The best family password managers of 2023 (and why you should get one)
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Back in the early days of the internet, most people got away with simple passwords they used over and over again for all of their accounts.
In recent years, password management has gotten a lot more complicated. It's not just your email and your bank account logins anymore. In fact, a study conducted by NordPass found that the average user has around 100 passwords.
Now it's multiple emails, banking accounts, retirement accounts, online education platforms, Amazon, streaming services, newspaper subscriptions, chat apps, VPNs, social media, and healthcare accounts — just to name a few.
Additionally, the most commonly used passwords take only seconds for hackers to crack — passwords like 123456, password, qwerty, and abc123, for example. While you may want to use easy-to-remember passwords — like your birthday or street address — the simpler your password, the more likely someone can hack your accounts or steal your identity. In fact, in 2019, 14.4 million people experienced identity fraud.
When you throw other family members’ information into the mix, it only gets more complicated from there. Shared family streaming accounts, phones, and Wi-Fi passwords means even more information to manage.
Here’s what you should consider getting a family password manager and stepping up your information management security. Below, we answer some common questions that review your options and help you know what to look for.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is exactly what it sounds like: a service to manage your passwords across many (likely dozens or hundreds) of different accounts. Instead of trying to keep track of your passwords yourself — or, worse yet, using the same password for all your accounts — a password manager will create a unique password for each of these many accounts.
According to password manager company NordPass, the average user has around 100 passwords to keep track of (a 25 percent increase from before the pandemic began). Furthermore, 81 percent of confirmed data breaches are due to password issues. Data breaches can result from everything from weak passwords to unencrypted ones.
Even when you have a different password for dozens of accounts, all you have to do is remember the master password to your password manager and it manages the account information for you.
This also allows you to easily change insecure or repeated passwords, generate complex passwords that are harder to break, and keep all that information in one easy spot.
How does a password manager work?
Store your master password somewhere safe
When you sign up for a password manager, you create a complex, master password that allows access to your encrypted information. Some password managers also require two-factor authentication.
Not losing your master password is absolutely essential, as it might be near impossible to access all of your other information without it. Some password management companies recommend you write down your master password on paper and store it in a secure location.
Many password managers also provide an "emergency kit" with specific information that you can show them in the case of a lost master password, such as a private security key issued to you when you opened the account.
Once your account is activated, you can generate stronger passwords for your current accounts and store any other valuable information. Most password managers work on multiple devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) for ease of use.
Keep your information secure with a “zero knowledge” model
Most top password managers use a "zero knowledge” security model — so while your encrypted passwords are stored on their servers, they do not store your master password. Plus, enabling two-factor authentication for your password manager app adds an additional layer of security.
“What makes a password manager safe is its Zero Knowledge security model that consists of three layers of defense: the encrypted user data, the manager's password which is not kept on the system, and the security key,” Chris Hallenbeck, chief information security officer for cybersecurity firm Tanium, told Business Insider. “A hacker would need to break down all three defenses to get access to the information.” If the password manager company were hacked, customer data would still remain secure.
What services does a password manager provide?
Despite the name, password managers do a lot more than just saving passwords. Depending on the product, they may also offer:
Username storage – Save for specific websites and pair with the password to help you log in
Encryption – Save your information in a space that offers more layers of protection than apps like Notes or Google Drive
Password generation – Easily generate long, complex, unique passwords
Safety alerts – Get a heads up if one of your accounts has been breached or certain websites have been compromised
How do I know that a password manager is secure?
Many people don't use a third-party service and repeat the same passwords over and over again for different accounts. If a data breach occurs or one of your accounts is compromised, every account is also immediately at risk.
For the same level of security without a password manager, you would either need to memorize a variety of lengthy and complex passwords for dozens (or hundreds) of accounts, or keep them stored somewhere else. A DIY solution would require a lot of time and management to achieve the same level of security a password manager offers.
While it might seem counterintuitive to store all of your passwords in one place, cybersecurity experts believe password managers are still safer on the whole. That's because password managers have encrypted user data, the manager's password, and a security key.
