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Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

myFICO Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Pickpocketing at the subway station

myFICO is a company predominantly known for its credit monitoring services, as well as providing knowledge to consumers on credit scores. It also offers identity monitoring services in conjunction with credit monitoring, all in one package. However, the service is on the pricey side, so let’s review what you get for your money, and compare the value to other identity theft protection services out there.

Overview of myFICO’s Identity and Credit Monitoring Service

myFICO offers two tiers of service: the “Essentials 1B” plan which monitors your Equifax score only (and doesn’t have as many identity theft features), and an “Ultimate” plan that monitors your personal information and all three of your credit scores.

Both offer 24/7 identity restoration service, but since the Essentials 1B plan doesn’t cover the other two bureaus, it’s not the best solution. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be covering the Ultimate plan.

[Worth it or Not? Identity Theft Protection Reviewed]

Credit Monitoring Service

Did you know you technically have more than one credit score, as measured by the three bureaus? With the Ultimate plan, you get access to 19 FICO scores used in a variety of situations. This allows you to see which score is most likely to be used if you apply for an auto loan, a mortgage loan, or a credit card.

Of course, you’ll also get access to your FICO Score 8, the score most widely used by lenders. The Ultimate plan will also provide you with a detailed analysis of your score so you know where your weak and strong spots are. When a change occurs to your score, you’ll receive a notification along with a reason why.

myFICO gives you an updated credit report from all three bureaus quarterly, too. Your credit scores are updated any time a change occurs. If there are no changes, your score won’t update.

An interesting feature for those looking to make progress with their credit score is the FICO Score Simulator provided with the plan. You can see how taking a certain action (such as making a debt payment) will affect your score.

Identity Theft Monitoring Service

myFICO offers a basic identity theft monitoring service. It will monitor the black market for any mention of your personal information, as well as monitor your Social Security number for identity fraud.

Like other providers, it offers lost wallet protection. A certified specialist will assist you in canceling and replacing missing items or documents from your wallet, including credit cards, debit cards, and your license.

The biggest thing you’re paying for is the 24/7 identity restoration service, which gives you access to a certified restoration specialist who will stick with you until your identity is fully restored to its previous status.

How valuable is such a service? Restoring your identity can prove to be a very time consuming process. In severe cases, it could take months, and possibly a trip to court, to reverse the damage done by a thief. Having the assistance of an expert to handle filing paperwork and calling the appropriate institutions could help you out and cut down on the time you spend dealing with the fiasco.

How Does Identity Theft Insurance Work?

myFICO offers $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. You can read the specifics about what is and isn’t included in its policy here, but in short, the purpose of this identity theft insurance is to reimburse any costs you incur during the restoration process.

For example, it will cover the cost of replacing documents, travel expenses, lost wages, childcare, and legal costs, for a total of $1,000,000. myFICO will also hire experts on your behalf (such as a lawyer) if needed. Each cost has a specific limit. For example, it will only cover up to $2,000 for replacing documents.

The insurance will cover up to $10,000 in fraudulent withdrawals or unauthorized electric funds transfers, but not $1,000,000 in stolen funds. That’s a big difference you need to be aware of, as many people are under the impression the insurance is used to insure your assets against theft. That’s not true.

As restoring your identity can be time consuming and costly, the insurance can give you peace of mind in case you end up having to go to court to fight a creditor or have to deal with the IRS because someone claimed your tax return before you had a chance.

Note that this coverage isn’t available to residents of New York.

[Credit Freeze: A Defense Against Identity Theft and Fraud]

How myFICO’s Identity Theft Protection Service Works

When you sign up for the identity monitoring service, myFICO will have you answer a series of questions to verify your identity. Once that’s complete, it will scan its database for any mention of your personal information and give you a report at the end. This report serves as a baseline for how safe your information has been, and allows you to take care of any issues that may be present.

myFICO will continue to monitor your information and will notify you via email, text, or mobile app (available on Android and iOS) whenever it detects suspicious fraudulent activity, or a change in any of your credit reports.

