Piggybacking On A Stranger's Good Credit To Raise Your FICO Score?

Yahoo! has an interesting story about the practice of “piggybacking” in which people with poor credit pay to be added as authorized users on someone’s credit card account, thereby picking up a boost from the “lender’s” payment history. Think it sounds silly? Some people are making good money doing it:

Brian Kinney, 44, a retired Army officer in Glendale, Calif., pulls in more than $2,500 a month by lending out 19 credit card spots on two old Citibank cards with strong payment histories. Kinney, whose FICO score is above 800 on the scale of 300 to 850,

$2,500 a month? What? It’s a good deal for the “renters” too. Just ask this guy:

Estruch paid $1,800 in December for three credit card spots, and by January, his FICO score jumped from 550 to 715. In mid-March, he closed on his four-bedroom beige stucco house after obtaining a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage from a unit of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. It carried a 7.5 percent interest rate and required no down payment.

Guess what he does for a living? He’s a mortgage broker. Ha! Of course too much of this behavior could cause creditors to take action and change the effect that authorized user accounts have on FICO scores, essentially making them useless to those for whom they were designed. —MEGHANN MARCO

‘Piggybacking’ roils credit industry [Yahoo!] (Thanks, Kimberly and Jason!)
(Photo: the illustrious untitled 13)