August 17, 2015

Credit Score

Your Credit Score Matters

The three-digit number that identifies you as either a great credit risk for lenders—or a potential liability, impacts your entire life.  Every time you borrow money, rent an apartment or open a retail charge account, you’re asking someone to trust you.  By scoring individuals based on past payment history and future ability to pay, lenders, landlords, utility companies and insurance carriers calculate risk before making decisions.

Types Of Credit Scores Used

There are virtually dozens of credit scores available in the online credit marketplace.  Individuals and companies use many of these to gauge risk and to predict how well a financial contract will be fulfilled.  Credit bureaus, financial institutions and private corporations who develop analytics create their own versions of credit scores to use in their own industry or to sell to other organizations. 

FICO VS. FAKO

The FICO credit-scoring model is the one most used by lenders in the United States.  While individual financial institutions may score loan applicants using their own criteria, most rely on FICO scores in one way or another.  Other scores, sometimes referred to as “fako” scores include those other than FICO that were developed for educational purposes only or for use by specific lenders.  These scores may closely mimic FICO scores, though they may not be actually used to make credit decisions.    

Scores go by many different names including,

VantageScore, Plus Score, Scorex Plus, TransRisk New Account Score, Credit Optics Score, CE Score and Experian National Equivalency Score, to name a few.  Each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian produce many of these consumer credit score products.

It is important when purchasing credit scores to understand exactly which scores you’re getting.

Top 5 Credit Scoring Sites

BestCredit.net has selected top websites for consumer credit scores.  Each review is based on the types of scores available, pricing, and frequency of availability.

Myfico.com

  • Exclusive site for FICO Scores
  • Used by 90% of Top Lenders
  • All Three Credit Bureau Scores available
  • FICO Score Watch
  • FICO 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Credit Industry Standard Scores

The consumer division of the FICO Corporation offers credit scores to consumers under Myfico.com.  The company claims to provide credit scores to 90% of financial institutions, retailers and auto dealers across the nation.  FICO sells three scores calculated through each of the three major credit bureaus based on their specific information.  Scores alone are a bit pricey, but this site is the only one authorized to sell original FICO products.  Individual scores for the credit bureaus are $19.95 per bureau or $58.95 for all three.  In addition to credit scores, the site offers a full range of identity theft products and credit monitoring services at different price points.

FreeScoresandMore

  • Monthly 3-Bureau Scores
  • Daily Credit Monitoring and Alerts
  • Credit Information Hotline
  • Identity Fraud Support Services

Monthly Credit Scores Available

FreeScoresandMore provides three credit scores monthly, based on each of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.  While scores are based on information as reported to the bureaus they are created by the analytics corporation, CreditExpert.  Each of the scores may closely mimic FICO scores used by the majority of the credit industry however.  This site offers a free, 30-day trial with a price of $14.99/mo. thereafter.  The fact that you can get scores every month rather than quarterly or annually makes FreeScoresandMore a good deal.    

Identity Guard

  • 3 Credit Scores with 3-bureau Credit Report Updates        
  • Detailed Analysis Showing What is Affecting your Credit            
  • 3-bureau Credit Monitoring with Prompt Email Alerts     
  • Unlimited Toll-free Customer Service                                         
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance

Credit Score Analysis Included

Identity Guard definitely focuses on credit monitoring and identity theft protection.  If you’re looking for credit scores as well as these options the company offers a nice package.  While the scores are based on information from each of the three credit bureaus, CreditXpert, a private analytics corporation, provides them.  When compared to FICO scores used in most of the industry, they are said to be nearly identical however.  The scores also include analysis so you can see what’s affecting your credit and make changes.  Credit scores and credit reports are provided quarterly for $19.99/mo. through Identity Guard’s Total Protection plan.  This comes with several features including Social Security monitoring and ID verification alerts as well.

Privacy Guard

  • Triple-Bureau Credit Report
  • Triple-Bureau Credit Scores
  • Daily Credit Monitoring
  • Monthly Credit Score Tracking
  • Toll-Free Hotline Staffed By Real People
  • Identity Fraud Support Service

Security Software With Credit Scores

Privacy Guard offers consumers credit scores monthly based on the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.  The scores, developed by CreditXpert Corporation, mimic FICO scores used by many lending institutions.  One of the major benefits Privacy Guard includes however is theft protection through highly rated Norton Internet Security Software.  The company monitors all three credit bureaus and provides immediate alerts for suspicious credit activity as well.  Privacy Guard offers a two-week trial membership for 1$ and bills clients monthly for $19.99 thereafter.   

Trusted ID 

  • Identity Threat Score
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • 3-Bureau Credit Report
  • 3-Bureau Credit Score
  • Unlimited Black Market Internet Scanning
  • Medical Benefits Monitoring
  • Family Identity Protection

Family Scores Provided

Trusted ID is a great option for families who want credit monitoring and ID theft protection along with credit reports and scores.  Many of the features offered by the company surround fraud protection through monitoring Internet sites and credit accounts.  While the service offers credit scores based on information from each of the credit bureaus, these are developed through the Equifax Credit Scoring model.  The fact that Trusted ID provides scores annually as opposed to quarterly or monthly may be a drawback for some, and a non-issue for others.  If you want great credit monitoring and ID theft protection, along with yearly credit scores and unlimited Internet scanning, this service is a bargain at $20/mo. (prepaid) for the entire family and $14.99/mo. for an individual.

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