Are You Looking for an Alternative to McAfee?
Cybercrime and identity theft have quickly become two of the most common crimes in America.
In the past three years, complaints to the FBI about cybercrime have nearly doubled. According to the latest FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report [*]:
In 2022 alone, Americans lost over $10.3 billion to internet scams and cybercrime.
For most people, the thought of dealing with scams, identity theft, or fraud alone is overwhelming — which is why millions of Americans choose to pay for identity theft protection and digital security tools.
For years, McAfee has been a household name when it comes to digital security. And with the company’s recent shift to full identity theft protection, it has become an attractive option for people looking for comprehensive protection.
But despite its name recognition, McAfee isn’t for everyone — especially when compared to other all-in-one identity theft protection services.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to choose the best identity theft protection provider, and offer seven McAfee competitors to consider as alternatives. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about your own safety and the safety of your family.
How To Decide Which McAfee Alternative Is Right for You
What makes choosing an identity theft protection provider so difficult in 2023 is that most companies promote near-identical features, similar pricing, and the same promise of “all-in-one protection.”
But when you dig beneath the surface, there are important nuances and differences between the top providers that can determine which one is right for you — and which ones will leave you vulnerable to online threats.
For example, while McAfee is well known for its antivirus and anti-malware software, this is only one piece of the puzzle when protecting yourself from cyberthreats.
The company’s latest “comprehensive” plan — McAfee Total Protection — offers some level of identity and credit monitoring, but falls short when compared to other options.
Here are the most important features to prioritize when choosing security services:
- Comprehensive identity monitoring. First and foremost, identity theft protection services need to monitor your most sensitive personal information across a wide range of sources for signs of identity theft. This includes the Dark Web (where your data can be sold after a data breach), public records (where your information can show up if a criminal is impersonating you), and data brokers (who collect and sell your information to marketers and scammers). Unfortunately, McAfee only monitors your data on the Dark Web.
- Powerful digital security that won’t slow down your device. Cybercrime and online scams have become much larger threats in recent years. Modern identity theft protection includes digital security tools that work seamlessly to protect your privacy and secure your devices against hackers — such as a virtual private network (VPN), Safe Browsing tools, password managers, and scam call and text protection. Unfortunately, many legacy malware protection services (like McAfee) can severely slow down your devices.
- Credit and bank account monitoring with fast fraud alerts. One of the first places where you can see signs indicating that your identity has been stolen is in your credit reports. The best identity theft protection services monitor your credit at all three bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — and alert you quickly to any signs of fraud. Unfortunately, McAfee only offers three-bureau credit monitoring on its most expensive plan.
- Access to 24/7 customer support and Fraud Resolution Specialists. If you become a victim of fraud, you’ll want fast, empathetic, and helpful support. It’s important to look for a service that gives you access to trained specialists with a history of helping victims.
- Simple and transparent pricing. While identity theft protection claims to shield you against scammers, many services use pricing models that border on being predatory in nature. For example, McAfee (and other alternatives) promote low introductory rates that increase by 50% or more after your first year of enrollment. Even worse, McAfee requires you to sign up for auto-renewal to get access to certain features.
Does McAfee still offer the best antivirus software?
Online crime has changed dramatically since McAfee began. New threats are more pervasive than computer viruses; and modern standards for device speed and functionality have uncovered weak spots in McAfee’s user experience.
Here are some reasons why McAfee is unappealing to today’s consumers:
- Identity and account takeovers are bigger threats than computer viruses. Scammers are more likely to target your online accounts and sensitive information than try to infect your device with malware. McAfee acknowledged this shift by developing identity protection features.
- Most devices come with virus protection that won’t cause lags. Built-in device security features often offer the same protection without the clogged hard drive drawback.
- Users experience poor virus detection. Some McAfee customers report that malware attacks slip through McAfee’s firewall.
- McAfee can be difficult to cancel and uninstall. The company is known to use tactics that make it hard to unsubscribe.
The bottom line: McAfee Total Protection offers some level of protection against the biggest identity theft and online threats, but not at the same level as many alternatives.
The 7 Best McAfee Alternatives of 2023
Even though McAfee has been around for decades, it’s debatable whether its endpoint protection is still top quality.
Here’s a closer look at some of McAfee’s top competitors.
1. Aura: Comprehensive, award-winning protection for families and individuals
Aura is an AI-powered, all-in-one solution that combines identity theft protection, powerful credit monitoring, and digital security — with some of the industry’s best fraud resolution support and insurance coverage.
Compared to McAfee Total Protection, Aura offers more comprehensive identity monitoring — with three-bureau credit monitoring standard on all plans — and powerful device security, complete with antivirus, VPN, Safe Browsing tools, a secure password manager, and more.
