SNOXX vs SCOXX: Which Fund is Best?

Schwab offers several Treasury money market mutual funds including the Schwab Treasury Money Fund Ultra Shares (SCOXX) and the Schwab Treasury Obligations Money Fund Investor Shares (SNOXX). Many investors ask about the differences between these two funds since they are two of the largest Treasury money market mutual funds in the market today. When comparing SCOXX vs SNOXX, it is clear which fund is best for most investors.

The Short Answer

SCOXX and SNOXX are two share classes of the exact same fund! There is no need to compare SCOXX vs SNOXX because the only difference is the minimum initial investment amount and the expense ratio. Investors who can make an initial purchase of $1M or more will get a higher yield with SCOXX.

SCOXX vs SNOXX Historical Performance

Since its inception, SCOXX has outperformed SNOXX by .08% on an annualized basis. This has compounded to a .22% cumulative difference over the past 3 years, which is relatively small. Currently the yield difference is about .15% however, so future performance may deviate further.

Current Yields for SNOXX & SCOXX

The current 7 day yield is a standardized yield metric for money market mutual funds and the 7 day yields for both SCOXX and SNOXX can be found on the fund’s webpages. See here for SNOXX and here for SCOXX.

What rate is SCOXX & SNOXX paying?

The current interest rate for SCOXX, SNOXX, and other Schwab money markets can be found on Schwab’s money market page.


The expense ratio is .34% for the SNOXX investor shares and .19% for the SCOXX ultra shares. Since the funds are just different share classes of the same portfolio, this difference in expenses is what accounts for the differences in yield and performance. Neither fund charges a load or 12b-1 fees.

SNOXX has no minimum investment and investors can invest as little as one cent, while SCOXX has a minimum investment of $1 million. My observation is that investors can keep SCOXX even if they sell and their balance falls below $1 million. The $1 million minimum seems to only apply to the initial purchase.

I have not checked every brokerage, but SCOXX and SNOXX is generally only available to clients of Charles Schwab.

Like most money market mutual funds, investors can sell SCOXX or SNOXX at any time.


Hypothetically, an investor could lose money with SCOXX or SNOXX, but I personally do not think that is a realistic risk as I believe the fund sponsor or the federal government would intervene if that were about to happen. Technically, it is possible to lose money in SNOXX or SCOXX though.

As of June 30, 2023, the fund was composed of approximately $33 billion in the investor shares and $34 billion in ultra shares.


No, neither SNOXX nor SCOXX are FDIC insured.


The two funds are share classes of the same portfolio, so the holdings are identical. The largest holding is repurchase agreements (repos) at 96%, followed by Treasury debt at 4%. The vast majority of the fund’s holdings have a maturity of less than one week (98%).

High Balances

Investors allocating more than $1 million may want to consider the “ultra” share class of the fund, whose symbol is SCOXX.

Tax Considerations

SNOXX and SCOXX are Treasury funds which means that it can invest in Treasury-related financial instruments. However, taxable investors may find better after-tax yields in Treasury-only (such as SNSXX or SUTXX) or municipal (muni) money market funds, which offer tax benefits that may improve investors’ after-tax yield.

Government and Treasury Money Market Funds

Most states have an income tax. However, interest from Treasuries is exempt from state tax. Therefore, investors in states with income tax may be better off with a Treasury-only money market fund that invests a greater proportion of its assets in actual Treasuries (vs Treasury repos, etc).

Muni Money Market Funds

Investors subject to higher tax rates may consider municipal (muni) money market funds due to the fact the interest is typically exempt from federal income tax (and often from state tax too!).

The caveat with muni money market funds though is that the yields can move up and down A LOT. Therefore, the stated yield that an investor looks up on any given day is not necessarily indicative of the future return. To understand why, read my post on muni money market yields.

Rather than expecting a muni money market fund’s stated yield, I encourage investors to expect the trailing average yield (over the past few weeks). Generally speaking, the after tax returns of munis will only be higher than non-muni money markets for those in the highest tax brackets.

Which is Best? SCOXX or SNOXX?

Overall, SNOXX is a good investment for many situations. Those investing more than $1 million should generally go with SCOXX for the higher yield. Investors who are subject to high tax rates may want to consider other funds though.

Covered Call Risks, Problems, and Myths

Selling covered calls is a popular options strategy pursued by many individual investors, who often believe it is a good strategy to generate additional income from their stock portfolio. While this is true in certain circumstances, individual investors often misunderstand aspects of covered calls strategies and/or ignore covered call risks.

In their paper “Covered Call Strategies: One Fact and Eight Myths”, Roni Israelov and Lars N. Nielsen provide valuable insights on these risks and debunk several common misconceptions about covered calls. Much of the below is a summary of their seminal paper. It is worth noting that Israelov and Nielsen were both Principals at AQR, one of the most esteemed quantitative asset managers.

I believe it is crucial for covered call investors to understand the underlying risks, differentiate between facts and myths, and assess the potential impact on their portfolios. With accurate information and a clear understanding of the strategy, investors can make informed decisions on whether to incorporate covered calls into their overall investment approach.

Risk Cannot Be Expressed in a Payoff Diagram

Many investors mistakenly believe that risk exposure in covered call strategies can be easily expressed in a payoff diagram. However, these payoff diagrams typically only represents the potential gains and losses from an options position at expiration. Although informative, these diagrams have limitations when it comes to illustrating the true risk exposure of covered call strategies.

As mentioned above, options values and strategies are path-dependent, so the point-in-time payoff diagrams are not necessarily that helpful. There is software and online tools that can model risk and generate payoff diagrams at different points in time though.

Covered call strategies also involve the interplay between the underlying stock and the written call option, which requires the simultaneous management of both the stock and the option. This relationship is dynamic, and risk exposure can change significantly as market conditions evolve. Payoff diagrams are unable to capture these intricacies and fluctuations in risk, although there is software that can model these relationships and diagrams at different levels of prices and volatilities.

While payoff diagrams are useful in understanding the basic structure of an options position, they cannot fully express the risk exposure in covered call strategies. Investors should be aware of these limitations and rely on more comprehensive tools and analysis to manage risk effectively in their portfolios.

Covered Calls Do Not Provide Downside Protection

One misconception regarding covered calls is that they provide investors with some downside risk. While that is technically true, the protection is limited to the premium received from selling the call option. If the stock’s price suffers a severe decline, the premium from the call option will likely not be enough to cover the losses incurred by the stock’s decline. Moreover, the call option seller would still be exposed to any further losses beyond the initial premium collected.

A primary benefit of a covered call strategy is the additional income generated by selling the call option contract. This income can act as a buffer against minor stock price fluctuations; in other words, this income is the same as the downside risk protection. However, this minimal amount of downside protection comes with a potential cost. The potential cost/risk is that covered calls may cap potential gains on the underlying stock. When an investor writes a call option, they agree to sell the stock at the strike price, even if the stock price soars beyond that. In such cases, the call option seller would miss out on the full extent of the stock’s growth potential.

It is important to remember that covered call strategies should be employed thoughtfully, as they marginally help in downside scenarios and can really hinder performance in upside scenarios.

Covered Calls Do Not Generate Income

Covered calls are a popular options strategy used by investors to generate income in the form of options premiums. However, there is a misconception that premium received is actually income.

Income is revenue minus cost, as Israelov and Nielsen note. The options premium received is revenue, not income. If and/or when the call is bought back, that cost must be subtracted from the revenue. If the underlying stock moves up in price, that the income is likely to decrease and may even flip to negative number. In those cases, the income is actually negative as costs exceed the original premium received.

Additionally, the tax implications of generating income from options premiums can be complex, further complicating the income generation aspect of this strategy.

While covered calls can be a useful tool for generating income, investors must recognize the inherent risks and limitations associated with this strategy. As noted, it is essential to approach covered calls with a comprehensive understanding of the strategy and its potential outcomes to maximize its benefits and minimize potential losses.

