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Aura has a neat interface to monitor essential financial vulnerabilities, such as bank accounts, and identity theft records. The upfront pricing is refreshing, it is simple to use, and Aura even includes a password manager, VPN, and antivirus to make its security solution an even more compelling deal.
Aura was born out of a crisis with Hari Ravichandran, the founder and CEO realizing back in 2014 that his identity had been compromised. Frustrated by the lack of a single product to provide the personal digital security and identity theft protection that he needed, he started Aura, with the goal of a comprehensive, yet simple to use security solution. The company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and indicates that it is trusted by 1.5 million customers.
Plans and pricing
Similar to some competitors, there are both Individual Plans, for a single adult, and Family Plans, which can cover up to 10 individuals. There is a Free Trial for 14 days, and also a 60-day money back guarantee.
The first step of the tiers is the Basic Plan, which costs an affordable $12/month, with an annual discount that drops it to $10/month for an individual, or under the family version, $20/month, or $17/month when paid annually. It includes a number of important features, including online account monitoring, identity verification monitoring, a password manager, and lost wallet remediation. However, we consider it a significant shortcoming that some essential features, such as the credit scores, and credit monitoring are left out of this starter plan. While these essentials are left out, it does include antivirus, and a VPN for Wi-Fi security, although only for a single device.
A step up is the Total Plan, which raises the price to $26/month, or $20/month when paid annually for an individual, and for a family goes up to $35 monthly, or $29/month for buying annually. While this plan does cost significantly more, it not only carries through the features of the lower plan, but adds credit monitoring and a monthly credit score, a credit lock feature, and a financial transaction and bank account account monitoring feature. It also includes an antivirus and a Wi-Fi security VPN for a more realistic five device limit, which folks should buy anyway, and helps to defray the total cost of the plan.
At the top is the Ultimate Plan, at a cost of $40/month, or $30/month annually on the individual side, and $50/month, or $39 when paid annually for a family. This includes everything from the lower plans, and adds home title and address monitoring, criminal and court records monitoring, 401k and investment monitoring, and an annual credit report. It also covers up to ten devices for antivirus, and wireless VPN needs.
Aura has an easy to follow, and slick interface, that is laid out logically so it is easy to follow. It has a comprehensive dashboard, that once set up can display a comprehensive look at a number of security parameters.
A number of the pieces monitor your credit health, along with financial parameters. This includes the Credit Activity component, that provides a credit score from Experian. While we appreciate that it can perform a ‘Credit Lock,’ a definitive way of securing your account so that it then steps up the security and makes it exponentially more difficult for anyone to take out a loan fraudulently, we think it is a weakness that the score provided is from only a single credit service.
The Transaction Monitor is another essential module. It has the capability to monitor dozens of accounts, including credit cards, mortgages, 401k’s, checking accounts, and savings accounts. It can provide a total snapshot of the ‘Money In,’ and the ‘Money Out.’ It then provides alerts when a transaction goes ‘Over the Limit,’ and gives a list of them over the last 30 days.
There is also the antivirus service, which covers a wide variety of devices, including Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, with a Chrome plugin “Coming soon.” It does not state if this is software developed by Aura, or if it is rebranded from another provider. The same can be said for the VPN service that supports the same platforms, but it is not stated who the provider is, or if this is directly from Aura.
The customer support page for Aura is a bit of a disappointment, consisting of additional flashy highlights of features, and short on the specifics on the actual nuts and bolts of how the product is supported. At least one of the bulleted features is the “Access to 24/7 World Class Support,” which is included on all the plans, and it is also indicated that the Aura team has remediated identity theft incidents for 150,000 folks.
There is both a direct phone number, and a direct email address at the bottom of the page. The other support options- fax, chat and a support portal- are not to be found. Additionally, there are no other self help support options to be found, such as webinars, a user forum, or introductory articles, which is another shortcoming.
We think that Aura represents a worthy entry into the identity protection space. Highlights include the 24/7 support, the easy to use interface, the included VPN, password manager and antivirus, along with the upfront pricing. Keep in mind the weak points, including the limited support options, the significantly higher costs for the higher tiered plans, and the lack of features, like credit monitoring, on the lowest tier plan. All in all, we think many folks will find enough features to justify the subscription cost of Aura.