Hackers would need to penetrate all three of those barriers to take your information.
How does a family password manager differ from individual password managers?
Some password managers offer family-friendly options and pricing that allow multiple users to access the same account. This is ideal for large families, blended families, or those who are busy with work, school, hobbies, sports, travel, caregiving, pets, and life in general.
What's the best way to share passwords with family?
Sharing passwords securely with your family members may feel complicated. Even if you already have a password manager, you don’t want to give someone your master password through a less secure channel, such as via email or texting.
For ultimate safety, the best way to share passwords is through a password manager. Instead of asking your partner for the Hulu password, let your password manager do the work for you.
When researching or selecting a password manager, here are some important factors and questions to consider:
Do I need to share passwords with an individual or multiple people?
Which passwords and accounts do I want to share, and how private or sensitive are they?
Will the password manager have sharing and managed access? Are we looking for different levels of access and ability to share?
Trustworthy helps you store or manage your important documents and details including account information and passwords. For example, you can store your master password in an encrypted dashboard, so that you or your partner can access the information when needed.
What are the best password managers for families?
Trustworthy reviewed many of the most popular password managers and focused on those with options that specifically serve household and family needs. Here are some of the best options out there.
Best additional features - Keeper Family
Best all-around family plan - 1Password Families
Best private data options - Dashlane Family
Best budget option - Bitwarden Families Organization
Best additional features
Keeper is an encrypted password manager that stands apart with some of its unique features. Take KeeperChat, for example. It's encrypted chat storage that allows family members to communicate within the app.
The company offers five private faults for family members, including 10 GB of secure file storage and more niche storage options like fingerprints and face IDs. Their Family Plus Bundle, for an additional $2.38 a month, includes dark web monitoring and secure file storage.
Cost: $6.24/month billed annually
Plus bundle: $8.62/month, billed annually
Best all-around family plan
1Password is largely viewed as one of the best all-around password managers, with a wide array of features and easy-to-use plugins. Its AES-256 bit encryption generates strong passwords for all your accounts and alerts you about compromised websites and vulnerable passwords.
The company also offers a subscription-based product designed for families. Up to five people can be on the same account, even if they aren't in the same household. Additional family members can be added for $1 a month each. Personal and shared vaults are the default vaults, but you can also create others and choose which family members have access to them. For example, you could create a shared vault of passwords for your children.
The app also offers device syncing, item history backup, and alerts for compromised websites.
Cost: $4.99/month billed annually, free 14-day trial
Best private data options
Unlike some of its competitors, Dashlane gives you the option not to store your password data on its servers. That means that all of your passwords stay only with you and your family. The only downside of this optional feature is that you have to manage and sync your password vault between different devices.
Dashlane also offers a family plan with up to six people, including private accounts for each member. It also comes with a VPN, two-factor authentication, and dark web monitoring.
Cost: $8.99/month or $7.49/month billed annually
Best budget option
Bitwarden Families Organization
Bitwarden is an open-sourced password manager mostly targeted towards businesses, with personal and family subscriptions as well. The app integrates with a wide array of devices and browsers, and offers enterprise-grade security and compliance. Advanced security features include encrypted files, two-step login, and an authenticator.
Bitwarden’s family organization plan offers premium features for six users, priority customer support, and even a self-hosting option.
Cost: $3.33/month billed annually
Selecting the right password manager for your family depends on your budget, needs, and desired features. The good news: whichever solution you pick, getting a family password manager helps you and your family have one less thing to worry about.
“Password managers are not a magic pill,” Lujo Bauer, a security researcher and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, told Consumer Reports, “but for most users they'll offer a much better combination of security and convenience than they have without them. Everyone should be using one.”
Trustworthy helps your family get organized
Keeping track of all your family's information is overwhelming. Trustworthy helps your family securely access and maintain vital information. Beyond password management alone, Trustworthy allows you to organize information like medical records, passports, and financial documents. With custom permissions and mobile accessibility, you can share the right information with specific people at the right time.
You can learn more about our Family Operating System® here.