Here are some of Aura’s standout features:
- Comprehensive identity monitoring. Aura monitors your most sensitive information — Social Security number (SSN), passport number, etc. — across the Dark Web, public records, and online sites. Aura’s identity theft protection has been rated #1 by Tech Radar, Forbes, Security.org, and others.
- Three-bureau credit monitoring with the industry’s fastest fraud alerts. Aura connects directly with all three major credit bureaus to monitor and alert you about any suspicious activity. A 2022 mystery shopper study found that Aura provided more reliable credit alerts and notified users up to 250x faster than other services³.
- One-click Experian credit lock. Aura also lets you protect your Experian credit file from scammers with a single click from the Aura app. Locking your credit file stops anyone from opening new accounts or taking out loans in your name.
- A full suite of powerful digital security tools. Aura includes digital security tools that protect your privacy and help prevent hacking and malware attacks. Every Aura account comes with antivirus, a military-grade VPN, Safe Browsing tools, a secure password manager, an encrypted digital vault to store your most sensitive personal information, and more.
- AI-powered spam and scam call and text protection. Aura’s Call Assistant uses advanced artificial intelligence to filter out spam and scam text messages, and can even screen your calls to protect you from phone scams.
- Parental controls and family identity theft protection. The Aura app is designed to keep your entire family safe. Family plans include child SSN monitoring, protection for up to five adults and unlimited children, and parental controls to safeguard your kids against online predators and inappropriate content.
- Simple pricing plans with no increase after your first year. With Aura, there’s no headache in deciding which features you need. Simply choose how many people you want to protect, and then start your plan. Plus, there’s no price increase after your first year.
- 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution support. If the worst should happen, Aura’s U.S.-based team of White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists will walk you through each step and can even facilitate three-way calls between you and your bank or other companies.
- Up to $5 million in identity theft insurance. Every adult member on an Aura plan is covered for up to $1 million in eligible losses due to identity theft (stolen funds, lawyer fees, etc.).
- Free 14-day trial (and 60-day money-back guarantee). Get access to all of Aura’s features free for 14 days to see if it’s right for you. All annual plans also come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can be sure that you’re happy with the protection that you’re getting.
Aura vs. McAfee: How they compare head-to-head
Aura offers more features and protection than McAfee Total Protection. But looking at the high-level feature list, it’s not always easy to understand just how different they are.
Here’s a breakdown of how Aura and McAfee differ on the most important identity theft protection features:
The bottom line: When compared to McAfee, Aura provides more features, stronger protection, faster fraud alerts, and more ways to keep your entire family safe. Try Aura free for 14 days, and secure yourself and your family against scammers.
You should choose Aura if:
- You’ve been (or think you could be) a victim of fraud or identity theft. Statistically, 50% of identity theft victims are repeat victims [*]. If you’ve been targeted before, you’re even more at risk. Aura offers comprehensive identity theft protection, as well as some of the best restoration support and insurance coverage in the industry.
- You have family members to protect. Aura’s family plan offers the best value on the market. You can protect up to five adults in different households as well as an unlimited number of children.
- You have many devices or spend a lot of time online. Aura’s online protection tools help detect dangerous websites, shut down hackers and scammers, and remove your personal information from data broker lists. You can protect up to 50 devices on your plan.
- You have significant assets to protect. Aura monitors all financial accounts, including 401(k) and investment accounts. Users with more than one home (and several vehicles) benefit from Aura’s vehicle title and home title monitoring.
Aura’s pricing options:
Aura offers simple and transparent pricing. All plans include the same features; and the price you pay won’t increase after the first year (unlike other providers that offer low introductory rates, and then hike up the price in year two).
Here are Aura’s plans and pricing as of May 2023:
- Individual Plan: $12 per month (or $6 per month using the link below)
- Couple Plan (two members): $22 per month (or $11.49 per month using the link below)
- Family Plan (five adults and unlimited children): $37 per month (or $20 per month using the link below)
Aura’s Family Plan includes additional features such as an AI-powered Call Assistant, parental controls, Safe Gaming tools to protect against predators and cyberbullies, and child identity monitoring.
What are customers saying about Aura?
Here are a few highlights from Aura reviews on Trustpilot:
- Powerful identity theft detection: “Identity theft is very unsettling. I am grateful for Aura because they caught several attempts early on and were able to mitigate the damage almost immediately.”
- Exceptional customer service: “Service is over and beyond what I expected. With one phone call, my Aura rep called each creditor and checked my credit reports and offered great follow-up advice. If you want peace of mind, you need Aura.”
- Effective fraud alerts: “Aura is great! I got my first alert today about someone who tried to apply with Bank of America online using my personal information. They even got in touch with Bank of America from the fraud department for me and were still on the line with me until I was done.”
