So, you’re looking for the best digital credential platform for your organisation, and have arrived at two of the biggest names in the industry: Credly and Accredible. Unfortunately, your work is not finished yet. You’re now faced with a tough question: which is better? To make this task easy, we’ve compiled all the information that you need into one article.
This guide will first provide a comprehensive overview of what each company offers, alongside the price tag that goes along with it. In the end, we’ll summarise how to decide which platform is for you, as well as - in case neither of them provide what you need - the alternative solutions that you may want to consider.
With that said, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- What are digital credentials and badges?
- What is Credly
- What is Accredible
- Comparison: Designing Credentials
- Comparison: Issuing Credentials
- Comparison: Managing Credentials
- Comparison: Verifying Credentials
- Credly's pricing
- Accredible's pricing
- Credly vs Accredible: Who Wins?
What are digital credentials and badges?
It's important to note that there are two types of digital credential: digital certificates, and digital badges. So, what’s the difference between the two? As explained by the Mozilla Foundation, Badges are "a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest”. Essentially, they are digital representations of the physical badges that, for a example, a boy scout might wear on his sleeve. In contrast to badges, however, digital certificates look more like traditional award certificates.
This is in stark contrast to digital certificates, as shown below. Not only can they display additional information about the achievemen - for example: modules, the associated course, skills developed etc. - but they can also typically be shared through a link, like this one here.
Whether you need digital certificates, or if digital badges will suffice, depends entirely on what you intend to use your digital credentials for. On the one hand, digital certificates are able to provide a more comprehensive overview of the data, and therefore the meaning, associated with a certificate. Because of this, if you want your learners to possess a more holistic representation of their achievements - for example, in order to show to employers in a job application process - you may want to look into digital certification over digital badging.
On the other hand, digital badges are still a great way to motivate learning, and display a learner’s subsequent achievements. Although digital certificates may display more comprehensive details of an achievement, some organisations prefer this type of digital credential due to its increased 'shareability', with badges having the ability to be embedded easily in more places, such as on social media profiles and email signatures.
As discussed, not all digital credentials are created equal, with digital badges and certificates serving very different functions, and therefore appealing to different types of organisations; let's take a look at what each platform offers.
What is Credly?
Starting their operations back in 2012, Credly was a pioneer in digital credentialing. In their own words, Credly is used for the provision of digital badges that "recognise the skills, capabilities and achievements of learners" and "make talent more visible and opportunity more accessible". The company has subsequently grown to work with, and be well-reviewed by, large corporations across the United States.
Credly is a legitimate and credible company, shown through the numerous reviews found online conveying high overall customer satisfaction. Reviews tend to focus on the extensive analytics available in the platform, and displaying details of the performance of issued badges. Some Credly review ratings include: 4/5 on Cuspera, and 8.7/10 on TrustRadius.
Where there are negative reviews, they tend to criticise the possibility, and occurrence, of 'fake' credentials being created through the Credly Acclaim platform, as shown in the image below. This is a concern for some due to the potential negative impact on the credibility of all credentials issued by the platform.
Credly digital badges
The main type of credentials that Credly provides are digital ‘badges’, i.e. small symbols used to represent achievements, and they do them well. Real examples of Credly Acclaim badges (designed in the platform) are provided below.
Credly's digital certificates
Although Credly does offer digital certificates, upon using the platform it becomes apparent that it is not their focus. If the functionality is enabled by an institution, it is possible for a recipient to opt to download a certificate version of their badge. Unfortunately, however, these are only available in PDF format, leading to a lack of share-ability and interactivity of their certificates.
In addition to being able to create and issue digital credentials, users may also get access to some additional perks, including:
- Metadata mapping - The ability to attach skills tags and other data to credentials to better surface the meaning behind achievements
- Labour market insights - Live data about the labour market to help connect learners with relevant job opportunities
Credly vs Acclaim
It's a common misconception that Acclaim is a different product (many often even presume that it is a competitor platform!); this is not the case. What Credly Acclaim is is simply the digital badging platform that Credly offers. It is denoted as their 'Acclaim' platform to differentiate it from their two other products: Credly Workforce and Credly Talent Match. If you are looking to create and issue digital badges, you want Acclaim by Credly.
What is Accredible?
