The Companies That Would Let You See Your Score
NOTE: THIS PAGE EXISTS FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES, ONLY. FICO SCORES ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO CONSUMERS.
Equifax was first to release its FICO score; service began 3/19/2001. TransUnion followed in 2002 (sort of); Experian in 2003.
creditscoring.com press release, September 4, 1998: "Fisher counters, 'Baloney. If I have a 750 credit bureau score today, and when I look in six months, I have a 700, I know I'm doing something wrong. It's that simple. These guys just don't like having the light on them.'"
- E-LOAN, 2/22/2000: "FICOSM [sic] scores have never been readily available to consumers online or off-line before today."
- The Washington Post, February, 2000: "Breaking the Silence On Consumer Credit Scores - "For years the inventor of the most widely used credit scores in the real estate market, the FICO scores, has banned their dissemination to consumers... Though Fair, Isaac had no immediate comment on E-Loan's program, a spokesman for the company said 'it is reasonable to expect some reaction from us,' possibly a move against whatever online credit agencies are supplying FICO scores to E-Loan." (dead link, was http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/2000-02/26/025l-022600-idx.html)
- Realty Times, April 6, 2000: "E-LOAN Screams Foul on Fair Isaac's No-tell Credit Scoring Policy" - "E-Loan had been getting the FICO scores from Equifax, but suddenly Equifax stopped sending scores to CreditinfoNet, E-LOAN's third-party provider of the scores."
- E-LOAN, April 7, 2000: "The credit score providers will no longer allow us to provide you with your score." (was http://www.eloan.com/personalpages/yourcreditscore.jsp")
- BankRate, April 14, 2000: "Easy Internet credit-score access shut down"
- Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post, May 30, 2000: "The Darkness About Your Credit Score" - "In my many years of covering personal finance, I've learned one thing: Every time there's a push for more consumer disclosure, the powers-that-be argue that the world is going to end."
- creditscoring.com, June 9, 2000: "Even though those two have been meeting, apparently Freddie Mac had to go public with a drubbing of Fair, Isaac to goad them into acting."
- BankRate, June 15, 2000: "FICO next in line to offer access to credit scores"
- Realty Times, June 2, 2000: "It happened to private mortgage insurance, it happened to mortgage cost information and soon, revealing how information empowers consumers, you'll have easy access to your credit score, much as you can exercise your right to see your credit report.
- MSN, June 26, 2000: "The long-secret credit scores lenders use to make decisions about loans and credit cards will soon be made available via the Web, along with previously undisclosed information about how they're derived and how they can be improved."
- September 21, 2000: "Testimony of E-Loan, Inc. before the Sub-Committee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services regarding Credit Scores"
- MSN, October 9, 2000: "Consumers will soon get a chance to see why they rank the way they do with lenders." (was linked to http://moneycentral.msn.com/articles/news/capitol/5824.asp)
- About.com: "Jericho Trembling" - The company was informed it must "cease and desist" from such practices or suffer the consequences of not being permitted to use the system. (was http://credit.about.com/library/weekly/aa060900a.htm)
- CNET, January 12, 2001: "Settling the score" - "Why should you care? Because your score can mean a difference of 10 percentage points in the interest rate you pay on, say, your next car loan."
- Email to creditscoring.com
Subject: Credit Scoring Update
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 16:56:53 -0800
These emails provide periodic updates on consumer credit scoring issues.
March 13, 2001
The issue of consumer credit score disclosure has shifted considerably during the past few months. Under considerable pressure from consumer groups and pending legislation, the three credit bureaus (Trans Union, Experian and Equifax) appear to have resigned themselves to the fact that they will eventually be required to release credit scores directly to consumers. Even Fair, Isaac, the company that supplies the FICO scores used for most credit decisions, has decided to release its credit scores after opposing these disclosures vigorously for the past year.
The main inspiration for this change of heart has been a recently passed California law requiring that consumers be given access to their credit scores. This law goes into effect on July 1st, and rather than tailor a separate process for California borrowers the credit score providers will be offering credit scores to consumers nationwide.
By midsummer, each of the credit bureaus will make credit scores readily available to consumers via their websites. To their credit, Fair, Isaac and Equifax have partnered to provide an Equifax credit report that includes both the FICO score and an explanation of the factors that comprise that score. Their target for release is by the end of March.
Trans Union and Experian, on the other hand, each plan to develop their own score solely for purpose of consumer disclosure. This solution has met with a tepid reaction from consumer groups, because it will not provide consumers with access to the FICO scores that are used for the majority of credit decisions. Still, both Trans Union and Experian will provide the detailed explanations that they believe will most benefit consumers trying to understand their credit status.
After their long-standing resistance to credit score disclosure, it is odd to see the credit bureaus and Fair, Isaac portraying themselves as pro-consumer now that legislation has forced their hand. It is particularly incongruous given the loud objections when E-LOAN began to offering free credit score access to consumers early last year. And because each of these credit-scoring options will come with a yet-to-be-determined cost to the consumer, they fall short of the free access that many consumer groups advocate. That being said, the fact that consumers will finally be given full access to their credit scores is undeniably a step in the right direction.
- E-LOAN, April 23, 2001: "More than 25,000 borrowers logged onto the site to access their scores before credit reporting agencies – under intense pressure from the creator of the scores – forced an end to the practice."
- E-LOAN, June 27, 2001: "E-LOAN, INC., A FULL CREDIT SCORE DISCLOSURE PIONEER, CALLS FOR NATIONAL LEGISLATION" - "E-LOAN, Inc. (Nasdaq:EELN), (www.eloan.com), a leading online lending company, today announced that effective July 1, 2001, its California customers will benefit from the new California credit score disclosure law, which E-LOAN began advocating in February 2000."
- "E-LOAN Chairman and Founder, Chris Larsen" - "For example, E-LOAN became the first company to provide consumers with access to their FICO credit scores and to advocate credit score disclosure laws."
Others (dead links)
entire site) went dark on May 27, 1999. (was at http://www.creditconnection.org/creditreport/creditreport.htm)