[Credit] For those who really care about such things, beginning Feb. 14, Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, will no longer report their scores (which consumers have access to) at myfico.com.
So why care?
Well, traditionally, our FICO scores were hidden from us; they were only available to lenders. Borrowers wouldn't know if they qualified for a mortgage loan, for example, until the mortgage company pulled their credit reports.
All that changed on June 11, 2003, when consumers were able to purchase all three of their credit scores (from the big three bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) through Fair Isaac, the company that conceived of the score known as "FICO." Consumers finally were able to see the same information as lenders see in advance of applying for an auto or mortgage loan or a credit card.
That little bit of knowledge was a wonderful thing, too. It helped us know how to approach lenders and how to cut to the chase more quickly.
On a mortgage loan, for instance, mortgage companies usually look at all three scores. The lender bases its decision on the borrower's “middle” score. If you know ahead of time what your scores are, you can study up on loan programs available to you and not be pressured into a loan program pushed by a finance guy.
Through Feb. 13, you can still buy your FICO scores from all three bureaus here. And beginning Feb. 14, you'll still be able to buy your TransUnion and Equifax scores. But two out of three ain't the whole picture.
Bear in mind how much credit bureaus impact our lives. Lower FICO scores mean higher interest rates (the median FICO score is around 720). To not know what credit bureaus know about us puts us at a huge disadvantage when applying for credit. As such, we shouldn't let Experian off the hook lightly. If you feel like complaining, phone Experian at 714-830-5300 (that's the media relations department where you might actually speak to a living person. If you call the main number, you'll just get a recording.) (Jerre Wroble)