A 2012 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study found that most consumers who performed well on one rating model generally performed well on other models. But a “substantial minority” could see large variations, he said, so consumers “should avoid relying on the scores they buy as the sole basis for assessing their creditworthiness when making important decisions. concerning obtaining credit “.
The Consumer Reports review looked at the five most popular credit scoring apps according to download data. In addition to the applications offered by Experian and TransUnion, the report considered the applications of Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and myFICO. (An offering from Equifax did not meet the study’s criteria, according to Consumer Reports.) Researchers downloaded the apps early this year and rechecked them in the spring.
The myFICO app provided broad access to industry-specific credit scores, such as scores used for credit cards and auto loans. The app is offered by Fair Isaac Corporation, which developed the FICO score. The company says there are several versions of FICO scores, which it says are used in “90%” of loan decisions.
But myFICO charges a fee for its scores, starting at $ 19.95 per month for a “basic” plan that includes multiple scores and an Experian credit report. A “premier” package, including monthly FICO scores and reports from all three bureaus, costs about $ 40 per month.
Greg Jawski, a spokesperson for FICO, said the myFICO app offers features like personalized information and simulations to help users better understand their score. FICO also offers an “open access” program, which allows lenders to share with consumers, free of charge, the scores they use in credit decisions.
Other apps vary in what they charge. Credit Karma does not charge for scores or reports. Credit Sesame, which also offers VantageScore, does not charge for scores but charges a flat fee that includes credit reports from all three bureaus.
Experian offers a basic FICO score and an Experian credit report at no cost, but charges an extended plan that includes, among other things, additional scores and reports from other credit bureaus. TransUnion said its Score & Report app charges about $ 20 per month for daily access to a TransUnion VantageScore and credit report, along with other information.