Accredible is a popular platform for large organisations across the United States, providing them instant access to a comprehensive list of digital credentialing features. They proclaim that their aim is to "enable organisations to award their students with proof of skill, individuals to prove their credibility, and for employers to identify the ideal job candidate".
Accredible's digital certificates
Accredible also allows their users to issue both digital certificates and badges. We think they provide better tools for badge creation and issuance, but their certificate functionality is definitely sufficient to use, which is a step up from Credly. As shown below, their digital certificates are very similar to that of a traditional, printed certificate, but with all the benefits of digitalisation.
Accredible's digital badges
Accredible's digital badges, on the other hand, can be expertly crafted through their ‘badge designer’ feature. These customised badges can then, as expected, be embedded and shared across platforms. Examples of real digital badges designed using Accredible's badging platform are shown below.
It is clear from Accredibles reviews that many customers are satisfied with their offering, receiving a high ranking across trusted websites, including: 4.5/5 on Capterra, and 8.5/10 TrustRadius. Reviews largely refer to how easy it is to understand and start using.
The negative reviews that contrast this don't refer to issues in what tools the platform provides, but instead largely refer to bugs that customers experience.
Alongside providing their users the necessary features to start digital credentialing, a number of additional features are included in their higher price tiers, for example:
- Bespoke white labelling - Advanced credential design customisation, to tailor it further to your brand’s style.
- Spotlight directory - A search function for employers to find potential candidates who have attained certain credentials.
Now let’s dive into the tools that these organisations provide to enable the provision of these credentials, discussed under the four main areas of digital credentialing: design, issuance, management, and verification. Both the Credly and Accredible platforms offer features under these headings, but the type and quality of these tools differ completely, so it's important to have a complete understanding on what these solutions provide before deciding on a platform.
Credly vs Accredible: Designing Credentials
The ability to customise your credentials is becoming highly demanded by organisations, and both Credly and Accredible do it right.
Credly's badge designer
Credly leads the way in badge design. Offering users access to over 3000 different icons, badges are completely customisable, and can be easily tailored to best represent your course and organisation.
Accredible's badge designer
Similarly, one amazing thing about the Accredible platform is the 1000s of templates that they provide for their users. This is perfect if you do not need to customise the design of your certificates as you are able to start issuing digital credentials to your users very quickly. In contrast to digital badges, you can also incorporate your branding into the design - perfect for creating brand awareness and increasing the reach of your course.
Who does it better?
We believe both platforms provide great badge designer tools, providing you everything that you need to create professional badges, styled exactly how you like. If you are looking to design equally stylish digital certificates, however, you may be hard-pressed to do so using either platform.
Credly vs Accredible: Issuing credentials
Efficient issuance is key to reducing the time associated with credentialing processes, particularly through ‘bulk-uploading’. Both platforms offer this, however one does it far better.
Credly's issuance process
One area that many Credly customers feel lets the platform down is its usability. Because Credly has seemingly tailored their solutions to large enterprises, there is a large amount of complexity involved, with even big corporations complaining about its processes: 41% of reviews on Cuspera didn’t rate Credly highly for the quality of its data import function, a key aspect of certificate automation.
This could be a deterrent for smaller organisations, as well as those looking to maximise efficiencies in their team.
Accredible's issuance process
On the other hand, we love how Accredible do issuing. The efficiencies found in automation of digital certificate processes are a huge benefit to many teams; this is easy to achieve with Accredible through their simple and efficient process, as frequently seen in their reviews.
Who does it better?
Based on legitimate reviews of the respective platforms, customers seem to be more satisfied overall with Accredible's issuance process.
Credly vs Accredible: Managing Credentials
The ‘user profile’ allows users to take full ownership of their credentials. Here, they can store their entire achievement history in one place, as well as easily share them with third-parties through a link (like this one here!). This is a valuable tool for companies looking to maximise the lifelong value of their certificates for their users.
Credly's user profiles
After receiving a notification email of their award from Credly, users can create an account and accept their badge, and add it to their own user profile. Here, they can easily manage and share their hard-earned achievements. Simple, effective, and available to all users - nice.
