digital badges education

Top 3 Credly Competitors To Watch Out For In 2021

Giovanna Pergher
Anja Milovanović

Writer

Nov 20, 2021
9 min

Credly is a well-known digital badge (credentialing) software loved by dozens — but it doesn’t come without flaws. Here is what you need to know about the best options to substitute it.

Do you need a short break from Credly for any reason whatsoever?

Then you’ve come to the right place — these Credly competitors give it a run for its money!

Credly is a well-known digital badge (credentialing) software loved by dozens — but it doesn’t come without flaws. 

It is an enterprise-level service that might fail to meet the needs of “smaller” users. Besides, it’s almost impossible to know how it works or how much it costs — without pricing, free trial, or free plans in sight. 

To make your quest for the perfect digital certificates and badges software easier, we have scoured a market for Credly alternatives that work better.

The best replacements needed to have the following features:

  • Verifiable digital credentials, taking advanced security measures to prevent forgery;
  • Multiple use-cases — catering to different types of organizations, as well as individual users;
  • Scalability — an ideal Credly replacement can adjust to users’ growth and scale up or down as needed;
  • Social sharing capabilities to turn badge-owners into online promoters.

After testing the Credly alternatives that meet the criteria, we selected these as our top 3:

  1. Virtualbadge.io;
  2. CertifyMe;
  3. Badgr.

In this article, we will show you the side-by-side comparison for:

  • Ease of use — how fast and easy a complete beginner can create and manage digital certificates, badges, and participants;
  • Feature score — how rich in features these alternatives are;
  • Use cases — the overall flexibility of the tool and how many different entities it caters to;
  • Aesthetics — the ability to create aesthetically pleasing certificates and badges with a modern feel or use the existing template library.

Stay tuned to learn more! 🔍👀

#1 Virtualbadge.io — A Social Media-First Digital Certificate Solution

Let us introduce Virtualbadge.io as a first contender:

Virtualbadge.io

Virtualbadge.io is a flexible digital certificate and badge solution made with the following user categories in mind:

  • Coaches and trainers;
  • Online academies;
  • Enterprises.

With participant management and precious data insights, these user groups will find it easy to create certificates and badges with Virtualbadge.io. 

Online certificates are stored on European servers and are 100% GDPR compliant. They are safe and handy for all parties involved, with 24/7 verification availability.

Testing Virtualbadge.io — How Does It Work?

In a word — easy. No tutorials or previous experience is required. Let’s take it for a spin together!

First, pick a template or select a background and build on top of it later.


To illustrate the ease of use, we opted for one of the backgrounds from the library. Certificate Designer reveals a streamlined, clutter-free editor with simple options:

Designer tool of Virtualbadge.io

Here you can still change your mind and upload your design.

Predefined Fields help with automation: enter the data all the participants share, and later on just drag and drop CSV, so the tool does the labor instead.

Add recipient information and predefined fields of your choice

Preview will show what it looks like on desktop, mobile, and multiple social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Campaign Setup is the next step, with Email Editor, Social Sharing, and final Certificate Setup fields:

Campaign Setup from Virtualbadge.io

The rest will show multiple points of preview for you and certificate recipients — which you can add in a flash:

Upload your recipients and send certificates

Virtualbadge.io Strengths

  1. Virtualbadge.io is built for social sharing — another marketing channel at your service.

Certificates and badges are an excellent way for their recipients to display their achievements and knowledge proudly — and with that attract new professional and academic opportunities.

They will bring you along as well!

Sharing badges on social media puts you in the spotlight as well, gets you authentic testimonials, and turns participants into your brand advocates in a natural, non-intrusive way. 

There are ways to incentivize sharing as well:

Turn your recipients into your promoters
  1. Audience tracking provides valuable insights.

Virtualbadge.io gathers data on users who share their badges on their social media  — paying close attention to LinkedIn, the essential online professional hub.

Automatic add certificates to LinkedIn Profiles of your students

Participants’ certificates and badges point to your company’s LinkedIn page; with LinkedIn integration, you can add the company’s LinkedIn ID while creating their certificates.

  1. Ease of use.

Virtualbadge.io is fast and agile. 

We suppose you’re familiar with those “I need it done YESTERDAY!” situations and have built a tool that lets you get things done in the second-best moment: ASAP.

If you’re one of those people who regularly skip the instructions manuals and wing it, Virtualbadge.io is just the thing for you. 

Virtualbadge.io Weaknesses

  1. A limited number of templates.

Template library ticks all the boxes with modern, professional certificate templates — but there’s room for improvement. With a built-in designer, you can easily tweak the elements or upload your perfect template and overcome this issue.

  1. Social tracking challenges.

Virtualbadge.io enables instant sharing on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. For those networks, tracking works like clockwork. 

However, it may be difficult to track the shares on other social media because Virtualbadge.io does not provide direct sharing links for recipients. They need to download their certificates first and then upload them manually on other social media profiles. These shares won’t count in the tool’s statistic panel.

Virtualbadge.io Pricing

There is something for everyone, with prices as scalable as plans:

Virtualbadge.io Pricing

And here’s what’s FREE:

#2 CertifyMe — A SaaS-Based Digital Credential Platform

CertifyMe helps educators, event marketers, and HRs with digital credential creation and management.


This digital certificate and badge platform relies on QR codes for recipient verification. 

Additionally, CertifyMe certificates and badges help with brand recognition and spread awareness. Certificates are easy to share on social media and customizable so that users can include a branding banner and a CTA button.

