MyFICO is the consumer division of FICO and is one of the leaders in detailing and scoring credit risks for home purchases, bank loans, credit cards, automobile loans, and retail.
Even if you’ve never heard of FICO, they’ve likely heard of you and are one of the main companies that analyze consumer credit information into a numerical score used by creditors.
These companies obtain financial information about you from FICO and other sources to determine your creditworthiness. The three main credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — as well as 90% of lenders use FICO to determine your fate.
Whether it comes to securing a loan or renting an apartment, most credit checks pull your FICO score. What do you as a consumer need to know about MyFICO? Keep reading to find out.
What is FICO?
FICO is a data analytics company that has been around since the 1950s. Based in San Jose, California, they’ve been helping to evaluate credit risk for decades.
The company uses detailed analytics software to determine the likelihood of you paying back a loan or credit card balance. While Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax created a similar company called Vantage back in 2006, FICO is still the dominant source used by lenders to evaluate creditworthiness.
FICO introduced individual consumer credit scores back in 1989. Today, credit scores vary from reporting agency to reporting agency because some creditors prefer reporting your payment history to just one or two.
Overall, FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Industry specific scores, like ones for mortgages or car loans, can range from 250 to 900. The higher the score, the better and the more likely you’ll be approved for a loan, receive a favorable interest rate, or finance a car.
What products can you purchase from MyFICO as a consumer?
MyFICO is the consumer division of FICO and offers products to help individuals get a better handle on their credit reports and credit scoring.
While you can get a free credit report from each of the main bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, once per year, they don’t include your actual credit score. MyFICO offers a range of packages that are more robust than this free offering.
MyFICO breaks their offerings down into two groups. These two groups are one-time credit reports and scores and ongoing reports and scores. Within both of these groups, you have the option to receive your information from a single bureau or to get your information from all three credit bureaus.
All four product offerings from MyFICO are designed to cater to the specific needs of you, the customer. Let’s look at each one a little more closely.
One-Time Credit Reports and Scores
A one-time report from MyFICO is just that: a single purchase for $19.95 giving you one-time access to your FICO scores and either one or all three reports from the credit bureaus.
FICO scores you differently for different industries and besides your FICO Score 9 report, they give you access to more widely used industry reports for mortgages, automobiles, and credit card lending.
In addition to your FICO scores, purchasing the one-time single bureau report gives you access to one report from the bureau of your choosing. Select between Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion and get instant access to your report.
MyFICO also helps explain the main factors that affect your credit score from the bureau that you chose. If you’re looking for a comprehensive snapshot of your credit picture, then you may want to choose MyFICO’s one-time three bureau report.
Because you’re going from one to three credit bureau reports and scores, the price goes up to $59.85. With that, however, you’ll gain access to all three of the major credit reporting bureaus, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You’ll still get access to all of your available FICO scores and they’ll show you the major factors that determine your score with the three credit bureaus. With their three bureau report, MyFICO also gives you a side by side comparison of your credit report from each one, as well as your FICO Score 8.
Ongoing Reports and Scores from MyFICO
MyFICO’s ongoing reports and score products offer a subscription model with similar options to the one-time reports. You can order an ongoing single bureau report for $19.95 per month, but right now only Equifax is available.
The one-time, ongoing report and score gives you access to all the same offerings as the one-time report, but on a monthly basis.
Multiple FICO scores and your Equifax report are updated monthly. Additionally, MyFICO offers a historical tracking graph for both your FICO Scores and your Equifax report. They also monitor your Equifax report for changes and send FICO Score alert updates.
MyFICO also adds identity theft protection at this level with $1 million in identity theft protection, 24×7 Identity Restoration, and Lost Wallet Protection. If your wallet is lost or stolen, MyFICO helps you cancel and replace missing items. If your identity is stolen, they help you get back on track and provide insurance of up to $1 million dollars.
Interestingly, the three bureau report, for $29.95 a month, drops from a monthly report to a quarterly report. Unlike the single report with Equifax, this option adds TransUnion and Experian to the available reports, although they’re only issued three times per year.
While it’s understandable considering the cost in adding two more credit bureaus to the report, it feels like a step backward from the single bureau offering with Equifax.