Covered Calls on High Volatility Stocks and Shorter-Dated Options Do Not Provide Higher Yields

Investors often assume that writing covered calls on high volatility stocks and opting for shorter-dated options result in higher yields. This is not always the case.

When trading covered calls on stocks with high volatility, investors may perceive higher premiums as attractive, but the risks associated with these stocks can negate the potential rewards. High volatility means that the stock price is more likely to experience larger price swings, leading to a greater probability of the option being exercised and the investor losing out on potential gains beyond the strike price. Additionally, a high volatility environment might incentivize investors to write options with higher strike prices in the hopes of retaining their stocks if they rally, but this limits income from the covered call strategy.

Shorter-dated options are often assumed to provide higher yields due to the faster rate of time decay (Theta) as the options approach expiration. While it’s true that options with shorter time to expiration generally have higher time decay, this does not always translate to higher overall yields. The lower premiums of shorter-dated options often outweighs the benefits of faster time decay, leading to lower overall yields compared to longer-dated options.

Another factor to consider is transaction costs. When writing shorter-dated covered calls, investors may find themselves undertaking more frequent transactions. This can lead to higher costs, including commission fees and potential bid-ask spread slippage, all of which can eat into the overall return from the covered call strategy.

While high volatility stocks and shorter-dated options might seem attractive to investors looking to earn more from their covered call strategy, the risks and potential downsides can outweigh the benefits. It’s essential for investors to look beyond the perceived high yields and consider other factors, such as stock price movements, implied volatility, and transaction costs, when implementing a covered call strategy.

Time Decay of Written Options Do Not Work In Investors Favor

In the world of options trading, time decay can be a significant factor that affects the returns of investors implementing covered call strategies. Time decay, also known as theta decay, is the measure of the rate of decline in the value of an options contract due to the passage of time. For investors who write covered calls, this can sometimes work against them.

There can be various factors that affect the rate of time decay in options contracts, such as implied volatility (IV) and the proximity of the strike price to the current stock price. For instance, when an option is in-the-money or close to being in-the-money, the rate of time decay may slow down. This may result in a smaller decrease in the option’s value, ultimately working against the investor who has written the covered call. Investors often believe that time decay will consistently work in their favor when writing covered calls. However, this is not always true; the rate of decay depends on the initial price among other factors and selling options at too low of a price is risky.

In short, while time decay is an essential concept in options trading and covered call writing, it does not always work in favor of investors who write covered calls. Careful consideration of other factors such as strike price, stock price movement, and implied volatility should be taken into account to optimize the covered call strategy and manage its risks.

Covered Calls Are Not Appropriate If You Have a Neutral to Moderately Bullish View

Covered calls are a popular options strategy, but there are certain situations where utilizing this strategy may not be appropriate or may limit an investor’s upside potential.

One concern with using a covered call strategy is that it may cap potential gains. When an investor writes a covered call, they are selling the right to buy their shares at a specified price, known as the strike price, before the option expires. If the underlying stock price rises significantly above the strike price, the investor will have to sell their shares at the strike price and miss out on the potential gains above that level. This limits the upside potential of the investment, which may not be desirable for those who have a bullish view on the stock.

It’s also important to consider the risk of share ownership. Because a covered call involves owning the underlying stock, the investor is exposed to any potential decline in the stock’s value. While the premium received from selling the call option can help offset some of this risk, it may not fully protect against a significant drop in the stock price (as noted above). Another factor to consider is the possibility of early assignment. When an investor writes a covered call, they run the risk of the option being exercised before its expiration date. In some cases, investors may benefit from considering alternative strategies. For instance, a neutral view may call for a short straddle strategy rather than a covered call strategy.

In conclusion, while covered calls can be an effective strategy for some investors, they may not be appropriate for those with a neutral or bullish outlook on a stock. It’s essential for investors to carefully assess their goals, risk tolerance, and investment outlook before implementing a covered call strategy.

Covered Calls Are a Contractual Obligation, Not A Plan

It is essential to understand that covered calls are a contractual obligation for the option seller, not merely a plan or intention of the investor. Options are called options because they give the BUYER an option. The seller does NOT have an option though!

When an investor enters into a covered call position, they agree to sell their asset to the call option buyer if the option is exercised. This means the investor is contractually bound to fulfill their obligation, regardless of any change in circumstances or the investor’s financial position. This means that when selling a covered call, investors should be prepared for the possibility of having to sell their underlying asset if their call options are assigned.

Some investors sell covered calls with the thought that “if the stock goes up and gets called at $x price, that’s what I would have done anyways.” This is not true though, as investors often change course, especially based on price. We already discussed forfeiting the upside and other problems, but many investors are not considering the full range of outcomes when selling calls.

When selling covered calls, investors must keep in mind that they are entering into a contractual obligation with potential risks and limitations. It’s essential to approach covered calls with a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved and the potential outcomes of engaging in this strategy.

Covered Calls Do Not Allow You to Buy a Stock at a Discounted Price

A common misconception is that covered calls allow you to buy the underlying stock at a discounted price. The logic is that the stock can be bought at the current price minus the option premium received. This is not necessarily the case, and investors should be aware of the risks and potential drawbacks this strategy entails.

Like many of the above points, the issue here is that stock and option prices move! If the stock moves down (more than the value of the premium received), then investors are getting the stock at a premium rather than a discount (to the current price). Therefore, buying both legs of a covered call is not a great way to enter the stock position.

While covered calls can be a useful strategy for generating income in certain situations, it is a stretch to say that investors can buy a stock at a discounted price using covered calls. As with any investment strategy, investors should approach covered calls with a clear understanding of the associated risks and rewards.

Is India an Emerging Market?

The short answer is: yes, India is an emerging market. There is a much longer answer though.

India has been classified as an emerging market since the inception of the label. It is one of largest emerging markets regardless of what metric is used.

India is the world’s largest democracy, recently became the most populous country, has economically-favorable demographics, and it presents a unique opportunity for investors seeking to capitalize on its expanding economy. Over the past decades, the country has seen significant improvements in various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure, leading to increased investor interest in the region. However, it also faces many challenges and has a long ways to go before it can be classified as a developed market.

India’s Status as an Emerging Market

India is considered an emerging market and has experienced an impressive growth trajectory in the past several decades. Its enormous population, robust economic growth, and abundance of young and educated working professionals make it an attractive investment destination.

Comparison with BRICS Nations

The BRICS economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are known for their rapid pace of development and growth potential. Let’s take a quick look at some key indicators:

  • Economic growth: According to S&P Global Ratings, India stands out as a “star” among emerging market economies, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3% for the 2022-23 fiscal year. In contrast, China’s growth rate is both lower and declining, which occurs as economies grow and mature; countries like Brazil, Russia, and South Africa have faced varying levels of economic challenges.
  • Investment destination: India’s rapidly expanding middle class and ongoing economic reforms have attracted significant foreign investments in recent years, making it a bright spot among emerging markets. This is especially true since investment flows that might have been directed to other emerging markets such as China are increasingly making their way to India. Part of this stems from trade and political frictions between China and other countries, such as the US.
  • Workforce: One of India’s key advantages over other BRICS nations is its young and growing workforce. This demographic potential enables India to capitalize on the increased demand for skilled labor in various industries.

Despite these positive trends, India also faces many challenges. Like other emerging market economies, it must navigate global headwinds such as poverty, corruption, global monetary policy, slowing global growth, and elevated commodity prices.

While India still has some hurdles to overcome, it is truly emerging and its prospects for future growth remain promising (especially when compared to other BRICS nations).

Economic Drivers of India’s Growth

Several key factors have contributed to India’s growth, such as the expansion of the service sector, the investment cycle, and earnings. In this section, we will explore each of these factors in detail.

Services and Manufacturing

India’s economic growth is largely being driven by its strong services sector, which contributes over 60% to the country’s GDP now. This sector includes areas like information technology, telecommunications, and financial services. As a result, India has become a hub for outsourcing services and an attractive destination for global companies.

This is a positive shift away from overreliance on the manufacturing sector, which has driven India’s economy historically. The government has introduced several initiatives, such as the “Make in India” campaign, to boost domestic manufacturing and attract foreign investment.

