Tag: AARP

Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Review: AARP Identity Theft Protection

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

AARP Identity Theft Protection

AARP offers Identity Theft Protection through TrustedID. There are benefits and pricing exclusive to AARP members that make getting protection through AARP a better choice. To be clear, you must be an AARP member if you want to sign up for its identity theft protection service. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Overview of AARP’s Identity Theft Protection Service

The identity theft features provided by TrustedID through AARP include the monitoring of your credit, alerts from all three bureaus, and having your Social Security number, public records, and medical benefits monitored. TrustedID also has a “Lost Wallet” feature that allows you to store the information you keep in your wallet so you have access to it in case your wallet is stolen.

AARP members get special access to tax identity protection, change of address monitoring, and monthly credit score tracking. Other services include black market surveillance, fraud alert reminder service, and a $1 million identity theft insurance.

Medical benefits protection is a unique service offered by TrustedID. A representative can help you request your medical benefit statement so you can make sure no one else is taking advantage of your benefits to receive treatment.

You can also set up fraud alert with TrustedID so whenever a new account is opened in your name, lenders must verify that it’s you before approving the account. TrustedID will also remind you to renew this fraud alert with the bureaus every 90 days.

TrustedID can help remove your name from mailing lists so the amount of junk mail you receive is lessened. This can be a big concern for those 50 and older, and reduces the chance you might fall for a scam.

All of this is great, but what about identity restoration, arguably the biggest benefit offered by other identity theft protection services? It’s not mentioned on the website, so we asked a representative, and AARP had this to say: “In the unlikely event that your identity is ever compromised while you’re with us, call us immediately and an identity protection specialist will discuss with you the steps to restore your identity. Obviously there are things we can’t do for you because we’re not you, like showing up in court or contacting your bank to cancel credit cards. But we will manage everything else and be there to help every step of the way.”

The short answer seems to be that complete identity restoration services are not available through TrustedID, but protection specialists are available from 5AM – midnight PST in case you need assistance.

Identity Theft Insurance

The details of the $1 million identity theft insurance policy are located on Equifax’s website here. If, at first glance, you think the identity theft insurance policy is meant to cover you from losses, you should know that’s not entirely true.

The actual purpose of the insurance policy is to protect you from any costs incurred as a direct result of having your identity compromised. For example, if you have to take time off of work to go to court or replace important documents, the insurance policy will typically reimburse those costs. It also covers the cost of an attorney should you need one.

A complete breakdown of the insurance policy is in a PDF format here. As you can see, it covers costs such as lost wages, travel expenses, childcare, elder care, and legal consultation. It will also cover funds lost due to unauthorized electronic fund transfers, but typically not up to $1 million. The $1 million simply means TrustedID will spend up to a total of $1 million to restore your identity. Each category usually has a spending limit.

Additionally, you must report your identity as stolen to receive the benefit from the insurance. This policy can come in handy in case your identity is severely compromised, to the point where creditors come after you in court (for accounts you didn’t open), or someone gets a hold of your tax refund before you do.

How AARP’s Identity Theft Protection Service Works

You can sign up for a membership online in four steps:

  1. Choose which plan you want
  2. Fill out personal information to create an account
  3. Verify your identity is correct (you’re required to enter your Social Security number in the second step)
  4. Access the platform

Once you sign up, you’ll receive an “Identity Threat Score” that allows you to see if your identity is currently at risk. This serves as a good starting point.

The details of how alerts work isn’t stated on AARP’s website, but there is a “chat” function and phone number at the top in case you have questions. We asked a representative who told us alerts are sent via email and text.

Alerts will be received in the event of:

  • A new or closed accounts
  • New credit inquiries
  • The discovery of any negative information

[Getting back thousands of dollars after bank fraud]

How Much Does AARP’s Identity Theft Protection Service Cost?