It’s worth reading the fine print to see exactly when you can expect such updates to occur, as they vary based on credit bureau. You can see the fine print on this page, as well as what changes you’ll be alerted to. Here are a few instances when you’ll receive an alert:

  • Whenever a new account is opened
  • Credit inquiries from applications
  • New public record listings (bankruptcy, tax liens, etc.)
  • New address
  • Fraud alert placed on file (not available for Equifax)

There are quite a few alerts only available with certain bureaus, but the most important changes are covered by all three.

How Much Does it Cost?

The FICO Ultimate 3B plan that includes identity and credit monitoring is $29.95 per month, or $329 per year ($27.42 per month).

The FICO Essentials 1B plan will monitor just your Equifax score and is $19.95 per month, or $219 per year ($18.25 per month). You still get access to the identity restoration services, but it’s not as comprehensive.

[Identity Theft Action Plan]

Transparency Levels

myFICO seeks to educate consumers on credit scores and doesn’t claim to prevent identity fraud. It doesn’t make many claims about its identity monitoring service at all, as the emphasis is on its credit monitoring service.

If you’re not a fan of automatic renewals, you should know myFICO sets your subscription to automatically renew every month. You must cancel (which you can do at any time) to stop your membership from renewing. However, partial monthly refunds aren’t available, so make sure you cancel close to your renewal date to get the most out of your last month.

Additionally, myFICO has a few “fine print” issues involving when credit scores are updated, and when alerts come through. Much of this is dependent upon the credit bureaus, but you should understand how the alerts work and how often your score and reports are updated before paying.

Alternative Credit and Identity Monitoring Services

myFICO is certainly one of the more expensive choices and doesn’t offer a full suite of identity protection services. Its focus is heavily on credit monitoring, which you can get for free by signing up with either Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

The biggest difference is that myFICO gives you access to your actual FICO score as reported by the bureaus. Credit Karma and Credit Sesame don’t give you your FICO score (Credit Karma uses VantageScore 3.0 provided by TransUnion and Equifax).

Credit Karma gives you a free credit report from TransUnion, and will monitor your TransUnion credit for free as well. You’ll receive email notifications when something changes.

Credit Sesame updates your score on a monthly basis, and updates your credit report profile every other month. You don’t get access to your credit report – just your score.

You can always access your three free credit reports throughout the year by going to annualcreditreport.com.

Lastly, if you have a credit card with one of the major lenders, your credit score may be available for free through your online portal.

If you’re not convinced myFICO is a good value for identity theft protection service, try these two alternatives.

Zander – Identity theft protection services are offered at $6.75 per month for individuals, and $12.90 per month for families. This is much more affordable than myFICO, but Zander doesn’t offer credit monitoring at all. Again, you can get access to that for free elsewhere. Zander will make sure your information isn’t being sold on the black market, and it also offers a comprehensive identity restoration service. Alerts are received via email.

[Read Zander Review Here]

Prosper Daily (formerly BillGuard) – A great solution for those on the go, Prosper Daily is an identity theft protection and credit monitoring service offered in the form of an app. It’s $9.99 per month to get access to its identity restoration service, but along with protecting yourself from fraud, you can also monitor your spending and budget. It’s a good all-in-one solution for those looking to manage their money via mobile.

[Read Prosper Daily Review Here]

Conclusion

myFICO might be a good solution for those looking to improve their credit score, or for those in the market for a loan who want to make sure their credit is in perfect condition to score the best rates. However, there are cheaper options out there when it comes to identity theft protection services. Consider pairing one of the above alternatives with a mix of receiving your free credit report each quarter from annualcreditreport.com, and using Credit Karma and Credit Sesame to monitor your credit for a less expensive solution.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

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Reviews

Review of Edward Jones CD Rates

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

What are brokered CDs?