Investment Cycle

The investment cycle in India has a significant impact on the nation’s economic growth. Factors such as infrastructure development, ease of doing business, and favorable regulations have all contributed to an increase in investments, both domestic and foreign, in the Indian economy. This, in turn, creates a virtuous circle of job creation, income growth, increased productivity, and higher demand, ultimately leading to further expansion of the economy. This strategy served China very well and it may work for India as well.

Household Income

Household income plays an essential role in India’s growth as its growth contributes to increased consumer spending, driving up domestic demand and fueling economic growth. With a growing middle class and a young population, the benefits of higher earnings should lead to increased consumption of goods and services.

Government Policies and Challenges

India is notorious for its bureaucracy, but regulations and corruption are both on the decline.


The government of India has implemented various policies to boost the country’s economic growth. The introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has helped improve financial sector metrics over the past five years.

Indian businesses have thrived in part due to the support of government policies aimed at promoting growth and innovation. However, despite advancements in the regulatory environment, there are challenges that remain, including transparency and ease of doing business.


Investing in infrastructure lies at the heart of India’s growth strategy. The government has outlined ambitious plans to enhance transportation infrastructure, which is vital for economic development. Major projects include the construction of highways, railways, and airports, which should facilitate both regional and international connectivity. As someone who has visited many times, the pace of development is dizzying.

Despite these strides, India faces significant infrastructure challenges that may hinder its progress as an emerging market. For instance, underdeveloped urban transportation systems and inadequate rural infrastructure can lead to unequal growth and limited access to opportunities. Additionally, the large-scale nature of these projects often results in ballooning costs and unforeseen delays.

Indian Stock Market

Indices and Valuations

India has indeed been experiencing growth in its stock market, with key indices such as the Nifty and Sensex reflecting this positive trend. Indian equities have generally been a recipient of foreign investor flows. Thanks to a rising population, economic growth, and market-friendly reforms, India is frequently considered a bright spot among emerging markets1.

As investors have warmed to India, market indices have benefited and led to higher valuations for many companies. This growth has attracted various market participants, both individual and institutional, who seek to capitalize on the performance of Indian equities.


  1. India remains a bright spot among emerging markets

Impact of Covid-19 on India’s Economy

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant effect on economies worldwide, and India was no exception. As an emerging market, India faced unique challenges during this extraordinary time. In the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020, India’s growth rate dropped to 3.1%, which was mainly attributed to the pandemic’s impact on the Indian economy. Despite the tough situation that India faced, the nation’s economy experienced a record rebound.

Foreign Investment in India

India has long attracted foreign direct investment (FDI), as it is considered an emerging market with a lot of potential for growth. The country’s relatively large domestic market and strong economic performance have made it a popular destination for investors worldwide.

Foreign investments have been pouring in through various channels such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and direct investments in sectors like coal, media, and civil aviation. In December 2020, India opened its coal mining sector for non-coal companies, allowing them to bid for coal mines, paving the way for more competition and investments in the industry.

Major financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have highlighted India’s potential and resilience in the face of global economic challenges. According to the World Bank, India is better positioned than other major emerging economies to navigate global headwinds due to its large domestic market and relatively low exposure to international trade. This makes India less susceptible to external economic shocks, as the local demand can cushion the impact. Economic history suggests that pivoting from an export-centric economy to one with more domestic consumption is critical to a nation’s economic development.

Technology and Environmental Factors

Digital Transformation

India is experiencing a rapid digital transformation, thanks to an increasing number of internet subscribers and the widespread availability of smartphones and high-speed connectivity. By September 2018, the country had over 560 million internet subscribers, making it the second-largest market for digital consumers. This trend is expected to continue through 2023 and beyond, providing a solid foundation for the growth of technology-driven industries and services. With a strong focus on digitization, India is making great strides in areas such as e-commerce, digital payments, online education, and telemedicine.

Embracing Green Energy

India is not only focused on technological advancements but also making conscious efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and embrace green energy solutions. Recognizing the environmental challenges and climate change impacts, the country aims to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future. India is aggressively working towards expanding its renewable energy capacities to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and minimize emission levels. By 2030, the country plans to attain 40% of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources, thus actively contributing to global climate goals. The World Economic Forum has identified India as a key player in promoting green energy initiatives in comparison to other countries, such as Latin America and Africa. It may not all be altruistic though, as India is an energy importer and generating more energy at home will lower import costs.


India is firmly in the emerging market camp today, but who knows what the future holds as it is expected to be one of the top three economic powers in the world over the next 10-15 years. The growth forecast for India looks promising. The country’s economic security policy has evolved as India, Vietnam, and Indonesia seek to strike a balance between supply chain resilience and the risks posed by China. This approach allows India to harness the opportunities of global economic integration while safeguarding against potential threats. However, as the nation advances economically and becomes the third-largest consumer market by 2030, new challenges are expected to develop. Issues such as obesity, non-communicable diseases, and pollution will need to be addressed to ensure the well-being of India’s population. In short, India’s prospects are bright with positive growth forecasts and an increasing global presence. However, the nation must also navigate the challenges that come with rapid economic expansion, finding ways to foster development while ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for its citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TransUnion Legit?

The short answer is: yes, TransUnion is a legitimate company. Many people ask “Is TransUnion legit” because they received unexpected mail or communications from TransUnion. These mailings are often result of company experiencing a data breach and hiring TransUnion to contact affected people. TransUnion may also contact you if there was an event on your credit report, such as opening a credit card or applying for loan.

TransUnion Is Legit

Fortunately, my research indicates that TransUnion is a legitimate company and their identity theft service is frequently provided by companies to customers whose data has been exposed.

Although TransUnion is legit, there are many scams run by people purporting to be TransUnion. Always use caution when corresponding to unsolicited communication. If in doubt, contact TransUnion directly at one of their publicly-listed phone numbers which can be found here: https://www.transunion.com/customer-support/support-options.

TransUnion: An Overview

TransUnion is one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States (along with Equifax and Experian), which play a significant role in the financial landscape by providing consumers, businesses, and financial institutions with credit-related information and services. Each of these companies offer tools to assist individuals in understanding and managing their credit, as well as supplying businesses with data about these consumers. There are some upstarts beyond the big 3, such as Kroll.

TransUnion was founded in 1968 and now maintains credit files on more than 200 million US consumers(!). It is considered a major player in the credit reporting sector and a reliable source for traditional credit-related information.

The core services offered by TransUnion include credit reporting, credit monitoring, and identity theft protection. TransUnion collects data from various sources such as lenders, credit card companies, and public records, which help determine a person’s credit score. This score plays a factor in individual’s ability to secure loans, credit cards, and the interest rate that they’ll pay.

When it comes to business services, TransUnion offers a wide range of tools and analytics to help businesses mitigate risks, better understand consumers, and optimize their operations. Some of these products include fraud detection services, collections management, and customer acquisition strategies.

TransUnion claims to adhere to strict data security measures and maintains a robust privacy policy to safeguard the sensitive financial information of consumers and businesses alike, although there have been some high-profile hacks against credit bureaus in the past.

Credit Reporting Services

TransUnion provides credit reports and credit scores to individuals and businesses.

A credit report is a detailed account of an individual’s credit history, which includes their personal information, debt details, and payment history. Consumers and financial institutions are encouraged to periodically review credit reports to ensure accuracy. The information gathered by TransUnion is factored into credit scores and help lenders assess the risk of lending money to a specific individual.

Accurate data is important and TransUnion has expressed a committed to providing correct credit information. They regularly update consumer credit reports by gathering information from numerous sources, such as financial institutions, government agencies, and public records. This should help ensure that the most up-to-date and accurate credit information is available to those who rely on it.

One key aspect of credit reports is documentation of an individual’s payment history. Payment history is a major determinant of a person’s credit score, as timely payments are thought to indicate that future payments will be made on time. TransUnion compiles payment information from various sources, including credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and other financial service providers. This data is used to document an individual’s track record of making timely debt payments over time.

