striking similarities.
How Does Our Rating System Work?
We try to keep things simple with our ratings, and provide an easy to understand scale. As a result, each of our criteria is graded on a scale of Poor to Excellent, without dipping into numbered ratings systems which can feel a bit arbitrary.
Our criteria are as follows:
Value: the cost of the service comparative to how many useful features it provides.
Ease of Use: how streamlined the process of using the service is.
Monitoring: how well the monitoring tools work; this is divided into the subcategories of speed, accuracy, and breadth.
Customer Service: the competence and reliability of the customer service team, as well as their hours of availability.
Insurance: how comprehensive the insurance plan is, if there is one.
Quick Score Guide
|Ease of Use||Excellent||Good|
How Easy is Each One to Use?
Both are pretty good in this regard in the grand scheme of things.
Both sites are functional at a baseline. The sites load quickly, and provide a lot of the relevant information in one place once you get logged in.
Identity Guard wins on two factors here: their website overall, and the account page and dashboard layout.
Compared to IDShield, Identity Guard has a much better homepage. A lot more relevant information is available just by scrolling a bit, whereas on IDSheld’s site, you have to search around for a lot of things.
This carries over to their dashboards.
Identity Guard has a much cleaner profile, and a lot more information is available without scrolling or changing tabs.
This page shows a lot of the most useful tools you have available (like the credit freeze functionality) and allows quick access to them. It also gives you an at-a-glance overview of your current pending alerts, as well as your credit reports, if you’ve chosen to access them.
IDShield, on the other hand, is a little more scattered.
Much of the same information is presented, but it’s a little harder to parse. The buttons on the dashboard also only link to the various types of monitoring, rather than allowing for quick access to resolution tools and other options.
On the flipside, IDShield does offer one leg up: categorized alerts. In my opinion, this is due to the overall less efficient layout, but it does give you a great, quick way to see not only how many alerts you have but what KINDS of alerts they are without leaving the dashboard. You do still have to navigate to each page individually to view monitoring as well, instead of it being available on one easy-to-access alerts page like Identity Guard has.
Ultimately IDShield is far from the worst website I’ve seen, but there’s room for improvement.
What About the Monitoring Tools?
This is where both services shine. In terms of speed and accuracy, these two services are evenly matched: titans of the identity theft protection industry. Both stand head and shoulders above the average service.
Each showed the exact alerts I’d expect to find with the information they were provided, for the most part. There were a few minor alerts that one service found over the other, but this was true for each so it’s not a true edge in either’s favor.
This is especially astounding given IDShield’s price, which we’ll discuss below. You expect this kind of monitoring from a big name, relatively expensive service like Identity Guard, but for a budget option, IDShield is superlative.
However, when you look a little deeper it soon becomes clear what IDShield had to sacrifice for this level of raw performance: breadth.
Their monitoring services are pretty comprehensive for the price , but it falls behind Identity Guard in a few key areas.
This is primarily in the realm of two of the “premium” features the larger services offer: home title monitoring, alongside 401(k) and investment monitoring.
These two monitoring tools are among the most important you can possibly get for a lot of people. Even more so than data breach and dark web monitoring, and in some cases even more than other bread and butter monitoring tools like high risk transaction monitoring and bank account monitoring.
If you’re a homeowner, you NEED home title monitoring to be factored into your calculations, it’s as simple as that. Likewise, the 401(k) and investment monitoring is vital for anyone with an eye toward securing their retirement nest egg.
Identity Guard takes this category too, but not for lack of effort on IDShield’s part.
What Do They Do if Your Identity Does Get Stolen?
Generally speaking, these services handle things pretty much the same way.
The customer support resources each provides are the core of their resolution strategy. In terms of competence, both offer at least basic competence, judging from my interactions with both. They answer questions quickly and concisely, and are very friendly and eager to help however they can.
I’ll give an edge to Identity Guard though, in terms of potential experience. Identity Guard customer service representatives tend to stick around the company for quite a while, with the average employee being around for seven years.
This means your chances of getting on the line with a more experienced representative is much higher when you call in to Identity Guard, and of course they have an easier time transferring you to one if a less experienced representative is unable to easily answer your questions. This means you are more likely to be on the line a much shorter time with Identity Guard, as you’ll have less need to be placed on hold, and especially placed on hold for a significant period of time, than with many other services.
