Identity theft and credit card fraud have become more of a problem now than they ever have been, and the odds of these schemes becoming even more common are very high. The Federal Trade Commission states that each of the nationwide credit bureaus has to provide each person with a free copy of their credit report at your request every single year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is nothing but good news since it’s very important to get your FICO score at least once a year to be sure that there’s no questionable activity going on with your report. If you think you might have been victimized by an identity thief, you’ll want to get your FICO score to survey the exact amount of damage that’s been done. All it takes is you sending out a request to one of the three (or all of the three at the same time) major credit bureaus to get status on your situation. The wisest idea involves contacting each of the major credit bureaus at different times so you can see how your credit score has risen or dropped over a year’s time.
Vying for FICO
So that’s all good and fine, but what if you want more than just the data contained in your credit report? What if you’re looking to get your FICO score instead? It takes a little more work to get your FICO score, but it can be done at an inexpensive rate with a little maneuvering. You can believe that the credit companies go through a lot to assemble your financial information and they might not be too keen to just give you details: unless you know the right ways to work them over!
They Can Be Tough Cookies to Crack
It probably doesn’t take a genius to realize that the big three–Equifax, Experian and TransUnion–spend a lot of their own dollars and time to put together the information that amounts as your credit history. It’s not cheap to hire out Fair Issac–the company behind the art of the FICO score–to break all of the numbers down into one more manageable “credit score”. FICO scores are not “perfect” and they will differ and change among the three big bureaus over time. This is because the credit score is re-worked whenever a request is made of FICO from one of the big three agencies.
It’s also important to note that not all credit scores can be categorized as official FICO scores. When you buy a score from one of the big three agencies, it’s known as a FICO Risk Score.
These agencies are not in denial about the amounts of money they’re making off of selling this information. First, they stand to gain profits from the companies trying to gauge the risks of taking you on as a client and they earn money off of the consumers that are willing to pay for their scores. If you’re just a simple consumer trying to get access to a variety of your scores, there are somewhat costly monthly subscriptions you can pay for that keep you up-to-date on all activity happening in your credit report. You can imagine that they’re not going to be readily willing to part with profits off of these sales unless they absolutely have to and as of now, the federal government is not compelling them to do so. If you want to get your FICO score, you can bet that it won’t be an easy task: but it can be done.
While you’re getting access to your free yearly credit report, you can add an upcharge to your bill that allows you a single look at your Equifax score. The other two big name bureaus have gone a different route for sharing this information. Both TransUnion and Experian will offer you access to your credit report for a dollar. TransUnion will show you the in-house credit score they have for you while Experian will let you access the FICO score they paid to have generated for your profile. As you might expect, there is a catch involved. You will have to enroll to at least a seven day trial period that locks you into their respective credit monitoring services. There’s also a deal offered by MyFICO that locks you into a minimum three-month credit monitoring contract for twenty dollars. This will in turn allow you access to all three of the FICO scores generated for the major three bureaus. If you don’t forget to cancel your seven day trial with the other two companies, you might get up charged fifteen to twenty dollars for their separate credit monitoring services.
If you’re trying to figure out the best way to get your FICO score for cheap, you should go with the offer from Experian. They give you access to their official FICO score for you for the same dollar that TransUnion offers you an unofficial credit score.