In summary, TransUnion is a legitimate credit reporting agency.

Identity Theft Protection and Fraud Prevention

Beyond credit reporting, TransUnion also provides various services related to identity theft protection and fraud prevention. Their services aim to help individuals safeguard personal and financial information from potential cyber threats and fraudulent activities.

Fraud Alert vs Credit Freeze

TransUnion offers two key options for individuals seeking to protect themselves against identity theft and fraud: Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes.

Fraud Alerts are notifications placed on an individual’s credit report, which inform potential lenders or creditors to take extra precautions before granting credit in their name. This measure ensures the individual’s identity is verified, preventing unauthorized access to their credit information. TransUnion’s Identity Protection service monitors credit reports for potential fraud and allows users to place, remove, or renew alerts as needed.

Credit Freezes offer an extra layer of protection by restricting access to an individual’s credit report altogether. When a credit freeze is in place, potential lenders, creditors, or other entities cannot perform credit checks or open new accounts in the individual’s name. This can significantly reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. TransUnion’s True Identity service affords users the ability to lock and unlock their credit reports with just a click, granting them full control over their personal information.

TransUnion provides these identity theft protection and fraud prevention services in response to the constantly evolving digital landscape. With options like Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes, users can better control their credit information and mitigate potential threats.

Comparing TransUnion with Equifax and Experian

TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are the three major credit bureaus responsible for providing credit reports and scores to consumers in the United States. Comparing these companies can help you understand the nuances between their offered services.

Data Reporting Differences

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion may have access to different credit information, which accounts for the variations in credit scores among them1. For instance, Equifax and Experian note your employer’s name as part of your employment history while TransUnion provides more specific details, such as your title and employment dates2. Due to these differences, credit scores should be treated as estimations rather than absolute numbers.

Credit Monitoring Services & Pricing

When it comes to monitoring services, both TransUnion and Equifax offer 3-in-1 credit monitoring reports and charge a monthly fee of $14.95. TransUnion provides a 30-day free trial, whereas Equifax does not offer a trial period3. Experian, on the other hand, charges $39.95 for a similar service3. Monthly fees and trial offers may vary and should be verified to ensure accurate up-to-date pricing.

Credit Scoring Models

“FICO” is the most popular credit score model used by all three bureaus4. It consists of five factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. Among these factors, payment history and amounts owed are the most influential4.

It’s worth noting that all three credit bureaus are reputable and play a crucial role in the credit industry. Comparing their services and understanding the differences between these companies will enable you to make informed decisions regarding your credit management.


  1. https://www.merchantmaverick.com/the-complete-guide-to-credit-bureaus-equifax-vs-experian-vs-transunion/
  2. https://www.crediful.com/equifax-transunion-experian/
  3. http://recomparison.com/comparisons/100375/equifax-vs-transunion-vs-experian/ 2
  4. https://blog.sfgate.com/lifestyle/2021/03/16/transunion-vs-equifax-vs-experian-what-you-need-to-know/ 2

TransUnion’s Customer Support and Services

TransUnion is considered a legitimate source of credit information. However, unsolicited communications may cause recipients to ask: Is TransUnion legit? This is where their customer support and services can be valuable.

As mentioned above, TrueIdentity is a service offered by TransUnion to help customers monitor and protect their credit information. The service enables users to lock their credit report, preventing unauthorized access and potential identity theft. Moreover, it provides customers with real-time alerts whenever there are changes or inquiries on their credit reports.

TransUnion’s customer service department can be contacted through various channels. Their representatives are available over the phone on Mondays to Fridays between 7 am and 6 pm to assist customers with any issues they may encounter with their services. Additionally, clients can reach out directly to TransUnion via its website for further assistance and information.

In terms of customer reviews, TransUnion receives both positive and negative feedback. Some users appreciate the company’s credit monitoring services and free annual credit score, while others note discrepancies between TransUnion reports and those of other credit bureaus. It is essential for customers to consider various opinions when assessing the quality of TransUnion’s customer support and services.

Is TransUnion Legit? A Note on Phishing

When visiting the TransUnion website, it is crucial to identify whether the website is legitimate or a potential phishing attempt.

In order to ensure the URL is authentic, always double-check the web address before entering any personal information. A legitimate TransUnion URL will start with “https://www.transunion.com“. Watch out for any typos or unfamiliar extensions which are often used in phishing scams to deceive users.

For extra precaution, one can manually type the URL in the address bar or use a trusted search engine to find the TransUnion website. Saving the verified website as a bookmark can also help avoid falling for a fake website in the future.

Phishing attacks can also be carried out through emails or text messages that appear to be from TransUnion. To safeguard against such threats, be cautious of any unsolicited messages asking for personal information or to click on suspicious links. It is recommended to ignore such messages and contact TransUnion’s customer support or visit their official website to verify the legitimacy of the communication.

Enhance your online safety by updating your browser and operating system regularly. This ensures that you have the latest security patches and features to protect your information. Additionally, make sure to use a reputable antivirus software and be cautious while downloading attachments or clicking on links from unknown sources.

In summary, navigating TransUnion’s website securely is essential for protecting your sensitive information. Always verify the legitimacy of the website and stay vigilant against phishing scams, ensuring a safe and stress-free experience.

Regulations and Endorsements of TransUnion

One of the key legislations that TransUnion adheres to is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Enacted in 2003, FACTA aims to enhance the accuracy of credit report information and help prevent identity theft. By following the provisions of FACTA, TransUnion is required to ensure that the credit data it provides is both accurate and reliable, fostering consumer confidence in its services.

In addition to regulatory compliance, TransUnion is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust. The BBB evaluates businesses based on factors such as transparency, responsiveness, and ethical business practices. TransUnion’s commitment to meeting the organization’s standards has led to its recognition by the BBB, further enhancing its legitimacy in the eyes of consumers.

Adherence to compliance regulations (such as FACTA) and endorsements (by the BBB among others) demonstrates that TransUnion is a legitimate and reliable choice for credit-related needs.

How Third Parties Use TransUnion’s Information

TransUnion provides information to various third parties. These third parties include lenders, landlords, and employers who rely on TransUnion’s data for a variety of reasons. Below are a few examples of how third parties use this data.

Lenders use TransUnion’s credit information to evaluate loan applicants. The data provided by TransUnion assists lenders in determining the risk and likelihood of repayment by borrowers. This information plays a crucial role in deciding whether an applicant is granted a loan, as well as influencing the interest rates and loan terms.

In the mortgage industry, TransUnion’s data is utilized to assess applicants for home loans. By analyzing the credit history and financial background of applicants, mortgage providers can better understand the likelihood of timely mortgage payments and minimize the risk of default.

Landlords can also benefit from TransUnion’s information when screening potential tenants. Accessing a tenant’s credit report helps landlords to evaluate the renter’s financial stability and payment history, ensuring they will be able to meet rent obligations and maintain the property. This information is particularly helpful in making informed decisions regarding rental agreements and mitigating the chances of selecting tenants who pose financial risks.

Employers may do employment screening which occasionally involves reviewing applicants’ credit information. Although this practice is less common, some employers use credit data as part of the hiring process to assess an applicant’s financial responsibility, especially in positions that involve managing financial resources or handling sensitive information. It is worth noting that employers must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations when accessing and using credit information for employment purposes.

TransUnion’s services are vital to various entities in making informed decisions about individuals’ creditworthiness and financial stability. Ensuring accurate and up-to-date credit information is essential in maintaining trust and credibility within the credit reporting industry.

Common Concerns and Complaints

TransUnion has its fair share of consumer complaints though. While it plays a significant role in the financial lives of many Americans, the company has faced criticism for various reasons.

One major issue surrounding TransUnion is the significant increase in complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). According to a CBS News report, complaints about TransUnion totaled 186,802 in a single year, which is an increase of 183% from the previous year. This amounted to 23% of all complaints Americans filed with the CFPB in that time frame.