Accredible's digital wallet
Accredible does offer a version of the user profile called the ‘digital wallet’. However, Accredible does not offer this functionality to all of their customers - it is only unlocked at higher price tiers. This is a huge limitation to the platform as it is a highly demanded, and valuable, feature that is offered as standard by alternatives.
Who does it better?
Although both platforms offer good profiles for your learners to store and manage their credentials, the point here goes to Credly as they provide this functionality as standard to all of their customers; you will have to pay more to unlock this feature in the Accredible platform.
Credly vs Accredible: Verifying Credentials
Both companies are hindered by one aspect: the verifiability and security of their credentials. Now, both Credly and Accredible do offer some users the ability to put their credentials on the blockchain. Great! Because of this, certificates can be made secure, and can be more easily verified than solutions that do not use this technology.
However, this blockchain verification is not standard for all their credentials, and is only provided for certain users. In our opinion, the verification process of certificates is also unnecessarily complicated and extremely long-winded.
This is a stark contrast to some alternatives that make verification automatic and instant when viewing a credential.
Who does it better?
As discussed, neither company does certificate verification well; if this is a pertinent aspect for you, you may need to consider alternative solutions.
Finally, now that we've seen all of the features thatthese platforms offer, let's take a look at their respective pricing plans.
So, we've covered what you get when you sign up to Credly, but what is the price attached to the Credly Acclaim platform? The short answer is: we do not know. A potential downside to Credly is their lack of transparency in their pricing model. In order to find out how much their software will set you back, and what features you will have access to, you will have to contact their sales team. As the company offers multiple products, each requiring separate sign-ons, it is possible that there may be additional costs associated with gaining access to different features. However, an upside to this is that is means that every customer receives a custom quote, tailored to their organisational needs.
Now that we've taken a look at what features Accredible provides, let's see how much their platform actually costs. We appreciate Accredible’s transparency when it comes to the cost of their software. Their four ‘tiers’ allow users to more clearly see what features they will get access to, and providing a free tier is definitely a plus.
This ‘packaging’ pricing structure is not well suited for everyone, however, as it means that not all users have complete access to the platform. Customers unlock more features and increased user limits at respective price tiers, and only gain full access to the platform at the ‘premium’ tier. This could pose an issue for smaller organisations that, thereby, have limited access to the credentialing software.
However, for those planning on issuing to 8,000 or more unique users from the beginning, Accredible certainly provides a very comprehensive list of features, including all the bells and whistles that you need to start credentialing.
Credly vs Accredible: who wins?
So, with all that being said, which is better? Credly or Accredible? Of course, the answer is: it depends on what you need.
Credly wins when it comes to digital badging; if you're looking for digital certificates instead, Accredible is the way to go. Beyond that, your decision will depend on your preferences in the different tools the respective platforms offer regarding credential design, issuance, management, and verification, alongside the price tag that comes with them.
Credly vs Accredible: Summary
- Credly offers digital badges; Accredible offers digital certificates
- Both Credly and Accredible provide great credential design tools
- Accredible's issuance process is easier to use
- Credly does user profiles better
- Both Credly and Accredible make it difficult to verify and secure credentials
- Credly does all pricing in quotes; Accredible offers a transparent pricing structure
When you should go for Credly
Credly is a viable option for those looking to offer digital badges, providing you instant access to all the tools you need to start issuing. Credly may also be a better option if providing your users ownership over a digital achievement record - through ‘user profiles’ - is important to you.
When you should go for Accredible
The complexities associated with Credly’s platform, however, may make it less suited for smaller organisations, and those looking to get started fast. On the other hand, Accredible’s transparent pricing model, free tier, and customisable templates makes getting started much easier, so that you can issue credentials to your users faster. Accredible is also better suited for those who prefer the function of digital certificates over badges.
When you should look for another solution
If any aspects of what these solutions offer aren't in line with your organisational goals, then be sure to check out alternative solutions - there’s lots of them!
Naturally, we recommend our platform - VerifyEd - designed to fill all the gaps of Credly and Accredible, offering:
- Digital certificate and badge creation tools
- Simple and automated issuance
- Unlimited users
- Advanced user profiles
- Instant and free verification
- Sustainable blockchain technology
- Transparent, pay-per-credential pricing
- Free trial of the platform
Want to learn more about what was discussed in this article, or digital credentialing platforms in general? Book a call with one of our team - we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.