FICO Removing "Authorized Users" From Calculations; Credit Piggybackers Scores Dropping

No longer will consumer credit scores be able to get a free ride on another’s credit report; FICO has removed “authorized user” accounts from their calculations.

Previously, consumers with poor credit scores could get themselves added as an authorized user on the credit card account of someone with a good credit score and receive a credit score boost, a practice that, “…is clearly loan fraud,” Craig Watts, the public affairs manager for Fair Isaac, which sells the FICO score, told the Washington Post.

Fair Issac says the change will come about as part of the updated FICO 08 score to debut in September, but an industry source says they’re already seeing the credit scores of authorized users beginning to broadly drop.

Credit scores are used to decide whether people get loans. People inflating their scores, and Fair Issac’s failure to deal with it, has lead to criticism of the company for contributing to the subprime mortgage meltdown.

However, John Ulzheimer, president of Credit.com, a consumer credit website, tells the Detroit Free Press,

…it will also hurt legitimate authorized users, mainly young adults and married women, who have used the strategy to build a solid credit history. These consumers could end up paying more for everything from car loans to credit cards.

If you’re married and listed as an authorized user on a spouse’s account, consider converting it to a joint to avoid a credit score ding.

Changes coming to credit scoring may hamper authorized users [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
Shortcut to good credit will end [Detroit Free Press]
(Photo: Getty)