There are two plans offered: an individual plan, and a family plan. Free 14-day trials are available for both in case you’d like to try the service before subscribing. Credit card information is needed to sign up, so you must cancel before the 14 days are up to avoid being charged.

Monthly and annual plans are also available for both.

The monthly individual plan is $16.99, or you can choose the annual individual plan for $170, a 17 percent savings ($14.17 per month). Under the annual plan, you can cancel whenever you want, and you will be refunded for any unused months. You can cancel at any time on the monthly plan as well, but be aware that for both plans, partial refunds aren’t given, so cancel as close to your renewal date as possible.

The monthly family plan is $29.99 per month, and the annual family plan is $300 (which is $25 per month). The family plan is good for four individuals in your household – up to two adults, and two children or grandchildren under the age of 25.

Again, you can cancel at any time and receive a refund for unused months under the annual plan, and partial refunds aren’t given. With the family plan, you can enroll additional children or grandchildren for an extra $5 per year.

AARP claims to have exclusive pricing. During the initial review of this service, prices were listed at lower amounts (the monthly individual plan was $12.99 per month). However, it looks like pricing is currently identical to TrustedID’s normal pricing.

[Worth it or not? Identity theft protection reviewed]

Transparency Level

At first glance, it may seem like AARP is teaming up with TrustedID to provide identity theft protection services to its members, but it’s using the TrustedID platform completely.

On the bottom of the site is a disclosure: “AARP® Identity Theft Protection from TrustedID is provided by TrustedID, not AARP or its affiliates…AARP does not employ or endorse TrustedID associates.”

As a result, there isn’t much information on the AARP site about the services offered at all. Quite a few times it tells users to check out TrustedID’s website instead. It would be easier if all the information was in one spot. For example, there’s no information on how alerts work or what the $1 million identity theft insurance covers on AARP’s website.

While this service provides credit reports, it also says that anyone has the right to obtain free credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. It also makes it clear that the credit reports provided are in addition to these three.

Lastly, TrustedID is an Equifax company, and any credit scores provided by it are based on the Equifax scoring model.

Alternative Identity Theft Protection Services

If you’re looking to monitor your medical benefits and want to enjoy the other services offered by TrustedID through AARP, that’s great, but it likely isn’t worth paying such a high amount. In the event your identity is stolen, especially if you’re over 50, you want a company with representatives who will completely assist you in restoring your identity.

Zander Insurance is the cheapest option at $6.75 per month for individuals, and $12.90 per month for families. While it doesn’t offer credit-monitoring services (you can sign up for free credit monitoring at Credit Karma or Credit Sesame), it does offer the total identity restoration. A representative will be assigned to your case, and they will file paperwork for you and call companies on your behalf to get your identity back to its original state. Alerts are sent via email and you can also access your information on its web portal, perfect for those who are older and not as internet-savvy.

If you happen to enjoy technology, then Prosper Daily is another excellent alternative to look into. It’s a mobile app available for Android and iOS, and for $9.99 per month, you get complete access to its identity restoration service. You can also monitor your spending and credit directly from the app. As you might guess, alerts are received via the app as well as via email.

Conclusion

TrustedID through AARP might be a good solution for seniors, but it’s not a comprehensive solution. Yes, seniors are more at risk of identity fraud, but they also might need more assistance to restore their identity in the event it’s stolen. Zander Insurance provides a less expensive alternative with more services. Besides, if you’re not already a member of AARP, you’ll need to register to get access to TrustedID. Zander and Prosper Daily are stand-alone services.

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

AARP Visa Credit Card by Chase Cash Back Review

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The information related to AARP Visa credit card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

First and foremost, AARP membership is not a requirement for this card. Nor does a person need to be over 50 years of age or retired. The application process is similar to those of any other major rewards credit card.

The card was designed with AARP values in mind. This means tailored perks which AARP believes its members value. Other than the consideration for an older target demographic, the card behaves just like any other non AARP-endorsed credit card.