Testing CertifyMe — How Does It Work?

Creating and awarding a credential with CertifyMe is a 3-step process:

  1. Event Details — Where you’ll need to add the program/event name, the institution that is issuing the certificate, and the reason for receiving it.

  1. Credential Template — Here, you have two options: upload your own badge or certificate design or create a new one with Canva. After you’re done with the design, enter the participant’s name and use drag-and-drop to add the QR verification code.
    “Click to update Advertisement Details”, and the template is finished.

  1. Award the credentials — Simply type in the name and corresponding email or award in bulk:

A full page of different certificate previews shows the recipients’ point of view upon receiving the certificate. 

Here’s one example of what it looks like:

CertifyMe Strengths

  1. Ease of use — Certificate/badge editor is simplified to the maximum and intuitive even for absolute beginners.
  2. Canva integration — Canva is a robust design tool with tons of possibilities. Direct integration leaves plenty of room to create a beautiful certificate, provided that you’re familiar with the Canva design tool.
  3. Social sharing options — Instant sharing buttons make it easy for certificate recipients to share their accomplishments on just about any social network:

CertifyMe Weaknesses

  1. It is impossible to try CertifyMe as an individual user.

You don’t belong to any organization or enterprise and only wish to test the tool with those first 50 free credentials as promised?

Not so fast:

Quite puzzling, considering that CertifyMe claims to provide a solution for trainers, teachers, event marketers, and HR professionals. 

If you’re a solo player, we doubt that you’ll manage to sign up for free.

  1. No templates are available.

The tool itself has no ready templates available. You need to import templates from Canva or design them yourself and upload them from the computer.

CertifyMe Pricing

CertifyMe has four pricing plans available:

  • Basic — $5/month;
  • Supreme — $25/month;
  • Premium — $50/month;
  • VIP — $150/month.

Differences reside in the number of admin accounts, APIs, integrations, and white-labeling.

CertifyMe offers the first 50 credentials for free and has a “no-questions-asked” money-back policy within 11 days of purchase. 

#3 Badgr — Digital Badges and Stackable Micro-credentials

We decided to spice things up with an unlikely Credly competitor worth considering: Badgr.

Badgr is a digital credential platform focused on achievement recognition and tracking. 

It is built to connect the achievements, displayed as badges, into one path that illustrates progress and branches where the learning takes the participants.

This makes it ideal for organizations that put a strong emphasis on education and internal professional development:

Testing Badgr — How Does It Work?

Your (free) Badgr account will consist of three parts:

  1. Backpack — A place for recipients to store, organize and share all the badges they’ve earned. Badges awarded from the Badgr platform are automatically added.
    To add the badge, the recipient needs a badge web address or badge award image. In Advanced settings, badge owners may add them by pasting their JSON codes.

You can add badges from any Open Badges platform to the Backpack.

  1. My Pathways — Pathway is a Pro feature that connects badges from Open Badges platforms into unique knowledge pathways. Stacking multiple certificates and badges in a meaningful way 
  1. Issuers — To start awarding badges, you need to create an account with personal details first; this info later appears on certificates to prove a credible person/entity issued the certificate.

Badgr Strengths

  1. Job market insights.

Skills-based education and hiring make Badgr stand out — it is their USP.

Connecting digital credentials and learning pathways with skills highly sought-out on the market clears the path to attractive job opportunities. Simply put: Badgr users look more educated and competent to employers.

  1. Great for students, freelancers, and professionals — Badgr is a great tool for making your career or studies global or showing potential clients across the world that you have what it takes for the job. It is connected to Indeed.com and real-time job search while making your skills recognizable within the ESCO (European Skills/Competences, Qualifications, and Occupations) ecosystem.

Badgr Weaknesses

  1. Can get too complicated.

Although Badgr has a lot of potential and a good idea behind it, it is way too complicated for an average user to figure out and make the best use out of it. 

Between Backpacks, Pathways, and trying to decipher how to use them, it would take a fraction of time for the badge recipients to simply opt for something else. 

The same goes for Issuers; not separating badge issuers from recipients only adds to the confusion.

And in the end — for other Credly competitors, tinkering with JSON (or any other) code isn’t a requirement.

  1. It has limited use cases.

Badgr covers highly specific users: with less focus on marketing and business side of digital certificate distribution, and more on internal career advancement and learning. This makes it better for educational purposes within academic institutions and companies where it matters.

  1. Pathways are for Pro accounts only.

Participants are unlikely to pay only for organizing the badges they have earned: it can be done with any other digital credential wallet. Unless the organization pays for their account, they probably won’t use it.

Badgr Pricing

You can try Badgr for free and do quite a lot with a free plan, or get a quote from their team for Badgr Pro:

Final Verdict: Which Credly Competitor to Choose?

  • Opt for CertifyMe if your organization needs badge recipient verification, and don’t mind using Canva to create eye-catching certificates.
  • Try Badgr if you want to enable participants to become visible on the global job market with credentials tied together into knowledge pathways — but beware of slightly complicated work philosophy and limited use cases.
  • Virtualbadge.io is the best solution if you want it all: professional, secure badges and certificates that serve as additional marketing channels, which look good and are automated to perfection.

You can see for yourself: each of our plans comes with a week-long free trial, or you can contact us for a custom plan, made to fit, or any other questions you have. We’d love to hear from you!

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

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