2. Identity Guard: Flexible coverage, competitively priced
Identity Guard has been a household name in identity theft protection for decades. To date, Identity Guard has helped protect over 38 million Americans and resolved more than 140,000 cases of fraud and identity theft.
Identity Guard recently joined forces with Aura to offer modern identity theft protection to more customers.
Currently, Identity Guard has a 4.6-star rating on Trustpilot, with thousands of 5-star customer ratings.
Identity Guard pros and cons:
Who should choose Identity Guard?
- Those looking for an affordable security solution with flexible pricing. Identity Guard offers much of the same protection as Aura, but with three subscription tiers for both family and individual coverage. Identity Guard’s Value Plan is also very affordable.
- Those who have multiple assets to protect. Identity Guard can also monitor your credit report at all three bureaus and offers investment and 401(k) account monitoring.
- Those with large or extended families. Identity Guard family plans cover up to five adults and an unlimited number of children, while providers like McAfee only cover two adults on family plans.
Identity Guard pricing:
Here are Identity Guard’s pricing plans as of May 2023:
- Value Plan (no credit monitoring): $7.50 per month (individual) and $12.50 (family)
- Total Plan: $16.67 per month (individual) and $25 (family)
- Ultra Plan: $25 per month (individual) and $33.33 (family)
Identity Guard doesn’t offer a free trial but includes a 60-day money-back guarantee on all annual plans.
3. Norton LifeLock: Identity protection from a household name
Like McAfee, Norton first made its name as an antivirus provider. Today it owns LifeLock, previously of Symantec, and offers an all-in-one service that includes device security, credit and personal information monitoring, and fraud insurance.
Unfortunately, LifeLock’s pricing and plan options can be overwhelming, complicated, and expensive. Like McAfee, LifeLock offers introductory pricing for new customers but significantly increases rates after your first year of service.
LifeLock currently has a 4.0 rating on Trustpilot.
LifeLock pros and cons:
Who should choose LifeLock?
- Those who already have (or want) Norton as an antivirus provider. Norton has better ratings than McAfee — and bundling Norton’s online protection features with identity and credit protection is convenient, albeit expensive.
- You want a higher amount of identity theft insurance. LifeLock recently upgraded the amount covered in its identity theft insurance plans. The Ultimate Plus plan now includes up to $3,000,000 in insurance coverage. However, the more affordable pricing plans only include $25,000 – $100,000 in stolen funds reimbursement.
The most important thing to know about LifeLock’s pricing plans is that they increase significantly after the first year.
Here are LifeLock’s (with Norton 360) pricing plans as of May 2023:
- Standard: $9.99 per month (renews at $14.99/month)
- Advantage: $17.99 per month (renews at $24.99/month)
- Ultimate Plus: $23.99 per month (renews at $34.99/month)
You can also add an additional adult to your plan or opt for the family plan (two adults and up to five children). Each is more expensive than the last.
For example, LifeLock Ultimate Plus with Norton 360 for a family costs a staggering $48.99 per month (and renews at $81.99/month).
💡 Related: Aura vs. Lifelock 2023 Comparison →
4. IdentityForce: Fraud detection from a major credit bureau
IdentityForce is a fraud protection service offered by TransUnion — one of the three major credit bureaus. IdentityForce provides identity monitoring and financial alerts, as well as internet security features and a protective mobile app for iOS and Android that blocks spyware threats and fake websites.
Customers rate IdentityForce 4.4 stars on Trustpilot.
IdentityForce pros and cons:
Who should choose IdentityForce?
- People planning major financial decisions. IdentityForce offers a credit score simulator and tracker that project how financial decisions will affect your credit score.
- You only need coverage for two adults. IdentityForce family plans only cover two adults and four children.
Here are IdentityForce’s plans as of May 2023:
- UltraSecure: $17.95 per month
- UltraSecure+Credit: $23.95 per month
On its pricing page, IdentityForce doesn’t offer coverage for families, but you can inquire about custom family plans by calling them directly. While its plans are a bit pricier than many other identity protection providers, IdentityForce does offer a free 30-day trial.
5. Avast One Platinum: Online protection with basic identity protection features
Avast is mostly known for its endpoint security software, but also offers some basic identity protection safeguards on its One Platinum tier. Avast focuses on data security and protection for both desktop and mobile devices — including email security, real-time malware alerts, and anti-tracking tools.
Avast One Platinum also provides three-bureau credit monitoring, 24/7 remote support, Dark Web alerts, and up to $2 million in fraud insurance (for select expenses).
Avast One Platinum pros and cons:
Who should choose Avast One Platinum?
- People looking for antivirus protection. Avast started as an antivirus protection company before branching out into identity theft protection.
- Those who only need minimal fraud protection services. Other providers such as Aura provide better protection in this area.
