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Experian to stop showing credit scores through MyFICO.com

February 06, 2009|Bloomberg News

Borrowers have less than 10 days to see their FICO credit scores calculated by Experian Group Ltd., one of the three biggest personal credit-rating bureaus.

Experian notified Fair Isaac Corp., the Minneapolis credit-rating company, in January that it was terminating its contract Feb. 14 to provide information to MyFICO.com, the website operated by Fair Isaac that enables consumers to look at their scores, said Craig Watts, public relations director for Fair Isaac.

Lenders often use the FICO score devised by Fair Isaac to assess creditworthiness when providing credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. Consumers have ordered 23 million FICO scores from the three major credit bureaus via MyFICO.com since 2001, according to Fair Isaac.

"When one of those three scores goes dark, consumers have lost a significant part of their ability to understand and manage their credit ratings," Watts said. MyFICO.com is the only source for consumers to view their Experian FICO scores, Watts said.

The other two major credit-scoring companies, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion, will still provide data to MyFICO.com. Lenders will continue to receive Experian FICO scores.

Consumers can still find credit scores based on Experian data on Experian's website, but they won't be FICO scores, said Susan Henson, an Experian spokeswoman, who attributed the termination to a "nonmutually beneficial" relationship.

The decision was not connected to Fair Isaac's lawsuit against Experian over unfair competitive practices, yet the litigation has not helped their overall relationship, Henson said.

When consumers buy their credit scores through MyFICO.com, they obtain scores similar to what the lenders use, said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group. "Without the participation of Experian, it cuts down on that supposition," Sherry said.

One FICO score and credit report costs $15.95. Consumers can order one free credit report annually from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion by going to www.annualcreditreport.com, but credit scores are not provided.

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