Both do offer dedicated wallet restoration services as well, which are really a specific branch of customer support that helps you if your wallet is lost or stolen. They will help you cancel and reorder anything that was in the wallet quickly and easily, like credit or debit cards, and driver’s licenses, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Other than those effective restoration tools, IDShield offers another interesting option. Alongside their customer support and resolution specialists, they offer unlimited access to their in-house private investigators, which can help solve your problems a bit quicker.
However, Identity Guard’s greater availability is one of the things that gives it an edge here. IDShield is only open between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM (Eastern time), though they do offer an “emergency after hours” line. I’ve made use of this line and it is sadly not something you should expect to rely on for most complex tasks. Their more experienced representatives work the normal business hours, leaving only a skeleton crew behind for emergency support.
Identity Guard, meanwhile, does offer only discrete hours (there is no after hours support), but they’re open a LOT later: from 9 AM to 11 PM EST on weekdays, and 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays (they’re closed Sundays). This makes them easier to access in an emergency, especially on weekdays.
And, of course, like all good identity theft protection services they both offer one last safety net: insurance.
What is Their Insurance Like?
Both options offer a full $1 million in coverage for each of their plans.
Identity Guard is, however, a lot more up front about what this entails, where IDShield obfuscates their info a lot.
In any case, Identity Guard also offers overall better coverage. They offer $1 million in lost funds reimbursement, alongside a $1 million expense reimbursement plan that covers things like lost wages and lawyers’ fees.
IDShield offers a “$1 million identity theft protection coverage” instead.
Both are good, but Identity Guard is going to be significantly better for the average user, as they won’t be drawing from the same pool for both types of coverage.
And the Value?
Both offer similar value for different reasons.
Identity Guard has three different service plan tiers, with a scaling cost for a similarly scaling amount of value. They also offer family plans with discounts for essentially “buying in bulk” on identity theft protection for you, a spouse, and up to 10 kids living under the same roof. All prices listed below are using the perpetual discount available with our link.
|Individual Annual||$6.67/month |
|Family Annual||$10.00/month |
IDShield by contrast only offers two types of plan, and a family plan variant of each. This is also a bit deceptive as we’ll talk about in a moment.
|IDShield||1 Bureau Credit Monitoring||3 Bureau Credit Monitoring|
The main difference between these two is that Identity Guard’s three types of plan (Value, Total, and Ultra) are truly different. The different plans offer different amounts of monitoring tools, with Value offering the least and Ultra offering the most. All of these plans offer their full $1 million insurance plan, but that’s pretty much it in terms of similarities, as Value and even Total offer only a fraction of the things that make Identity Guard a great service.
By contrast, IDShield offers basically only one service tier.
You see, their 1 bureau credit monitoring and 3 bureau credit monitoring options are just that. That is the only difference between the plans: how good their credit monitoring is and how many bureaus it pulls the scores from.
In my opinion, this is an almost irrelevant metric. While it is nice and convenient to have your credit scores and reports available from your identity theft monitoring service, it is far from a necessity. These reports are available for free from various sites out there, including Credit Karma.
Given that IDShield’s actual monitoring and resolution tools are exactly the same with only 1 bureau monitoring, it’s pretty much a no brainer: you can save a lot of money per year by just going with their lower tier plan.
With that in mind, IDShield is one of the most cost-effective identity theft protection services on the market, offering a ton of monitoring options for a very low price. It comes in at a little cheaper than Identity Guard’s Total plan, and offers a whole lot more for the price.
IDShield is therefore a much better value at the middle and lower tier of service.
Where Identity Guard makes up the difference though? Its family plans. IDShield’s family plans are a pretty raw deal, costing essentially double the cost of the individual plans, meaning you save almost no money over just buying two separate plans. The value is a bit better if you have a couple of kids, but nowhere near what Identity Guard offers.
For slightly less than the price of IDShield’s family plan with 1 bureau credit monitoring (their cheapest plan, in other words), you can get Identity Guard’s best plan (Ultra), along with its better monitoring breadth and the included 3 bureau credit monitoring.
As a result, IDShield flatly loses when it comes to family plans, but does have some merit with regard to the value of its individual plans.
Both services are excellent, but in the end Identity Guard comes out on top through sheer weight of being a larger company with better discounts and overall value deals, combined with its top of the line coverage.
However, that doesn’t mean you should discard IDShield out of hand. It’s a great value for someone looking to cover just themselves, and if you’re not a homeowner, and aren’t currently investing too much for retirement, it’s tempting to save a lot of money on similarly great coverage.
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