Another cause for concern revolves around a lawsuit filed by the CFPB against TransUnion. The agency accused the company of being “unwilling or incapable” of operating within the confines of the law. In fact, the CFPB said it received nearly 150,000 complaints about TransUnion in 2021 alone. The CFPB director described TransUnion as an “out-of-control repeat offender that believes it is above the law.”

Common issues include credit report inaccuracies, difficulty in contacting customer service, and trouble disputing information. It is important to note that while these concerns and complaints exist, TransUnion remains a legitimate credit bureau involved in providing credit information to consumers and businesses. Unfortunately, TransUnion is collecting data on us consumers regardless of whether we consent to it and so we are stuck with dealing with the credit bureaus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ExperianIDWorks Legit?

Companies are hacked every day and every few months I receive a notification that my personal data has been compromised in a some company’s breach. These notifications often come with an offer for credit monitoring or protection.

I once received a suspicious looking offer from Experian IdentityWorks (also known as ExperianIDWorks and I may use the names interchangeably). The offer was related to a data breach at a financial institution that I used. Although I had heard of Experian, I was not familiar with their credit monitoring product. Phishing remains a serious threat these days, so I decided to do some research to see: is ExperianIDWorks legit?

ExperianIDWorks Is Legit

Fortunately, my research indicates that ExperianIDWorks is a legitimate service and Experian IdentityWorks is a service frequently provided by companies to customers whose data has been exposed.

When considering the legitimacy of this service, it is important to note that Equifax data breach settlement emails offering a free membership for Experian IdentityWorks have been confirmed as legitimate. That being said, consumers should take steps to verify that any communication from Experian is indeed from Experian (and not a scammer posing as Experian).


The company known as Experian is result of many mergers and acquisitions, but existed in one form or another for over 125 years. Their services include notification and call center support, identity theft restoration and consultation, and credit and identity monitoring services provided to consumers on behalf of their clients. However, some people (including myself) have reported concerns about the company asking for sensitive information which has raised questions about the authenticity of the service. This is a common question about credit-related companies, such as Kroll and LifeLock.

What is Experian IdentityWorks?

Experian IdentityWorks is a comprehensive identity theft protection and credit monitoring service provided by Experian, one of the largest credit bureaus in the world. The service is designed to help individuals safeguard their personal information, monitor their credit, and detect potential fraudulent activities.

IdentityWorks offers various plans, but the one offered by companies to the victims of data breaches seems to fall between the free and premium plans. My research indicates that the benefits offered to victims is better than the free plan, but not as comprehensive as the premium plan.

Features of ExperianIDWorks

Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring is the main feature of Experian IdentityWorks and is important to have if one’s identity is stolen. This service alerts victims to new accounts or loan, credit inquiries (related to applying for credit cards, rental applications, etc.), or judgements/liens.

Daily Credit Reports

A daily credit report is probably overkill for most people, but an Experian IdentityWorks provides daily access to your credit history including new accounts and/or delinquencies.

Identity Theft Insurance

Experian claims it will reimburse up to $1 million for “certain expenses” in the event that a subscribers identity is compromised. Its not clear to me whether the insurance policy is any good, but they offer it as a benefit.

Identity Restoration

The identity restoration services appear to be a solid benefit. The Experian website advertises: “We provide full-service Identity Restoration in the event of identity theft. Even if you simply suspect a problem, a certified Identity Restoration specialist will work with you to identify and resolve the issue.”

User Reviews and Testimonials

Experian IdentityWorks offers US-based 24/7 customer support to its customers. According to user reviews, Experian’s customer service team is knowledgeable and can provide useful information to resolve issues. However, some users have reported that customer service could be improved in terms of response times and smoothness of communication. I personally find platforms like twitter or reddit good for finding reviews of Experian IdentityWorks.

Is ExperianIDWorks Legit?

In short, yes, ExperianIDWorks is legitimate. My own experience mirrors others in that I was not sure why they were contacting me or requesting personal information. If you receive something from ExperianIDWorks, a company was likely hacked and your information was possibly compromised. Hacked companies (or their insurers) typically pay ExperianIDWorks (or Kroll Monitoring or LifeLock are other popular one) to reach out to affected consumers and offer ExperianIDWorks. If you receive something from ExperianIDWorks, I would double-check to ensure it is actually ExperianIDWorks contacting you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Equifax Breach Settlement Legit? Yes, But Be Careful

The Equifax data breach of 2017 exposed the personal data of millions of customers, leading to a significant settlement agreement of up to $425 million to help those affected. Many consumers are wondering: is the Equifax breach settlement legit and am I entitled to compensation or benefits. Unfortunately, scammers have attempted to exploit the confusion around the situation by creating false opportunities for settlement funds.

So, is the Equifax breach settlement legit? Yes, the Equifax breach settlement is legit, but there are many scammers pretending to be Equifax. So consumers should be careful before claiming any offers from Equifax. According to the FTC, legitimate emails about the settlement will come from info@equifaxbreachsettlement.com. If you’re not sure if a communication is real or fake, the FTC has provided the following phone number: 1-833-759-2982. It is crucial for individuals to understand the legitimacy of communications they receive regarding the Equifax data breach settlement. By staying informed and vigilant, potential victims can protect themselves from scams and false claims while accessing any available compensation and support.

Addressing the legitimacy of the Equifax data breach settlement, the Federal Trade Commission confirms that payments for out-of-pocket losses, time spent claims, and other cash benefits have started to be disbursed. Consumers can file a claim directly at the above link as well.

Understanding the Equifax Breach Settlement

In 2017, Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, experienced a significant data breach that exposed the personal information of approximately 147 million people. The breach resulted from hackers exploiting a website application vulnerability, leading to the exposure of sensitive data such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses1.

The Equifax data breach settlement2 was established to provide compensation for those affected by the breach, with Equifax agreeing to spend up to $425 million to help the people impacted. The settlement covers various types of claims, including out-of-pocket losses, time spent dealing with the breach, and other cash benefits. As of December 2022, the settlement administrator has started sending out payments to claimants3.

The compensation amounts may vary for each individual, with some people receiving payments of $5.21, $22.82, or $17.614. This variation in payment amounts has led to confusion among the recipients. However, it is essential to understand that the differences in settlement payments may be due to the varying levels of impact the breach had on each person.

Claimants can expect to receive their payments through the method they initially chose, which could be a check, prepaid card, or PayPal payment3. Keep an eye out for your payment if you filed a claim for the Equifax data breach settlement.

As part of the settlement, Equifax has also implemented measures to improve its data security and strengthen its “my Equifax” service for customers. The focus on enhancing the “my Equifax” service is essential as it helps users monitor their credit reports and respond to potential issues in a timely manner.

To conclude, the Equifax data breach settlement is legitimate and provides compensation for those affected by the breach. As a user of the “my Equifax” service, it is crucial to stay informed about the settlement proceedings, your compensation, and any updates in the security measures implemented by Equifax.


  1. https://news.trendmicro.com/2022/10/19/equifax-data-breach-settlement-legit-or-scam/
  2. https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/refunds/equifax-data-breach-settlement
  3. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/equifax-settlement/ 2
  4. https://piunikaweb.com/2022/12/21/difference-in-equifax-breach-settlement-payment-leads-to-confusion/

Steps to Protect Yourself

Credit Monitoring and Fraud Protection

Taking advantage of credit monitoring services is an essential step to safeguard your personal information. The Equifax data breach settlement provides access to free credit monitoring for affected individuals. By monitoring your credit report, you can identify any suspicious activity and take appropriate action. Those who do not trust Equifax anymore, may consider a service like Kroll Monitoring.

For added protection, consider fraud protection services. These services monitor your personal information on the internet and alert you if anything unusual is detected. This can include potential identity theft, unauthorized credit inquiries, or other forms of fraud. Fraud protection services can help you stay proactive in protecting your personal information from potential threats.

Identity Theft Measures

In the wake of the Equifax data breach, it’s crucial to take additional identity theft measures. One important step to consider is placing a fraud alert on your credit file. This serves as a warning to potential creditors that someone might be attempting to use your identity fraudulently. Creditors will then take extra precautions to verify your identity before extending credit.

