NordPass review: Streamlined password management

It makes securing and syncing your login credentials simple.

Credit: NordVPN

NordPass is a relative newcomer to the password manager space, having been launched less than two years ago. Offered by the virtual network provider NordVPN, NordPass can save, secure, and sync your passwords, notes, and credit cards. While it effectively streamlines the odious chore of remembering passwords, it currently lacks the more advanced features that make our top picks so essential for safely working and playing online.

NordPass is available as a desktop app for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, a mobile app for Android and iOS, and has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera browsers. To get started, you have to first create an account on the NordPass site. Then you have to download one of the apps and/or browser extensions. I used the macOS app with the Firefox extension for my testing.

Note: This review is part of our best password managers roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

To finish the setup, you have to sign in to an app or extension with your account credentials and create a master password. This functions as the decryption key for all the passwords saved in your vault, so a complex master password is crucial because if someone were able to easily crack it they would have access to all your stored login credentials. For that reason, NordPass lets you know how strong your master password is as you create it. It also supports two-factor authentication via an authenticator app and a recovery code to reset your master password if you forget it. The Android and iOS apps use your device’s biometric authentication instead of a master password.

nordpass import copy Michael Ansaldo/IDG

You can import passwords from many popular browsers and password managers.

The first time I signed in into the app after completing the setup process, NordPass notified me it recognized several passwords saved in my Firefox browser and offered to automatically import them. You can also import passwords from other popular password managers such as LastPass and 1Password by selecting the import manager from the app’s File menu. In these cases, you’ll need to export your password data as a .CSV file from the source password manager, then import them into NordPass, which includes an easy drag-and-drop option. I didn’t experience any hiccups with this process and within minutes I had my vault populated with over 300 passwords.

The NordPass desktop app has a clean, simple interface. You navigate via a sidebar on the left, which lists your vault categories: Passwords, Secure Notes, Credit Cards, Personal Info, Shared Items, and Trash. When you click on a category, its entries are displayed in a pane on the right. There’s also a search bar at the top for locating entries or you can select “All Items” to display everything in your vault at once.

The Passwords, Secure Notes, and Credit Cards categories are self-explanatory and you can view, add, or edit entries in each by clicking on the category and selecting or entering the appropriate information. Personal Info allows you to create multiple identities that you can use to fill in forms online. The options are pretty basic compared to other password managers—name, contact info, and address—but will be necessary when making purchases, as NordPass’ credit card form doesn’t include fields for your billing address.

nordpass password health Michael Ansaldo/IDG

NordPass identifies old, weak, and reused passwords so you can change them.

The Shared Items category houses any items shared between you and someone else. You can share any entry in your NordPass vault by clicking the three-dot icon next to it and selecting Share. You then enter the recipient’s email address and send the item. The recipient can’t delete the entry from the owner’s account but they do have full editing rights, which I wasn’t crazy about. Many other password managers provide more permissions control over whether a recipient can view, edit, or share a shared item.

Using NordPass is much like using any of its competitors. If you have credentials saved for a particular website, NordPass offers to log in to the relevant account and populates the username and password fields when you get to that site’s login page. If you don’t have saved credentials for the current site, you just enter them as you normally would and NordPass offers to save them. This capture-and-replay function worked seamlessly with every site I visited during my testing period.

You can generate complex passwords of up to 60 characters from the desktop app or the browser extension. For comparison, LastPass lets you create passwords of up to 99 characters and LogMeOnce up to 128 characters. Still, a string of five dozen random characters should be sufficiently strong to keep your data secure.

nordpass tools Michael Ansaldo/IDG

Password health reporting and Data Breach Scanning are available with a Premium subscription.

In addition to a password generator, NordPass offers a couple of other important security tools—password health reporting and a Data Breach Scanner. The first identifies any weak, old, or reused passwords in your vault. You simply click on the password entry, which takes you to that website so you can change the password and NordPass captures it and updates the entry.

The Data Breach Scanner scans the web and returns a list of website and credit card accounts that have been involved in a breach. Clicking on a result opens a record of that breach, complete with the type of information that was leaked (password, phone number, employer, etc.), the date and description of the breach, and a security recommendation. In the case of compromised passwords, it also includes a one-click option to change the password. Both of these excellent features are only accessible with a premium subscription.

Similar to other password managers, NordPass offers multiple subscription plans that unlock more features as you move up the pricing tiers. The free version allows you to save unlimited passwords, credit cards, and notes, and sync your data across devices. However, you can only stay logged in to NordPass on one device at a time. You also can’t share items with others, run password health reports, or access the Data Breach Scanner. For $4.99 a month, the Premium plan lifts these restrictions and adds the ability to add NordVPN and 10GB of NordLocker encrypted cloud storage for additional costs. The Family Premium plan includes the same for up to five users. Both paid plans can be used free for 30-days.

NordPass is intuitive and easy to use and it provided a seamless experience in my tests. Its premium pricing is comparable to some of our favorite password managers, including our top picks LastPass and Dashlane, although those two products include advanced features NordPass still doesn’t support. If you’re willing to pay for a password manager, either of those two options will serve you better. If you’re just looking for an easy way to manage all your passwords and some other critical personal data without getting tied into a subscription, NordPass’ free version will do the job well.

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Michael Ansaldo

PC World (US online)
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