But with the three bureau plan, you do get that quarterly monitoring from all three credit bureaus, as well as Intelligent Identity Theft Monitoring. Rather than just passively monitoring your credit reports, MyFico actively engages in monitoring black market websites to see if your personal information
Bonus Features from MyFICO
Additional bonuses for all one-time and ongoing products are the FICO Score 8 Simulator and the Qualifying Interest Rate Estimator. Both of these tools can help you better understand your credit scores and what you can do to improve them.
When buying a house, qualifying for the best possible interest rate can make a huge difference in your monthly payment as well as the quality of the house you’re able to purchase.
MyFICO’s Qualifying Interest Rate Calculator shows you how your FICO Score can affect the rate of your loan and your monthly payment. It also helps you to better understand what you can do to qualify for a lower interest rate.
The FICO Score 8 Simulator can also be a helpful tool for understanding how to improve your creditworthiness. If you’ve ever wondered how a new credit card affects your credit or what would happen to your credit when you take out a mortgage, then this feature is helpful.
With the FICO Score 8 Simulator you can explore 24 simulations to see how your actions would affect your credit score before you actually make a decision.
MyFICO Mobile App
In addition to the MyFICO website, they have also developed a useful app (pictured above) for both Android and iOS.
You can get access to all the same information, robust reports, and side by side comparisons all from your smartphone. While obsessively going over your credit reports while stuck in traffic is ill-advised, the app is helpful in other ways.
For example, you can use the MyFico app to review your credit reports with your bank loan officer on the go. Or use it as a tool to ensure that you get the best rates while negotiation auto financing. You’re able to easily access all the information you need at any time and can trust that it’s completely accurate.
Common Complaints About MyFICO
While MyFICO does offer some interesting and useful products, it is not without its faults. FICO has been around for over 50 years and they’ve been compiling credit scores for nearly 30 years. They do this with ever-advancing algorithms.
These techniques change over time and as a result, so does your credit score. Each time FICO changes the rules by which they base their calculations, your score changes too. With each new version, FICO aims to improve the way the measure your creditworthiness.
For instance, FICO Score 9, which was just recently released to the public, places less emphasis on medical debt. This is terrific news for those with good credit who are saddled with large doctor or hospital bills that have incurred by circumstances outside of their control.
Problems have arisen, however, because not every lender is using the same FICO scoring version. Some may choose to stick with FICO Score 8, which places a higher emphasis on medical debt. Some may decide to use a FICO score that is directly related to their industry such as auto loans or mortgages.
This can lead to confusion and even you seeing a different credit score than the one your lender uses. The frustrating thing is that both scores are technically correct. FICO Score 8, and even version 5, are still considered a valid measurement of your creditworthiness.
They haven’t been deemed obsolete just because FICO changed the formula. The frustration that this can cause is completely understandable and until FICO can remedy this issue, it will continue to cause confusion for customers who use their services.
Which MyFICO product is right for you?
When preparing for an event such as purchasing a house or a car and need to know your credit scores and view your reports, you may just choose MyFICO’s one-time option. This saves you the recurring billing while still giving you a snapshot of your credit in real time.
It arms you with the information you need to get a lower interest rate for a loan or get more favorable terms for a credit card. The most economical option is obviously the one-time, single bureau report.
If saving money is important to you, while at the same time receiving a comprehensive snapshot of your current credit status, try augmenting this option with freely available reports. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus every 12 months.
Choosing MyFICO’s one-time plan still gives you access to one bureau plus multiple FICO Score options. If you use this in conjunction with the free reports available from the other two, you can get the same report as the $59.85 option, but at one-third the cost.
If you’re interested in repairing your credit or are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft, the ongoing products offered by MyFICO may be right for you. While the three bureau version is only quarterly, it still keeps you up to date on any changes that occur to your credit.
Additionally, the added bonuses to their packages can help you predict how the actions you take can affect your credit in the future. It also helps you make decisions that can save you money with features like the FICO Score 8 Simulator and the Qualifying Interest Rate Estimator.
MyFICO: Bottom Line
Whichever option you choose, remember that MyFICO is a division of FICO itself so you can have the peace of mind know you’re paying for reputable credit monitoring and reporting.
MyFICO also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. While there are issues with multiple versions of FICO calculators being used, they do offer one of the most accurate packages available.