Another measure is to freeze your credit. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. While this requires you to unfreeze your credit when you need to apply for credit or services, it’s a powerful tool in preventing unauthorized access to your credit information.

Regularly checking your credit reports is also essential in detecting any signs of identity theft. Be sure to review the reports carefully and report any inaccuracies or signs of fraud immediately.

Taking these steps to protect yourself not only makes it more challenging for thieves to access and misuse your personal information but can also provide you with greater peace of mind. Always stay vigilant and proactive in protecting your identity and credit in the face of ongoing threats and breaches.

Claiming Benefits from the Settlement

Determining Eligibility

In order to claim benefits from the Equifax data breach settlement, individuals must first determine their eligibility. The eligibility criteria mainly include being affected by the data breach that occurred in September 2017, in which personal information, such as Social Security numbers, was exposed. To check whether your information was impacted by the breach, visit the official Equifax Data Breach Settlement website and use their provided look-up tool.

Submitting a Claim

Once eligibility is confirmed, affected individuals can submit a claim to receive the settlement benefits. These benefits may include:

  • Reimbursement cash payments for time spent during the extended claims period recovering from fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of personal information caused by the data breach, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour1.
  • Compensation for financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of identity theft or fraud stemming from the breach1.

The claim process entails completing a form on the official website. Note that the initial deadline for filing a claim was January 22, 2020. However, individuals can still file a claim for expenses incurred between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024, in relation to the breach2. It’s crucial to avoid making exaggerated or false claims when submitting a claim for compensation, as this may lead to legal repercussions.

The “My Equifax” service also provides individuals access to free credit monitoring and identity theft protection, which can be helpful in safeguarding your data and personal information from potential misuse in the future.


  1. Home | Equifax Data Breach Settlement 2
  2. Equifax Data Breach Settlement | Federal Trade Commission

Potential Red Flags and Scams

Fake Websites and Emails

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned that con artists have created fake websites resembling the official Equifax settlement website, aiming to lure some of the 147 million potential claimants. With the rise of phishing scams, it is crucial to be vigilant when discerning the legitimacy of websites and emails related to the Equifax Data Breach Settlement.

To avoid falling victim to fake websites, always ensure the site’s web address matches the official Equifax settlement URL. Be cautious when clicking on links provided in emails or social media messages claiming to be related to the settlement.

Identity Theft

Another area of concern stems from the potential for identity theft. Cybercriminals may attempt to exploit the data exposed in the Equifax breach further. It is essential to monitor your credit reports and personal information regularly, as well as take advantage of the free credit monitoring offered as part of the settlement.

Victims of the breach should implement robust security measures, such as using two-factor authentication for online accounts, and staying informed of any unusual activity or unauthorized transactions.

Fraudulent Claims

Scammers may also capitalize on the Equifax breach by making fraudulent claims in the names of affected individuals. It is important to ensure that any claims made for compensation are submitted only through the official channels and legitimate processes.

To safeguard against fraudulent claims, regularly check the status of your claim and be on the lookout for any suspicious activities. Additionally, be cautious of callers or emails requesting information about your Equifax claim or personal data that may be used to impersonate you.

By staying vigilant and informed, victims of the Equifax breach can better protect themselves from potential scams and other risks associated with the settlement process.

Additional Resources

In response to the Equifax data breach settlement, the three nationwide credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, are currently offering free weekly access to credit reports online at annualcreditreport.com. Focusing on the “My Equifax” service, Equifax is committed to providing up to seven free reports per year until 2026, ensuring consumers maintain informed and secure control over their credit information.

For information regarding the Equifax settlement, individuals can contact the dedicated phone number, 1-833-759-2982. As part of the settlement process, consumers who signed up for credit monitoring services need to activate them using an activation code. This code should be sent via email alerts.

Given the seriousness of the breach and potential impacts, it is essential to remain cautious and monitor for signs of identity theft. This can include unauthorized charges on bank account statements, unexpected credit reports activity, or unfamiliar accounts opened in your name. In case of any suspicious activity, promptly contact the relevant financial institutions and place a fraud alert on your credit.

Equifax also offers the “My Equifax” service, which provides U.S. consumers access to manage their Equifax credit files, request freezes and alerts, and receive assistance in identity theft incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is LifeLock Legit?

Companies are hacked every day and every few months I receive a notification that my personal data has been compromised in a some company’s breach. These notifications often come with an offer for credit monitoring or protection.

In the past, I have received suspicious looking offers from LifeLock. Although vaguely familiar with the name, I didn’t know that LifeLock had credit monitoring service. Phishing remains a serious threat these days, so I decided to do some research on LifeLock to see if LifeLock is legit.

LifeLock Is Legit

Fortunately, my research indicates that LifeLock is a legitimate company and that LifeLock is a service frequently provided by companies to customers whose data has been exposed.

That being said, consumers should take steps to verify that any communication from LifeLock is indeed from LifeLock (and not a scammer posing as LifeLock).

History: Norton and LifeLock Partnership

LifeLock has been around since 2005 and was acquired by Symantec (who makes the Norton security software) in 2017. The partnership combines Norton’s security expertise with LifeLock’s identity theft protection to create a comprehensive solution for online threats. LifeLock experienced quite a bit of controversy prior to their acquisition, but things seem more stable now.

Features of LifeLock Standard

LifeLock offers several plans at different price points. It seems that the LifeLock Standard Plan is the one most commonly offered to victims of data breaches (when a state or company is hacked).

LifeLock Identity Alert System (Identity and SSN Alerts)

This benefit is “… the foundation for all LifeLock services. We monitor for fraudulent use of a member’s Social Security number, name, address, or date of birth in applications for credit and services. The patented system sends alert by text, phone, email, or mobile app.

Privacy Monitor

The “Privacy Monitor Assistant” scans the websites of popular data brokers for your personal information and will request the opt-out and/or removal of your personal data. This seems to be a one-time scan that is repeated every 90 days, rather than an ongoing scan.

Dark Web Monitoring

In addition to credit monitoring, LifeLock also provides dark web monitoring. The dark web is a part of the internet that’s not indexed by search engines and often used for illegal activities, including buying and selling stolen personal information. Dark web monitoring service scans various databases, forums, and other platforms on the dark web, searching for your personal information. If your data is found, LifeLock will notify you, allowing you to take necessary measures and protect yourself from potential misuse of your information.

Stolen Funds Reimbursement

One of the notable features offered by LifeLock is the stolen funds reimbursement. If you fall victim to identity theft, LifeLock can help recover your lost funds up to a certain limit, depending on your plan ($25,000 under the Standard). This feature is particularly important for providing financial assistance when you need it most.

One-Bureau Credit Monitoring

LifeLock offers credit monitoring services, which track your credit reports from one of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Monitoring your credit reports is crucial in detecting potential signs of identity theft, as it can alert you to unauthorized credit inquiries, newly opened accounts, or changes to your personal information, such as your name or address. By partnering with these credit bureaus, LifeLock helps ensure users get timely alerts and can take action to minimize the impact of potential identity theft.

Lost Wallet Protection

In the case that you lose credit cards, government documents, IDs, and so on, LifeLock will attempt to help you cancel what needs to be cancelled and replace what can be replaced.

US Based Identity Restoration Specialists

If a LifeLock subscriber’s identity is stolen, LifeLock has identity restoration specialists whose job it is is to help the victim mitigate the risks and help restore the victims identity. LifeLock highlights that these people are in the US rather than a foreign call center.

USPS Address Change Verification

I believe USPS already provides this service, so I am not sure why this is highlighted as a benefit. As I’ve noted in another post, many of the benefits that these credit monitoring companies offer can be obtained for free.

Coverage for Lawyers and Experts

I’m not 100% clear how this part works, but the LifeLock website states, “If you become a victim of identity theft while a LifeLock member, we will provide the necessary lawyers and experts if needed to help resolve your case, up to $1 million.” Its not clear how the $1 million is determined if LifeLock is the one providing the “lawyers and experts.”

