Experian Yanks FICO Score Away From Consumers

Soon consumers will only be able to see two out of the three credit scores lenders use to judge their credit worthiness. Out of nowhere, Experian announced it will no longer be selling its version of the FICO score through myFICO.com.

Neither company said why the move was made. Two data points come to mind.One, the credit bureaus real customers have never been consumers but lenders. Two, the bureaus mind having to pay FICO to use its scoring technology and have been trying to develop and market their own versions of credit scores, although FICO is really the only one with broad adoption. It’s unclear how they tie in but they seem to be relevant. Perhaps some kind of cost-saving measure or the end-game in a licensing scuffle.

The cutoff date is February 14th, so stock up now if you were planning on getting your Valentine a comprehensive credit score package.

Sale of Experian-based FICO scores to be discontinued on myFICO.com [myFICO]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    I say just hand the whole thing over to D&B and let them do it, like they do for businesses.

  2. nicemarmot617 says:

    Probably some higher-ups butting heads over some stupid little bitchy thing. I see it all the time in my line of work. You’d be amazed how much people don’t care about logic…or profits…when their perceived “pride” is at stake.

  3. SadSam says:

    Exp. is going to sell the score through Exp.?

    The gov. should require the credit reporting agencies (including FICO) to fork over the scores for free three times a year just like they do with the reports.

    • Todd Fernandez says:

      @SadSam: seriously? thats what we have come to expect?

      If you have information on me I should be able to see it whenever I want it and I don’t need to give you a purpose. If the information is WRONG they should have 72 hours to fix it end of story. The responsibility to make sure they are not telling falsehoods about you should not be yours. And your ability to see them should not be restricted to once (or 3 times) a year

      • JustThatGuy3 says:

        @Todd Fernandez:
        @Saboth:

        Um, why? It’s a private company, that’s developed an assessment of you, which other private companies can choose to consider or disregard, at their pleasure. If you apply for a job and give references, do you think you have some sort of right to listen in on the calls between the hiring manager and your references?

        • Anonymous says:

          @JustThatGuy3:
          The two situations are not identical. Giving references while applying for a job is something which I do consciously and proactively.

          Much of the credit bureau info is gathered without my knowledge or consent through data mining, interlocking agreements, etc.

          You want access to my info to sell a product and make a profit, using data I did not authorize? DAMN right I want access to all your files on me any damn time I demand it.

          I will go a step farther. I favor a federal law prohibiting any company from gathering any data on me without my express written consent, or storage of any such data in any for whatsoever. In other words, put the credit bureaus out of business. Their info is often faulty; they fail to adhere to the law regarding corrections when they make mistakes; and they double dip on product sales.

          It is hard to imagine many lower corporation lifeforms than credit bureaus.

        • thezone says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Apples and Oranges. When you give references you have an idea of the type of information the reference will be giving. With the private company you have no idea what they are saying or why they are saying it. If you could choose which reporting agency the lender was using then you would have a more valid point. As a consumer you should have a right to review the information being used to evaluate you. That’s why you have access to a credit report every year. You should also have access to your credit scores. These numbers are the primary reason you receive or don’t receive credit. Therefore, you should have a right to see the number. In fact I believe the factors of the formula (not the percentages) should all be made public. It’s like an ingredients list. You have to say what’s in it but not how much.

        • johnva says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Why? Because it’s information on you that they are using to royally profit by charging the lenders, and it majorly affects your life. They can charge lenders whatever they want for all I care, but we should have a right to know exactly what information they are selling on us for free and on-demand. If they don’t like it, they should get out of the business they’re in.

        • reviled says:

          @JustThatGuy3: If an employeer gives a false reference they can be sued for doing such. So no, you don’t truly have a right to listen, but if false information is given you do have legal recourse.

      • the_wiggle says:

        @Todd Fernandez: amen to that.

        may i also add punitive damages if the data is not fixed?

        kthx

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @SadSam: FICO is a product of Fair Isaac – why should we get that product for free?

      It’s important that we get free access to our credit reports because that database contains our personal information. It’s not a product, but a database. The FICO score is simply a score built upon that database, so we’re not entitled to a free look at it.