Edward Jones offers brokered CDs, which are a bit different from the standard bank-issued CDs that most investors are familiar with. Bank-issued CDs, as the name implies, are issued by individual banks for their customers. Since Edward Jones is a broker and not a bank, it cannot issue its own CDs. Instead, the firm offers a range of CDs issued by other banks and thrifts but sold via Edward Jones.

For the casual investor, it can be hard at first glance to tell the difference between bank-issued and brokered CDs. However, there are some important distinctions:

  • No early withdrawal penalties: Brokered CDs don’t have early withdrawal penalties. If you need to get out of your CD, you can usually sell it back to another investor through a brokerage firm. This means that brokered CDs carry some additional risk, as the price of these CDs may fluctuate on the open market.
  • Higher APYs: You can often get higher yields on a brokered CD than with a bank-issued CD. Brokers are able to negotiate higher CD rates since they can guarantee a large pool of buyers to CD issuers. In the era of online banking, however, even brokered CDs do not always garner the absolute highest rates.
  • Longer-term options: Brokered CDs often have longer-term options than are available with traditional bank-issued CDs, which are generally short-term investments only.

CD rates from Edward Jones

Edward Jones offers a fairly comprehensive range of CD maturities, ranging from three months to 10 years, although the firm doesn’t offer 6-year CDs, 8-year CDs or 9-year CDs. Rates and availability change frequently, oftentimes daily. The longer-duration CDs offered by the firm aren’t traditionally available at banks.
Edward Jones CD Rates
TermMinimum deposit to earn APYAPY
3 months$1,0001.95%
6 months$1,0002.00%
9 months$1,0002.00%
1 year$1,0001.95%
18 months$1,0001.90%
2 years$1,0002.05%
3 years$1,0002.15%
5 years$1,0002.20%
7 years$1,0002.45%
10 years$1,0002.60%

For all maturities, Edward Jones requires a $1,000 opening deposit, which is the same minimum required to earn the stated APY. As these are brokered CDs, there is no early withdrawal penalty. However, investors are subject to current market prices if they need to get out of a CD prematurely. If interest rates have risen since the date of purchase, you’re likely to get less money back than you originally invested in the CD.

One important difference between Edward Jones CDs and standard bank-issued CDs is that interest does not compound with Edward Jones CDs. All interest is paid directly into a money market or insured bank deposit at Edward Jones, unless you request it to be distributed. Either way, you can’t reinvest your distributions into your existing CD.

Unlike some banks, Edward Jones doesn’t offer any type of hybrid or alternative CD, such as a step-up CD or an adjustable-rate CD. There are also no bonus APR CDs available at the current time, just standard rates. Edward Jones also does not offer special rates for jumbo CDs, which traditionally require a $100,000 deposit. However, you can use the firm’s wide range of CD maturities for certain CD strategies, such as building a CD ladder. You can also buy their brokered CDs in an IRA.

Unlike bank-issued CDs, the brokered CDs offered by Edwards Jones do not automatically roll over into new CDs. At maturity, the banks that issued the CDs pay the proceeds to Edward Jones, which then forwards the money to your account. At that point, you can either select a new brokered CD to purchase, or keep the funds in your Edward Jones money market or insured bank deposit account.

How to get CDs from Edward Jones

You’ll need to open a brokerage account at Edward Jones to buy any CDs. The account minimum to open is $0, but as Edward Jones is a full-service brokerage, you’ll need to go into a branch and visit a financial advisor to open an account. There is no facility to open an account online.

You can open your Edward Jones account as rapidly as you can fill out the paperwork and fund the account. As soon as your deposit clears, you are free to buy a CD through your Edward Jones broker. If you change your mind, you can generally withdraw your funds within 4-6 business days after deposit, although this hold period may extend to 11 business days for new clients. Once you buy a CD, you can sell it at any time on the open market. As noted above, the amount you receive may be less than the amount you originally paid.

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on Edward Jones’s secure website

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How do CD rates from Edward Jones compare?

Edward Jones CD rates are well above the national average, but they still fall considerably short when compared with the best available rates nationwide.