The Offer

The AARP Visa credit card is a competitive cash rewards card issued through AARP and serviced by Chase Bank. There is no cap to the number of cash back rewards a person receives. Cardholders can expect 3% cash back at restaurants, 3% cash back at fuel stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Plenty of ways to redeem cash back: Direct deposit to a checking or savings account, statement credit, gift card (choose from over 75 retailers), or travel (with no blackout dates or restrictions).
  • Rewards do not expire except when account is closed.
  • No reward caps
  • Price protection
  • Return protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection if items bought with card are lost or stolen.
  • Equipped with EMV chip which is more secure and essential for using a credit card in many countries outside the US where chip-enabled card readers are the norm.
  • $100 bonus cash back after $500 is spent on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • For 2015, Chase will automatically donate $0.10 for each purchase made at a restaurant in support of Drive to End Hunger.

Cons

Fine Print

  • A minimum of 2,000 points ($20) in rewards is needed for cash back redemption.
  • Chase customers who currently have or have had a Chase credit card in any rewards program associated with this offer, may not be eligible for a second Chase credit card in the same rewards program.
  • Card holders who offer their phone numbers to Chase are giving consent to receive text messages and/or phone calls regarding all Chase or J.P. Morgan accounts. This could be bothersome.
  • Chase credit card members with a history of only using their current or prior Chase card for promotional pricing offers are not eligible for a second Chase credit card with promotional pricing. This is bad news to those who churn credit cards.

Who This Card Would Benefit Most

As mentioned earlier, this rewards card was designed to appeal to an older demographic. Its terms and conditions are easy to understand and easy to use. Presumably, AARP membership pleas will show up in a person’s mail box after signing up for the card. If a person was considering membership anyway, this credit card would be a good way of getting into the folds of the AARP. If not, the mail may be unwelcomed. Supporting the Drive to End Hunger is a unique opportunity with a credit card. Anyone who feels it’s a worthwhile cause should like this card even more.

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Visit the AARP website to learn more about this credit card.

How it Stacks Up Against the Competition

Sam’s Club MasterCard Rewards Credit Card

This card uses a similar tiered rewards system as the AARP card. The card offers 5% cash back on fuel (excludes other big box retailers, i.e. Costco), 3% on dining and travel, and 1% cash back on other purchases. However, redemption is a hassle compared with the AARP card. MasterCard mails checks, which much be cashed inside a Sam’s Club location. But like the AARP card, there is no annual fee. However, special membership is required. A person must be a member of Sam’s Club before receiving the card. The cheapest Sam’s Club membership is $45 per year.

This card offers similar ancillary benefits as the AARP card such as an EMV chip and extended product warranties. However, this particular card offers users identity theft resolution services – a perk AARP member would likely value. Both the Sam’s Club card and the AARP card are worth considering.

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Santander Bravo MasterCard for Chase

The signup bonus amount is identical to that of the AARP card – $100. Gas, groceries, and restaurants give 3 points for each dollar spent. 1 point can be redeemed for each dollar spent in other categories. Price protection and extended warranty benefits are also included. However, there is a cap of 15,000 rewards points ($5,000) earned per quarter. There is an annual fee of $49 (waived for the first year).

The foreign transaction fee is the same as with the AARP card – 3%. However, this is what’s called a ‘World’ MasterCard. There are many benefits for using this card for travel such as free AAA roadside assistance (range limited), lost and delayed baggage insurance, airport concierge, and exclusive travel deals. These perks overrule the cumbersome 3% foreign transaction fee – especially if the card holder travels mostly domestic.

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An Ideal Card for Foodies and Gas Purchases

Anyone chasing high rewards combined with no annual fee may want to give this card some serious thought. A card with 3% cash back at restaurants, 3% cash back at fuel stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases is worth considering. It is ideal for high spenders, as there is no rewards cap.

This may be your ideal ‘one and done’ cash back rewards credit card.

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