      • SadSam says:

        @InfiniTrent:

        This article sums it up nicely. [articles.moneycentral.msn.com]

        FICO gets to profit off of me (they sell it to credit card companies, the banks, etc.) so I ought to get a cut – which for me is a free look at my score.

      • snowburnt says:

        @InfiniTrent: It’s a product that amounts to legalized spying. they have as much if not more access to every piece of my life as I do. Their “product” can make or break my life. It could prevent me from getting work, getting a loan and could force me to pay millions more over the course of my life than I need to.

        If the information is right, it’s my problem, apparently if it’s wrong it’s my problem too.

        Further it’s also used to verify my identity now too with soft credit checks. I don’t know how I feel about the government having all that power, or if there is a better way of doing it, but i should be able to see everything that is on it as often as I want and I should be able to contest fraudulent items as they come up.

      • Ingram81 says:

        @InfiniTrent: That FICO score is based off of my information. First I should have free access AT ALL TIMES to that information. Secondly, if anyone wants to have access to that information I should be the one to either allow or deny them that right. I might be willing to do this if I either A.) Get a cut of any profits resulting from that information or B.) Have access to the secondary information for free.

        If I were to get access to your medical records and that access resulted in you being denied coverage from multiple health insurance agencies, or having to pay higher insurance rates, you think that would be fair. Because I took your information made up some algorithm, and it now affects you negatively. But you have to pay me to look at why its affecting you negatively.

        Makes a lot of sense.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @Ingram81: 1) i agree that a person should be able to review their report for free at any time.

          2) you can opt-out of credit solicitation (which effectively eliminates their ability to review your information). yes, i believe it should be opt-in. yes, it’s very cumbersome (i believe you have to re-up periodically), but it can be done.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @SadSam: The point of the free credit reports is so you can see and try to correct any errors. Getting your score doesn’t further that goal because you have no direct control over it.

    • JediJohn82 says:

      @SadSam: Consumers should really have unlimited free access to their personal data online…it’s our data, they just happen to collect it and share it with third parties for a profit.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @SadSam: i’m actually glad they aren’t provided for free.

      *ducks*

      people don’t understand that there are literally hundreds of different scoring models sold by the bureaus (in addition to the ability, as a lender, to work with the bureaus to create your own scoring model).

      i have customers come in to my office saying “i have a 750″ & when i pull their score, it’s entirely different. trying to explain why it’s different is often difficult since the web tries so hard to relate that your FICO is the only score that matters.

      if “your score” is free, which one? all of them? & how do you propose we educate the consumer to understand the difference?

      i think a better idea is to ignore the score altogether & focus on the report, since the score is based on the data found within the reports. make sure your report is in order & everything else will follow.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @mac-phisto: & just an FYI – a part of FRCA, your score is supposed to be disclosed to you upon request when you apply for a loan & must be disclosed when approved/disapproved for a home loan. 15 U.S.C. 1681g § 609 (pdf link to FCRA –> [www.ftc.gov] – search for 609 to find appropriate section).

      • thezone says:

        @mac-phisto: yes they all should be free. Especially since when you ask for credit it will lower your score. If a customer had the ability to know they had a lower score for a car and they may not be approved they would have the option of not buying the car, fixing the issue or waiting until their credit was better. Now a person with bad credit will be denied and then they will have a lower score because of it. The more educated people are the more responsible they can be.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @thezone: alright, but even if i throw you a 400 page list of every score you have, there’s nothing that requires me, as a lender, to give you my approval thresholds. so should we release that to you also?

          as a lender, i may also have a DTI (debt-to-income) ratio that you must meet. should i show you that?

          & i may disqualify certain types of income based on whether they meet my underwriting criteria. would you like the criteria?

          & even after all that is done, i may still deny you a loan b/c certain elements within your report that are classic warning signs of default. would you like the list?
          ====
          only with all this information (& more) does the score even matter. people – your score is not the alpha/omega of obtaining credit. there’s a lot more that’s taken into consideration, so please don’t get so worked up about it.

          i would much rather see consumers reviewing the “meat” of their report for accuracy than see them reduce their knowledge to a 3-digit number (or a myriad of 3-digit numbers that make no sense out of context).

          if you want to be an informed consumer when car shopping, obtain financing before you even go out – you’ll often get a better rate at a credit union or (some) banks than on the car lot, you’ll be pre-approved so you know how much you can afford & you don’t have to play “4-square” with the dealer to haggle a good deal.