Unlike with many firms, Edward Jones doesn’t currently have any special-rate CDs, where certain maturities pay dramatically higher rates. Instead, rates at Edward Jones land along a traditional curve, gradually increasing in yield as maturities lengthen.

For example, as of July 3, 2019, the Edward Jones 2-year CD rate of 2.05% is far below the best available 2-year CD rates. Three-year CD rates top out nationally at 3.00%, but Edward Jones pays 2.15%. The pattern continues throughout the maturity curve, with the top 5-year CD rates nationally hitting 3.00% or more, while the 5-year at Edward Jones pays 2.20%.

As such, all rates at Edward Jones fall in the general area of being well-above national averages but still notably short of the best available rates.

Overall review of CDs from Edward Jones

You won’t be wasting your time investing in CDs from Edward Jones, as you’ll be earning rates far above the national averages. You’ll also benefit from the ability to construct a CD or overall investment strategy with the assistance of a full-service advisor. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best CD rates for your money, there are plenty of online banks that can pay you a higher rate.

CD investors who like a wide range of products may be disappointed at Edward Jones, as popular options such as step-up or no-penalty CDs are not currently available. However, Edward Jones CDs do benefit from offering brokered CDs. This provides a range of flexibility that standard bank-issued CDs cannot offer, as you can liquidate your CD position at any time without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

The bottom line is that yield-hungry investors that enjoy managing their own portfolios may be better suited at any number of online competitors. Those looking to incorporate decent-yielding CDs into their overall investment portfolio with the help of a full-service broker might prefer working with Edward Jones.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Reviews

Wealthfront Cash Account Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Fintech startups are challenging incumbents in every corner of the financial services industry. Robo-advisor Wealthfront is part of this trend, one of many new investing apps that also offer cash management accounts with high APYs and a mix of features offered by traditional bank accounts.

Cash management accounts combine features like easy access to your money and a decent interest rate, typically found separately in checking accounts and savings accounts, respectively.  Wealthfront admits that its Cash Account won’t replace your checking account, instead touting it as a place to stash your emergency savings or achieve other savings goals and enjoy a high 2.57% APY, all with the FDIC protections of a traditional bank account.

Wealthfront Cash Account Pros

Wealthfront Cash Account Cons

  • Offers a high APY compared to other online savings accounts
  • Charges zero fees, $1 minimum balance requirement
  • Deposits are covered by FDIC insurance up to $1 million
  • Ability transfer funds from Cash Account into Wealthfront's taxable investment account.
  • Takes 1-3 business days to access your funds
  • You cannot make payments from the account

Let’s take a closer look at how Wealthfront’s Cash Account compares to both traditional bank savings accounts, and similar cash management offerings from other fintech startups, so you can determine whether it’s right for your savings.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. online savings accounts

Wealthfront markets its Cash Account as a place to deposit savings you plan on spending in the next five years, or as a good place for an emergency fund. For longer-term returns on your money, Wealthfront advocates investing in the stock market using its core robo-advisor functionality. As an additional incentive to do so, Wealthfront allows you to transfer money from your Cash Account into one of the company’s taxable investment accounts. However, there is nothing in Wealthfront‘s terms of service that would discourage you from treating this account like any other online savings account.

Here’s how Wealthfront’s Cash Account stacks up against the highest-earning online savings accounts from our best online savings accounts review:

Financial InstitutionAPYMinimum balance
Wealthfront

2.57%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Vio Bank

2.52%

$100 minimum, no monthly fee
Customers Bank

2.50%

$25,000 minimum, no monthly fee
Barclays

2.10%

None
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

2.15%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Ally

2.10%

None

Judged by APY alone, Wealthfront‘s Cash Account emerges as one of the strongest contenders out there, surpassed only by Vio Bank’s online savings account. Like many online savings accounts, there’s a limit to the liquidity of the money placed in Wealthfront‘s Cash Account.

