NordPass password manager is a new name in the cybersecurity industry, but it comes from the creators of a well-known NordVPN service. But is it worthy to stand next to other Tefincom products? Should it be included in our list of best password managers already? Read our NordPass review to find out.
- Encryption: XChaCha20, Argon 2
- Two-factor authentication: Yes
- Mobile app PIN: Yes
- Biometric login: Touch ID, Face ID
- Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
- Browser extensions: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
- Free version: Yes
- Price: from $2.49/month
What can you do with NordPass?
Generally speaking, there are seven main things that you can do with NordPass:
- Keep passwords in one secure place
- Access them when you need to
- Simplify your online life with auto-filled forms
- Generate strong passwords on the spot
- Share passwords securely with friends and family
- Save secure notes for your eyes only
- Store Credit Cards for quick online checkouts
Not all of these options are available on every app or browser extension. Therefore, I recommend taking some time and going through this NordPass password manager review to learn more.
Security and privacy
NordPass is a new password manager, so it’s obvious that it’s safety hasn’t been put to trial by fire yet. However, we can already say that there are certain cases when this provider doesn’t hesitate to walk that extra mile. Overall, I can say that NordPass offers solid security and privacy that matches or even surpasses the competition.
NordPass password manager is really safe, and here’s why. For starters, NordPass uses zero-knowledge architecture, which means that your data is encrypted before reaching their servers.
What’s more, AES-256 encryption is an industry-standard that’s more than enough to keep your data safe. However, NordPass offers even more robust protection by implementing XChaCha20 and Argon 2 for key derivation, separating itself from the pack. This encryption is easier to implement and harder to screw up – that’s why I’m glad to see that NordPass is taking a step further towards ultimate password protection.
2FA and biometric authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another NordPass safety feature, which has become an industry-standard, to be fair. When using 2FA, you add another layer by requesting something that you have (a device with an authenticator app) in addition to something that you know (Master Password). Only time will tell if the same method will be applied to family planning practices.
Additionally, NordPass comes with biometric authentication support, allowing you to replace your master password with a fingerprint on either Android or iOS devices. As this method gains popularity among mobile users for unlocking their phones, accessing your online accounts with one touch might also be a good idea.
Alternatively, you can use Face ID on your iOS or Google Pixel 4 device, but I cannot recommend it as this technology poses numerous security concerns.
While this might not be important to the majority of password manager users, it’s still good to know that your provider is situated in a privacy-friendly country. That’s the case with NordPass, which is registered in Panama, which has no data retention laws. Even more, it’s far from the all-seeing Fourteen Eyes alliance members, meaning even political activists and journalists should feel safe using this password manager.
A password generator and password strength checker will help you avoid weak links in your password pool. NordPass will automatically generate strong, unique passwords for you, which is much safer than trying to come up with something on your own. Besides, you can create passwords while offline – they aren’t saved on any server.
Great news is that in March 2020, NordPass finally fulfilled the wish of many – password generators were added to the mobile apps.
What’s more, NordPass backs up and syncs your data so that you may never lose it. This means that even if your computer or phone breaks down, you will still be able to access all of your accounts easily using your Master Password. And thanks to the synchronization, your NordPass vault will have all your data ready 24/7, wherever you may be.
Apps and ease of use
NordPass has apps for the following platforms:
Besides, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. Apple users will notice the lack of Safari support, even though there’s an app for iOS and macOS already. And since password import from Safari is also impossible, migrating to another browser can be tricky for those who have dozens of accounts.
Pressing a cheeseburger menu on the top right will give you even more info that’s available on the NordPass website. It’s only when you click the three dots on the top right that you get closer to the actual password manager.
The little icon with the NordPass logo is what you want to click next. Upon doing so, you’ll reach your vault and password generator, which works in offline mode. Choosing Settings will open your browser extension, where you’ll be able to make the most out of NordPass.
NordPass supported Brave and Vivaldi browsers at first, with plans to add password import. Later, the decision was made to ditch them altogether, focusing on mainstream browsers.