LifeLock Mobile App

LifeLock offers a user-friendly Identity Theft Protection Mobile App packed with features to help you stay protected against the growing threat of identity theft. The app is available for both Android users on the Google Play Store and iOS users on the App Store.

With the LifeLock app, identity theft protection is in your pocket. The app can detect a wide range of threats and send notifications straight to your mobile device if any suspicious activities are detected. It serves as the foundation of all LifeLock identity theft protection services, providing users with convenience and peace of mind. The LifeLock mobile app brings identity theft protection to your fingertips by merging technology and convenience. By making it easy to monitor your personal information, the app is a useful tool for maintaining proper control of your digital identity.

In addition to monitoring your credit, the LifeLock app also lets you check credit scores from three major credit bureaus. You can even receive alerts whenever your score changes, ensuring that you stay updated on your financial health. The app also offers tips on how to improve your score.

User Reviews and Testimonials

During my research on LifeLock, I came across varying opinions about the legitimacy of their services. Some users on the Better Business Bureau® website mentioned concerns about providing their Social Security number to LifeLock, expressing suspicion about their A+ rating claims.

While browsing Reddit, I found a post where a user received a letter from Medical Group offering complimentary identity monitoring services from LifeLock. However, a common concern (and one that I share) is whether to provide one’s social security number to credit monitoring companies. LifeLock itself has been hacked in the past!

Is LifeLock Legit?

In short, yes, LifeLock is legitimate. My own experience mirrors others in that I was not sure why they were contacting me or requesting personal information. If you receive something from LifeLock, a company was likely hacked and your information was possibly compromised. Hacked companies (or their insurers) typically pay LifeLock (or Kroll Monitoring is another popular one) to reach out to affected consumers and offer LifeLock. If you receive something from LifeLock, I would double-check to ensure it is actually LifeLock contacting you.


VTI is one of the largest ETFs and is a core holding of many portfolios, while VOOG is a popular “factor” ETF. In this context, factors are quantitative characteristics that index providers assign to stocks. In this case, VOOG targets growth stocks (as they are defined by the index provider). Even though VTI and VOOG play different roles in a portfolio, many investors compare the two funds in order to determine whether they should tilt their portfolio towards a factor or to benchmark a factor’s performance. Please read on for a comparison of VOOG vs VTI.

A quick reminder that this site does NOT provide investment recommendations. Fund comparisons (such as this one) are not conducted to identify the “best” fund (since that will vary from investor to investor based on investor-specific factors). Rather, these fund comparison posts are designed to identify and distinguish between the fund details that matter versus the ones that don’t.

The Short Answer

VOOG only owns large-cap stocks that are classified as growth stocks. VTI owns a more diverse portfolio of all market caps and investment styles. Historical performance has been similar, but will depend on how the growth factor performs moving forward.

The Long Answer

Historical Performance: VOOG vs VTI

Since their common inception in 2010, performance has been relatively similar with an annualized difference of roughly 1.5%. This has compounded over time though and the cumulative performance differential is about 90%!

As the VOOG vs VTI chart shows, the growth factor has really outperformed the broader market since their common inception. However, this did change in 2022 as lines begin to converge again. It is anyone’s guess whether growth or value will perform better in the future.

Differences Between VOOG and VTI

The primary difference between these two funds is that VOOG tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Growth Index, while VTI tracks the broader CRSP US Total Market Index.

Geographic Exposure

Both VOOG and VTI hold essentially 100% US stocks, so I will not dig into country exposures or market classification here. For all intents and purposes, the two funds have identical country exposures.

Market Cap Exposure

Overall, the market cap exposures of VOOG and VTI are relatively similar.

Large Cap91%72%
Mid Cap10%20%
Small Cap0%9%
Source: ThoughtfulFinance.com, Morningstar (as of 4/30/2023)

Sector Weights

There are some significant differences in sector weights, which makes sense based on the fact that VOOG is targeting the growth factor and some sectors meet the growth factor criteria more easily.

Basic Materials2.14%2.56%
Consumer Cyclical9.51%10.39%
Financial Services7.00%12.79%
Real Estate0.97%3.29%
Communication Services7.11%7.61%
Consumer Defensive7.29%7.13%
Health Care18.89%14.75%
Source: ThoughtfulFinance.com, Morningstar (as of 4/30/2023)


VOOG’s expense ratio is .10%, while VTI’s expense ratio is .03%. Yes, VOOG is 3x more expensive than VTI, but we’re talking about 7 basis points! This in an non-issue in my opinion.

Transaction Costs

ETFs are free to trade at many brokers and custodians, so both VOOG and VTI should be free to trade in most cases. Additionally, these funds are among the largest ETFs and are very liquid. The bid-ask spread of both VOOG and VTI is very low, so individual investor trades will not generally be large enough to “move” the market.

Tax Efficiency & Capital Gain Distributions

ETFs are typically more tax-efficient than mutual funds, due to their ability to avoid realizing capital gains through like-kind redemptions (a process that is beyond the scope of this post). Neither VOOG nor VTI has ever made a capital gains distribution (nor do I expect them to moving forward). Thus, these funds are about as tax-efficient as any fund can be and either fund is appropriate in taxable accounts.

Final Thoughts: VOOG vs VTI

Both funds are great ETFs that do what they are designed to do. Generally speaking, I do not think factor ETFs should be the core of a portfolio. For a core position, I would personally choose VTI every time. However, investors looking for a satellite position in order to tilt their portfolio towards growth could do a lot worse than using VOOG (although some may get similar results with something like VUG). At the end of the day, these two funds are not necessarily comparable because they play very different roles in a portfolio.

Curious readers who want to read about a nearly identical ETF can read my comparison of VOOG vs VUG here.

QQQ vs NASDAQ: QQQ ETF vs Nasdaq Composite Index

QQQ is one of the largest, most popular, and most liquid ETFs. The NASDAQ Composite Index is one of the most popular and most-watched indices. Interestingly, “the Q’s” does not track the NASDAQ Composite Index (“the Nasdaq”); QQQ tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index. In other words, “The NASDAQ” Composite Index is referred to in the news and displayed on websites/TV, while the NASDAQ 100 Index seems to be the benchmark for more investable funds and strategies. Despite their similar names, a comparison of the NASDAQ vs QQQ reveals some major differences.

The NASDAQ and QQQ have very different compositions, slightly different weights and exposures, and performance differences have reflected that. It is important to note that QQQ is an investable ETF, while the Nasdaq Composite is an index rather than investment vehicle.

A reminder that these are simply examples as this site does NOT provide investment recommendations.

Historical Performance: the NASDAQ vs QQQ

While the Nasdaq index goes back to 1985, QQQ was launched in 1999. Since that time, QQQ has outperformed the NASDAQ by .7% annually. In other words, the “Q’s” have beaten the headline Nasdaq index by a small margin, although the cumulative performance difference is a nearly 115%!

However, there have been periods when the Nasdaq index has beaten QQQ as well. For instance, from inception through 2003, the QQQ’s had an annualized return of -6.75% versus -3.4% for the Nasdaq composite index.

Those looking to evaluate performance history before the 2000s should compare the index performance of these ETFs’ benchmarks and may want to read our post on the Nasdaq 100 vs Nasdaq Composite.

Investors looking for a lower cost version of QQQ may want to research QQQM and/or read my post comparing QQQM vs QQQ. Investors looking a mutual fund version of the NASDAQ should read my comparison of QQQ vs FNCMX.

Differences between the NASDAQ and QQQ

Overall, QQQ and the Nasdaq composite are relatively similar, since they are both based on the same universe of stocks. The NASDAQ has approximately 3,589 constituent stocks (as of 3/31/2023), while QQQ owns roughly 100 stocks. The NASDAQ site publishes the index methodologies for both the Composite and 100.

Geographic Exposure

Substantially all (95%+) of QQQ and the Nasdaq composite index is composed of US-based companies, so I will not include the usual tables of countries, market classification, and so on.