However, there is no option to withdraw funds or make payments from the account via check or ATM card. Your only way to get money into and out of the account is via ACH transfers to and from a separate checking account that’s held in your name. Transfers take one to three business days, and Wealthfront permits an unlimited number of transfers into and out of your Cash Account (with a daily limit of $250,000).

Wealthfront is not a bank, so it has deals with a network of regional banks that are FDIC insured. After you deposit your money in a Cash Account, your funds are swept into multiple accounts with Wealthfront’s bank partners, giving you FDIC insurance coverage up to $1 million (or $2 million if you have a joint Cash Account). This a big advantage that makes the Cash Account an attractive choice for anyone who wants FDIC coverage beyond the $250,000 limit available with a single online savings account.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. robo-advisor cash management accounts

Many other robo-advisor firms offer cash management accounts. These accounts take varying forms: Some resemble a personal savings account, others have both savings and checking account features, while some are a type of investment account. Below we compare the Wealthfront Cash Account with cash management offerings from robo-advisors Betterment and SoFi.

Account nameFunctionFeesYield
Wealthfront Cash Account

FDIC-insured savings account

None

2.57% APY

Betterment Smart Saver

Low-risk bond investments

0.25% annual fee

2.14% APY

SoFi Money

FDIC-insured checking/savings hybrid account

None

An average of 2.25% APY

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. Betterment Smart Saver

Betterment‘s Smart Saver account is a low-risk investment account, not a deposit account, so it plays by a different set of rules than Wealthfront‘s Cash Account. For one, as an investment it does not have FDIC coverage. Betterment‘s website claims you could earn returns of 2.14% (which factors in the standard 0.25% Betterment charges for its services) — notice the word “could.” Money placed in the Smart Saver account is invested in a mix of treasuries and corporate bonds—fairly safe investment vehicles—but it still can’t guarantee the 2.14% return in the same way a deposit account can guarantee an APY.

The Smart Saver account does have some bells and whistles that may make it an appealing choice for your savings. These include:

  • Smart Sweep: This feature aims to maximize your investing returns by only maintaining as much cash in your linked checking account as you need for day-to-day spending. It works like this: After giving  access to your checking account, the app analyses how you spend money. Then it sweeps money above and beyond what you need to pay 35 days of expenses — up to $5,000 per sweep — into the Smart Saver investment account. Likewise, if the app thinks you’ll need more money to cover your expenses, it will sweep money from the Smart Saver investment account into your checking account. You can read more details here.
  • Tax relief: While you can’t avoid paying taxes entirely, the fact that 80% of the money placed in the Smart Saver investment account will be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds means that some of the earnings from the Smart Saver account won’t be subject to state and local taxes. You can read more details here.

Like Wealthfront’s account, there is an inconvenient waiting period to withdraw money from the account — four to five business days, which is longer than Wealthfront‘s one to three business days. This longer period accounts for the fact that your money is invested in bonds, making it less liquid than funds placed with Wealthfront in FDIC-insured deposit accounts.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a checking and savings hybrid account, meaning you earn both a high yield — 2.25% APY vs. Wealthfront‘s 2.57% APY — and enjoy instant access to your money with a debit card and paper checks.

Similarly to Wealthfront, SoFi Money spreads any funds you deposit across multiple FDIC-insured bank accounts — six in this case — providing up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance vs. Wealthfront‘s $1 million.

SoFi Money may lag behind Wealthfront in terms of APY, but it makes up for this by providing the utility of both a savings and checking account. You can use your debit card to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs (there is a daily limit of $610) just like you would with any other checking account. You can read more details on SoFi Money in our review.

Who should get a Wealthfront Cash Account?

If you’re looking for an FDIC insured account that provides one of the highest APY’s available, than the Wealthfront Cash Account may be right for you. However, you won’t have easy access to your funds like you would with a hybrid checking/savings account, such as SoFi Money. However the simplicity of the account, and the promise of additional features in the future such as a debit card and ATM withdrawals, could make it a compelling option for your savings.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here