But even speaking of these, there’s no Safari support and no password import from it, which will definitely be frowned upon by Apple aficionados until NordPass fixes this. This means that even if you decide to switch from Safari to Chrome, Opera, or Firefox – you’ll have to start all over again. That’s not so bad unless you have dozens of active accounts as most people do.
One thing is clear – you’ll need a browser extension to import or export your passwords. And you’ll need a mobile app to play with OCR.
On the other hand, NordPass is not the only one to neglect niche browsers – for example, LastPass also supports only mainstream, and Enpass bravely says no to Brave.
Just as one would expect, NordPass password manager has apps for both Android and iOS. They are neatly designed and intuitive, allowing you to get started right away. Nevertheless, there are some usability issues that I’ll discuss in more detail below.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned right away is that compared to the Android version, NordPass for iOS lacks a few features. This wouldn’t be a big deal if NordPass itself had more options to toggle. But now, the lack of Safari extension, combined with a slim iOS mobile app, will make Apple fans to think twice before committing.
How to use NordPass password manager
Using NordPass is easy, even if you might end up in some confusing crossroads, which hopefully will be taken care of in the upcoming major update. For this part of the review, I base my experience mainly on using the Android app and comparing it to the iOS version. Most of what’s written here also fit the browser extensions.
Getting started with NordPass
After a successful login, my Android experience started with a suggestion to enable Autofill, which has to be done on the OS level.
Afterward, I was welcomed by a user-friendly Home screen. Here you can search your vault, check all five different categories (Logins, Secure Notes, Credit Cards, Shared, and Trash), see the recently used entries and their full alphabetical list. Also, there are three big buttons at the bottom of the screen – one for Home, one for adding one of the three types of data, and one for Settings.
Clicking the three dots on the right of the entry opens a menu with all possible actions, such as copying usernames or passwords.
What I liked about the Logins was an option to Launch Site and let Autofill do the rest. What I liked a bit less was the need to hit the three dots on the top right corner and then touch where it says Edit instead of simply clicking the username or password itself. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that you’ll be manually editing any of that unless you change your email after a successful sex change.
Those who like to rummage through the trash will find NordPass Trash bin full of come up. It’s perfectly functional, allowing to copy your info and launch the site to log in to. Some might use it as an extra category for sorting their secrecies.
Speaking of secrecies, adding a Secure Note allows you to choose a title and the note. It also allows using your camera for OCR input. Upon testing, NordPass did pretty well with printed and pretty bad with hand-written all-caps text. Sadly, if you want to edit your Secure Note, you can no longer use the OCR feature, which is probably for the best.
Adding a Credit Card is as easy as reaching your credit limit. Naturally, copying all the fields back and forth would be inefficient, so Autofill gladly takes over once again. Unfortunately, my test NordVPN purchase left the first name, the last name, expiration month, and CVV fields empty. Also, contrary to Secure Notes, you can actually use OCR input to scan your credit card – it works pretty well with numbers and Latin alphabet.
What some users might miss in NordPass is the so-called “Identities” where you can add personal details, such as addresses, phone numbers, or social media screen names. There’s also no way to organize your entries into folders.
Sharing your NordPass secrets
Sharing a password is possible by sending an email. What I liked is a precautionary measure against sending passwords to yourself. When I entered an email address that I used to create the NordPass account, I was notified that I already have access to it.
After adding that trustworthy person, you can make him the owner or revoke the access if he lets you down. But for anything like this to happen, that person would need to create a NordPass account first – I learned this only after checking my second email, which is great from the marketing perspective, but not from the user’s.
Also, making someone a new owner of your password doesn’t automatically share it with that person, meaning that she’ll get a meaningless email without “Get NordPass” call-to-action, stating that now she has something somewhere. Revoking Access doesn’t trigger any emails to the now password-less person, which is kinda cool in an evil way, letting him find out for himself.
One option that’s lacking in NordPass at the moment is password inheritance. It means that if you die, you’ll be talking all these passwords and secure notes to the grave.
Settings and extra features
NordPass Settings are scarce, which comes from its relatively short feature list.
You can Lock NordPass using your Master Password, which you can also conveniently change here. Autolock lets you choose the time limit, after which the app requests your master password again – this ranges from “on app close” to “never.” Naturally, choosing the latter is ill-advised, even when using Two-Factor Authentication – you can turn it off and on again here as well.