Avast One Platinum pricing:
Similar to LifeLock and McAfee, Avast One Platinum offers a good introductory price for your first year of service and then significantly raises your rate.
Here are Avast One Platinum’s pricing and plans as of May 2023:
- Avast One Individual (no identity theft protection): $2.89/month (renews at $8.33/month or $99.99/year)
- Avast One Platinum: $9.99/month (renews at $20.83/month or $249.99/year)
Avast also offers a free plan that includes limited antivirus, VPN, and data protection.
6. Trend Micro: Device protection, with a side of Dark Web monitoring
Trend Micro is mostly known for its business cybersecurity products but also offers protection for individuals with its Premium Security Suite. This plan includes network security features like social media privacy, encrypted online communications, anti-email scams, and anti-ransomware — as well as Dark Web alerts and personal data search.
Trend Micro pros and cons:
Who should choose Trend Micro?
- Those mostly looking for online protection. Anyone seeking full identity protection won’t be satisfied with Premium Security Suite.
Trend Micro pricing:
Trend Micro is another company that offers introductory pricing which increases after your first year of service.
Here are Trend Micro’s pricing plans as of May 2023:
- Internet Security (three devices and no identity monitoring, password manager, or device protection): $39.95/year (renews at $79.95/year)
- Maximum Security (five devices and no identity monitoring): $49.95 (renews at $89.95/year)
- Premium Security Suite (10 devices): $59.95/year (renews at $129.95/year)
Trend Micro advertises a 30-day free trial; but when you select it on their website, you’re taken to a help article on “how to install Trend Micro free trial.” This means you’re not getting the full protection of Trend Micro’s Premium Security Suite during the trial period.
7. Webroot Premium: Robust cybersecurity and individual identity protection
Webroot specializes in cybersecurity for individuals and businesses, and has 4.2 stars on Trustpilot. Its Webroot Premium plan adds Allstate Identity Protection to offer a low level of all-in-one protection.
Webroot Premium pros and cons:
Who should choose Webroot Premium:
- Individuals who don’t need family protection. Webroot Premium only covers individuals.
- Those wanting advanced cybersecurity features without lags. Webroot’s SecureAnywhere antivirus software uses fewer system resources and runs virus scans very quickly. It also repairs damage with malware remediation software.
Webroot Premium pricing:
As of May 2023, Webroot Premium costs $79.99/year (and renews at $129.99/year).
Why You Should Consider a McAfee Alternative
With a host of negative McAfee antivirus reviews and an overall 1.3-star rating on Trustpilot, it’s safe to say that McAfee is struggling to meet customer expectations.
Here’s why 84% of Trustpilot reviewers gave McAfee a 1-star rating:
- Incomplete device compatibility: “Despite having 'Total Protection' for 3 devices, I could not install McAfee on my tablet because it is Android 7 — contrary to the information on the product packaging.”
- Frustrating pop-ups and slow virus scans: “Everytime I download a file a large pop-up window appears from McAfee to say it's scanning my file, except it covers a chunk of my screen and freezes there, with no way to get rid of it.”
- Poor customer service: “This is the worst customer service I have ever received from any company. I have continuously been charged for multiple open accounts under the same card number and have called repeatedly to request a refund and discontinue service.”
- Sky-high renewal fees. McAfee offers discounts for new members but more than doubles your annual fee in the following year. Alternatively, Aura provides consistent pricing that won’t change once you become a member.
While services like Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, Eset, and AVG are all noteworthy McAfee competitors that offer advanced features and better customer reviews, these providers don’t offer fraud insurance, credit monitoring, or identity protection (beyond the benefits of online and device security).
In 2023, cybersecurity and identity protection must extend beyond antivirus. For an all-in-one solution that includes digital security tools, identity theft protection, and more, consider trying Aura free for 14 days.
How To Cancel Your McAfee Subscription
The best way to end your McAfee subscription is to contact McAfee customer support directly. This is the only way to completely remove your account details from McAfee for good. It’s also the only way to request a refund for your membership through McAfee.
If you purchased McAfee services through a mobile app, cancel your subscription by opening your “Settings” menu on your mobile device; then click on your name at the top of the screen, and select “Subscriptions.” The next menu will allow you to view and cancel active subscriptions.
Requesting a refund for an app subscription goes through Apple, not McAfee.
Our Final Recommendation: Choose Aura for Peace of Mind
Identity theft is a serious threat that calls for serious solutions.
Signing up for Aura is one of the most effective ways to keep your personal and financial information safe from cybercriminals. With Aura’s suite of proactive features, you’ll have access to Dark Web monitoring, internet safety tools, three-bureau credit monitoring, and the fastest and most reliable credit fraud alerts on the market.
If the worst should happen, you’ll receive the full support of Aura’s 24/7 U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage for every adult on your Aura plan.