Market Cap Exposure

QQQ holds the 100 largest stocks on the NASDAQ exchange (excluding financials), so it has a much larger weighting to large-caps than the NASDAQ which tracks the Composite Index. However, both the Nasdaq composite and QQQ use weighting methodologies based on market-cap, so large-caps dominate the performance of each.

Below is an estimate of the market cap exposure as of 11/28/2022.

Large Cap73%93%
Mid Cap16%7%
Small Cap10%0%
Source: ThoughtfulFinance.com, Morningstar

Sector Weights

Given that the NASDAQ is a much broader index than QQQ, it is not surprising that the NASDAQ represents more sectors and is less concentrated than QQQ. Below are the sector weightings of the two, as of 11/29/2022.

Basic Materials0.39%0.00%
Consumer Cyclical14.17%14.25%
Financial Services5.53%0.85%
Real Estate1.23%0.00%
Communication Services13.18%15.25%
Consumer Defensive5.08%7.22%
Source: ThoughtfulFinance.com, Morningstar

Final Thoughts: the NASDAQ vs QQQ

The decision of whether to invest in QQQ or a fund that tracks the Nasdaq Composite Index comes down to whether an investor wants a more fund that is more concentrated in large-cap and tech or a more diversified portfolio. As the chart of the NASDAQ vs QQQ shows, QQQ has done better historically although this may not hold true moving forward (especially if tech and/or large-caps fall out of favor).

Venture Capital vs Growth Equity

Venture Capital vs Growth Equity

Venture capital and growth equity are two related asset classes that are sometimes difficult to distinguish from one another due to inconsistent definitions. Like many investment topics, different definitions are used by different people when comparing venture capital vs growth equity. I hope that the below can help investors as they think about how they want to differentiate between the two asset classes.

Simple Definitions of Venture Capital and Growth Equity

Venture capital focuses on early-stage companies that possess strong growth potential that may also carry heightened risks (due to the unproven nature of their products or services). Traditionally, venture capital firms take a minority stake in these startups and provide guidance to help them achieve success.

Growth equity typically refers to investments made in companies that are further along in their development with a proven business model and more stable revenues. Growth equity investments often facilitate accelerated growth through expanding operations, entering new markets, or consummating strategic acquisitions.

In short, both venture capital and growth equity represent investments into private companies, but at different stages of growth. Venture capital generally focuses on earlier-stage companies and growth equity generally focused on later-stage or mature companies.

Understanding Venture Capital and Growth Equity

Venture Capital

Venture capital (VC) generally refers to equity financing provided to early-stage, high-potential companies. VC firms have traditionally invested in startups at the beginning of their developmental stage (although many companies are staying private for longer and accepting venture funding at more mature stages), seeking to capitalize on their potential for high growth and profitability. It is important to note that VC investments carry a relatively higher risk compared to other investments.

Some key features of venture capital investments include:

  • High-risk, high-reward strategy
  • Focus on early-stage companies with high growth potential (early stage venture)
  • Involvement of the investor in company operations
  • Typically longer holding periods (5-10+ years)

Growth Equity

Growth equity typically targets companies that are beyond the early stages of their development but still have significant growth potential. The purpose of growth equity investments is often to accelerate the growth of the firms, such as helping them expand into new markets or support strategic acquisitions.

Compared to venture capital, growth equity investments have some unique characteristics:

Key Differences: Venture Capital vs Growth Equity

Investment Stages

Venture capital (VC) firms typically invest in early-stage companies, often during their startup phase, while growth equity focuses on later-stage companies that have established a product-market fit and are seeking additional funding to scale.

Risk Profiles

VC investments tend to be riskier, with a high failure rate, as they invest at the early stages of a company’s development. Growth equity investments are less risky, as companies are already established and generating revenue.


VC firms often invest alongside other VC firms, while growth equity investors often invest alone. VC’s often exert some control over the company’s decision-making process in the form of financial leverage and/or board seats. Growth equity investors may exert more or less control depending on the terms, conditions, and size of investment.

Majority vs Minority Stake

VC investments often result in minority ownership stakes, with the firm holding a significant but non-controlling interest in the company. Growth equity investments can result in minority or majority ownership stakes, depending on the size of the investment and the investor’s objectives.


Venture capital firms are the primary investors in VC rounds, while growth equity investments can come from a variety of sources, including private equity firms, “crossover funds,” institutional investors, and strategic corporate investors.

Holding Period

Growth equity investments generally have a shorter holding period, compared to venture capital investments, which can span over 10 years due to the longer development process of early-stage companies.

Use of Proceeds

VC funds are often used for product development, initial marketing efforts, and team expansion. Growth equity investments are used for scaling the business, expanding operations, entering new markets, or completing strategic acquisitions.

Return Expectations

VC investments typically seek higher return potentials, as they compensate for the increased risk associated with early-stage investments. Growth equity investments, on the other hand, tend to have lower return expectations, reflecting their lower risk profile.

Pros & Cons: Venture Capital vs Growth Equity

Pros of Venture Capital

  • High growth potential: Venture capital firms typically invest in early-stage startups with innovative ideas and high growth potential, leading to significant returns if the company is successful.
  • Support and guidance: Venture capital firms often provide valuable industry connections, mentorship, and strategic advice to help startups navigate through the challenges of growing their business.
  • Funding for risky ventures: Startups with unproven business models and uncertain revenue streams may have difficulty obtaining funding from traditional sources, making venture capital an important source of funding for these companies.
  • Exit opportunities: Successful venture capital-backed startups may lead to lucrative exit opportunities through acquisitions or initial public offerings (IPOs), which can generate significant wealth for both founders and investors.

Cons of Venture Capital

  • Risky investments: Due to the nature of investing in startups, venture capital investments entail high risk, with a significant number of startups failing to realize their potential or even cease operations.
  • Loss of control: In exchange for funding, venture capital firms typically require equity stakes and may influence strategic decisions, leading to potential conflicts between founders and investors.
  • Pressure to grow: Venture capital-backed startups often face significant pressure to grow quickly and achieve high valuations, potentially leading to founders making unsustainable decisions or neglecting long-term goals.
  • Dilution of ownership: Raising funds through venture capital results in the dilution of ownership for existing shareholders, including founders and early employees.

Pros of Growth Equity

  • Lower risk profile: Growth equity investments usually target companies with a proven business model and established revenue streams, resulting in a lower risk profile compared to venture capital investments.
  • Accelerated expansion: Growth equity can provide the necessary funding for companies to scale up their operations, enter new markets or pursue strategic acquisitions, facilitating accelerated growth.
  • Longer investment horizon: Growth equity investments typically have a shorter holding period compared to venture capital, providing investors with a quick return of capital.

Cons of Growth Equity

  • Lower potential returns: Due to the lower risk profile of growth equity investments, the potential returns may be lower compared to the high-growth potential associated with successful venture capital investments. However, this downside may be mitigated by diversification.
  • Minority stakes: Growth equity investments often involve taking minority stakes in companies, potentially limiting the influence and control exerted by the investor.
  • Limited availability: Growth equity funding may be limited to companies that have achieved certain milestones in terms of revenue, profitability, or market presence, making it a less accessible source of funding for early-stage companies.

The Bottom Line

Both venture capital and growth equity play pivotal roles in supporting and fueling the growth of companies at different stages of their life cycles. Having a clear understanding of these two types of investments can provide valuable insights when comparing venture capital vs growth equity.

VC investments primarily focus on early-stage, pre-revenue companies with potential high growth. These companies typically have unproven business models and require a significant amount of risk capital to develop their products or services. Growth equity investments target more mature operating companies that have established end markets and are at an inflection point where the growth capital can fuel expansion.

It is important to note that these two forms of investments are not mutually exclusive. There is a fair amount of overlap between venture capital and growth equity. Venture capital and growth equity investments each have their specific characteristics, risks, and rewards. As investors navigate the ever-evolving landscape of private company financing, understanding and employing the appropriate investment strategy aligned with their objectives and risk tolerance is as important as ever.

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