Losing your master password is not the end of the world – there’s a chance to get New Recovery Code, although that for some reason requires to enter the same master password that you’ve lost.
The last option is toggling the use of a Fingerprint for unlocking your vault. That’s a recommended option as biometric login is safer than using a password. After all, there’s a higher chance of you losing your password than your thumb unless you’re in organized crime.
Browser extension adds import-export function and Never Saved URLs, which lists all the websites that you omitted from using Autofill.
At the beginning of April, 2020, NordPass added an anticipated Folders feature. From now on, users are able to separate their work and personal passwords by dividing them into different folders. You will find Folders in the menu bar on the left.
Using NordPass app for iOS
Starting is just like with the Android – you enable Autofill in your iOS settings. The first difference is the Home screen, which lacks the sharing option. That is because there’s no sharing on iOS.
Furthermore, Secure Notes and Credit Cards don’t have the OCR feature. While I’m not missing the former, it was pretty convenient for the latter.
When trying to buy the same NordVPN, I didn’t get the Autofill option to use one of my cards. This means that the iOS version of NordPass has a limited Autofill – it’s probably easier to take out the card instead of switching between the screens and copy-pasting each line manually.
Other differences lie in the app design, which is as intuitive as the Android version, although it has room for improvement. For example, Trash bin’s Restoring and Deleting Permanently is close enough to allow touching the wrong part and facing the consequences. To sum up, NordPass is an Android-first service, but that’s no exception to the rule that applies to others as well.
Importing and exporting with NordPass
NordPass import and export are possible only when using the browser extension. There are plenty of import options, though a few names will be sorely missed. NordPass allows importing to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, but ditches Edge, and, of course, Safari.
When it comes to the competitors, most of the big names and some less popular ones, such as BitWarden or TrueKey, are here. I missed some of the password managers from our best-of list, namely Enpass and Norton Password Manager.
In such cases, .csv is your only hope. However, you should organize it properly, which can be done by using NordPass import template. And when it comes to exporting, .csv is also the only option at the moment.
NordPass offers the following pricing options:
- Free version (one simultaneous connection, no password sharing)
- Monthly – $4.99
- Annual – $2.99/month or $35.88
- Bi-annual – $2.49/month or $59.76
Premium plans provide you with six simultaneous connections – the same amount as LastPass, and one more than 1Password.
Compared to the competition, NordPass prices are good, given that long-term clients get significant discounts, and all premium plans come with six simultaneous devices allowed.
You can pay with credit cards, Amazon Pay, or cryptocurrencies. That’s a nice selection given that LastPass, RememBear, and quite a few other password managers accept only credit cards. Finally, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Free vs premium
However, most users will likely be happy with the free version, at least until there are more features exclusive to the premium NordPass. Unless you need more than one simultaneous connection and cannot live without sharing your secrets with others, going with the free version is entirely acceptable. Also, you will be able to receive the passwords shared by premium users and have as many entries as you like.
Settings have a link to NordPass Help Center, but only on mobile apps. Here you can search the knowledgebase or submit a request. Sadly, there’s no live chat, not even for the premium clients.
I decided to test the responsiveness of NordPass customer support by sending a pretty general question about resetting your lost 2FA authentication method. It took about 8 hours to get a reply during working days. That’s not when you use the word “swift,” but the answer was worth the wait – I got everything that I wanted and then some.
It turns out there’s no way to reset your 2FA but completely wiping out your vault, which means that it’s as essential as your master password. It also means there’s no point in restoring your account unless you want to use the same email address for your Second Reincarnation.
Is there anything missing in NordPass? Well, some of the competitors like 1Password provide file storage, while LastPass have automatic password change, it’s up for the users to decide how valuable these features are to them. Despite its shortcomings, NordPass is clearly one of the best password managers available today.
To sum up, I’m happy with the NordPass password manager and see it rising to the very top in the future. At the same time, I recommend you to try it out (it’s free), so you could grab a long-term plan before the prices go up. Finally, if you already got your hands on NordPass, I encourage to share your impressions in the comments below.