          • johnva says:

            @mac-phisto: Why can’t people do both? When you get your FICO score, you get a report along with it. Getting the score also doesn’t in any way prevent you from reviewing your report.

  4. adamczar says:

    Does this affect getting the score through annualcreditreport.com? I check my score 3 times a year there, once with each company.

  5. Snakeophelia says:

    Well, that sucks. The MyFico site has been tremendously helpful to me over the past year, not least because I have Score Watch and receive emails when my score or balances fluctuate, or when there is a inquiry against my credit. I hope that’s something they can continue to provide.

  6. Saboth says:

    Your Fico score should be available for free, anytime, anywhere, from the IRS website. Since this is a score that determines if you can get a job, what your interest rates are, if you can own a home…this is something that should just be provided, like a social security number.

  7. Goatweed says:

    Im glad I opted to use MyFico last week, just in time!

    This is ridiculous though, its YOUR score, determined by judging YOUR financial decisions and history. It was bad enough that you had to even pay for it but now for that to be pulled away it’s disgusting – especially today when being informed about every aspect of your personal finances is so important to long-term security.

    • Necoras says:

      @Goatweed: But it’s THEIR algorithm. It’s YOUR bank account, but you still have to pay Quicken to use their software (yes, I know quicken online is free, but it’s limited functionality like with the credit report websites) and it’s YOUR tax return but you still have to pay to use Turbo Tax.

      Just because the information is about YOU doesn’t mean that you’ve done the work to aggregate it and come up with an (arguably) useful number.

      Now, that said, coming up with a number that will determine your ability to get a loan or job and saying “ha ha, you can’t see it” does seem unfair.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        @Necoras: While I don’t agree with the “free credit score, anytime you want it” stance that’s forming here, your examples are not parallel to the situation.

        When you use Quicken or Turbo Tax they are providing you with a service (simplifying your taxes, dividing your finances) to your advantage (paying your taxes, paying your bills). Fico on the other hand is providing the lenders/jobs/etc with that service (determining your creditworthiness) to their advantage; all they are providing you with is access to the information they are giving those companies.

        • ExtraCelestial says:

          @TinkishDelight:

          Oh I was cut off..

          The point is we are not profiting from the score in any way. Banks are able to make informed decisions because of the scores while we are not benefiting from them.

        • Ingram81 says:

          @TinkishDelight: They are not giving me the information they are providing those companies. They only give that information to me if I pay for it.

          Furthermore I pay Quicken for a service that I choose to use, and can disuse at any time if I so choose. I shouldn’t have to pay them for access to my data at any point, and I should have control over whether they even have access to my data.

          Lets put this in context of your medical history. Would you feel comfortable with a company having free-willy-nilly access to your medical records?

      • Ingram81 says:

        @Necoras: Right and since it is MY information, I should have the option of not letting THEM have a damned bit of access to it, and if they want it I should either get a cut of profit, or get the results of their algorithm for free. No information for them = algorithm can chug dirt. Their algorithm is USELESS without data.

  8. sonneillon says:

    I don’t know why people would pay for a credit score, if I need to know my credit score for a loan the place I’m applying for will give me the paperwork if I ask nicely. Even if I say hey what’s my credit score they tell me. And that’s free. Combo that up with the free credit report and you’ve got all the information you need to still not get that loan.

    • Necoras says:

      How is the FICO score different from my Experian PLUS score? Will I still be able to get my PLUS score?

    • Necoras says:

      @sonneillon: When a lender pulls your credit score it goes down. When I pay to get my credit score it remains unaffected. $12 a month isn’t bad to be able to pull my credit report/scores at will and get an e-mail any time anything (credit inquiry, new account, etc.) shows up on it. Finding out about one new fake account within a few weeks of it being created could save me thousands in the long run.

      • internetsguy says:

        @Necoras: this is not true. if you’re shopping around for a car loan/mortgage, you have a small window of time where multiple inquiries will not negatively affect your score. this is done to allow people to shop around for the best loan. i don’t believe this is the same for credit cards.

    • Tsubasa says:

      @sonneillon: That’s great if you are just getting your score out of curiosity. Most people plan in advance BEFORE applying for the loan, to have time to correct errors and make sure their scores are as high as possible.

      • sonneillon says:

        @Tsubasa:
        But you can see the negative items on your credit report for free which you can correct. The number is just an arbitrary designation and you’ll be having them pull your credit report anyways with that loan, so it’s nice to ask what your credit score is.

  9. sleze69 says:

    So after Valentine’s Day, where can I get my experian score?

    • Chantillian says:

      @sleze69: My guess: go to some lender, figure out if they use Experian, then go through the motions of applying for credit – aborting the process when you see your Experian score.

      What a big waste of time for lenders and consumers. But I’m not seeing any other way.

    • supergaijin says:

      @sleze69:

      You can get your Experian score from Experian after the 14th, but it WILL NOT BE THE FICO SCORE LENDERS USE. It will be what’s called “FAKO” because it’s a FAKE FICO-like score Experian is trying to push. It’s completely BOGUS.

      There is some bank in Pennsylvania that will give you youre Experian FICO on your bank statement, and they have a long-term contract, so this is the ONLY place I know of to get a legitimate Experian REAL FICO after the 14th.

  10. Tsubasa says:

    Actually, I JUST tried to get my Experian score through Experian’s own website a few days ago, and at some point in the process it redirected me to freecreditreport.com! I didn’t even realize what had happened until AFTER I got my score… as a Consumerist reader I am well aware of freecreditreport.com and would never have used it. Sure enough I ended up having to call and cancel my “trial subscription”.

    This may explain why Experian is not working with myfico.com, if they are in cahoots with freecreditreport.com. What a scam!

    The sad part is I was willing to pay Experian directly for my score, but they won’t even let you, “get your free score” was the only option.

    • wcnghj says:

      @Tsubasa: *sigh* Any score from anyplace besides myfico.com, transunioncs.com and equifax.com is a FAKO. No lenders use FAKO scores.

    • Stephmo says:

      @Tsubasa: Experian isn’t “in cahoots” with freecreditreport.com – they OWN freecreditreport.com.

      Experian is all about owning data and data companies – they’re trying to become the end-all-be all of consumer information. They own a ton of companies and it should be no surprise that they’re going to take their balls to the companies they own.

  11. thebluepill says:

    I hope Infighting Makes the whole FICO scam become such a muddled mess that the whole system goes away.

    Its simply the largest crime against consumers ever conconced. Period.

  12. Trotsky says:

    I agree with thebluepill. It’s something that has taken on an importance far beyond what it should have. So, my debt has something to do with my ability to work a particular job? My debt affects my ability to drive a car?
    Such bull!

    • thebluepill says:

      @Trotsky:

      Its not just your debt now, its your “mix of credit” you are using and who in your family has access to your credit card, or that time you refused to pay the cable company’s overcharge 6 years ago and they charged it off..

      Being Moral and Responsible actually lowers your score in this scheme..

  13. menty666 says:

    I know this won’t be the popular opinion, but who really cares? At this point there’s so much erroneous information in the credit DB’s that the scores aren’t going to be terribly accurate anyway. Not to mention the credit worthiness software is what helped cause the credit meltdown in the first place when it erroneously labeled the mortgage backed security products as top shelf investments.

    If a car dealership is hurting for business and is willing to turn away a customer based on one piece of information provided by a monolithic corporate black box, then they deserve the bankruptcy that’s just around the corner.

    What ever happened to 2 pay stubs and a tax return and businesses doing their own credit worthiness determinations? Have we come so far from self sufficiency that this is the ONLY way people will be judged in businesses?

    In short, F ‘em.

    • thebluepill says:

      @menty666:

      Amen..

      There needs to be a grass-roots effort to get back to something better. Something prudent, that isnt arbitrary and is more reliable.

      I would wager that Income and Employment History is a greater gauge than simple repayment history and all of these new variables in play. Yes, there is a place for it, but that Score has become too heavily weighted in every transaction.

      Its is becoming a “Society Score” that is used in all facets of life. Hell, there are even commercials where people introduce them selves as “Hi, im a 680, my fiance is a 720, My tightwad uncle who has no credit cards is a 580! he is scum!”. ..

      Its pure insanity.

    • Ingram81 says:

      @menty666: Yeah but sadly the American tax payer will have no choice but to bail their sorry asses out.

  14. katinka says:

    suze orman labels this an “inexcusable anti-consumer move”

    [www.suzeorman.com]

  15. nucwin83 says:

    I don’t necessarily think the scores should be free, but I think consumers are entitled to see these scores without it affecting their credit.

    Or hell, let’s see Fair Isaac step up for consumers and release the massive calculation they use to come up with the numbers. Like that’ll ever happen.

    From my personal experience, EXP and TU tend to go lighter on you than EQ. So if you add a few points to your EQ score, you’re probably in range for the EXP score. Plus I’ve seen many more lenders use EQ for whatever reason. But that’s just my experience.

  16. AstraBabble says:

    In the words of Dave Ramsey, Stop worshiping at the feet of the FICO god! Who cares about that score? Why are people still using credit at all? if you want something, save for it! You don’t even need a credit score for buying a house. you do have to have a good savings, a good down payment and you can get manual underwriting which is the way it should be. Debt is what drowned this country. put the big 3 credit report scammers out of business by NOT using credit.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @AstraBabble: Not everyone has $250k in savings to drop on a house. Not everyone has $15k to drop on a car. Building savings takes time, and in the meantime one is still in need of a car.

    • grumpygirl says:

      @AstraBabble: I care about my FICO score when the raise my insurance rates because of it. It’s also important to me when someone decides not to hire me because of it.

      If it were only about credit and debt, I wouldn’t care. But it’s not.

  17. JGKojak says:

    This should be illegal.

    Its information about ME– and I should have FREE access to it anytime I’d like, period.

  18. wagnerism says:

    Maybe they figure that with enough samples, someone might figure out their secret formula on calculating the score.

    Should a $10 collection account that was filed and paid off four years ago drop my score by 100 points? Looks like it labels me a “deadbeat”.

    This is a preemptive strike against the calls for transparency.

  19. JGKojak says:

    I have a great idea.

    Every lender/institution ask people wanting credit or money to fill out an application asking for income and proof of such. If they meet criteria, they get the loan/credit, if not, tough. No credit score required.

    If you’re worried about too many deadbeats, up t he income requirements.

  20. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    I got something else those FICO bastards can yank…

  21. jenjen says:

    What you get isn’t what lenders get anyway. I got MyFICO scores in preparation for househunting. My mortgage guy pulled them shortly afterward and got different – higher – numbers. So wtf? Now that I’ve been househunting for THREE FRICKING MONTHS (buyer’s market my @$$) I’m sure my scores have dipped substantially because he’s had to pull them a few times every time he was qualifying me for a higher amount than last time. So ridiculous.

  22. azpete says:

    My score went down to 810. Why? Last year I refused to pay a 250 $ co-pay to Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood Arizona.
    Why?
    Because the have peformed a simple hernia surgery on me which turned into 4 and made me, a healthy male a disabled one with one ball to hang on to.Then they had the “balls” of course to report me.
    There is no fairness in the system and there is no way you can sue a hospital if you loose a testicle.The attorneys will represent you only if you loose a heart.

  23. olderbudwizer says:

    I’m calling my senator and representatives. This is messed up. People wanting to get a car loan or mortgage deserve to know what their FICO is before they apply. With this result, you have no way of knowing what your score is until the lender actually pulls your score – the consumer is now operating ‘in the blind’. Bastards!

  24. pollyannacowgirl says:

    I don’t care what ANYONE says, this whole credit score thing is a farking SCAM. It’s extortion.

    I can see how it started out as a good thing. But it’s gotten byzantine and corrupt as hell. There should be ONE company that compiles the data and issues the score. Your score is lowered if a lender inquires? If you inquire? That’s BULLSHEET. Utter bull.

  25. Noah_Bodie says:

    Experian will still sell a FICO score to lenders. They just won’t let you the consumer see it. This would seem to violate the spirit of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Perhaps even the letter of the law.

    Complain to Congress and the FTC.