Get your credit score directly from myFICO and get the score lenders use for your loans
Your credit score affects more than you imagine. From insurance premiums to getting a job, and you better know your score before applying for a loan.
There are more credit monitoring and credit score services than you can count but many of them use their own credit scoring system or another alternative score like the Vantage Score. These can be a cheap way to get your score but it's pointless because that's not the score a lender, landlord or potential employer is going to see.
Getting your real credit score, the one that lenders use means getting your FICO score. A few credit reporting services offer your FICO score but now you can get it straight from the source.
What is a FICO Score?
Most of us just call it a credit score, but what many people don’t realize is that you have over 20 different credit scores. Different types of lenders and banks use their unique version of the FICO score to determine your interest rate and creditworthiness for the same points on your credit report.
- Auto loan
- Home mortgage
- Credit card
- Applying for a new job
Any time a prospective lender, employer, or landlord runs a credit check, there’s a 90% chance they look at your FICO credit score but FICO offers different scores to these different lenders depending on what is important to them.
So credit score services and monitoring have sprung up. The problem is, even if they get you a FICO score, it's usually only one score. Depending on what type of loan you're trying to get, it still might not be the one the lender is using.
Why Your FICO Score is Important
According to myFICO, approximately 90% of lenders use the FICO score to make a final lending decision. If you’re not sure if you have good enough credit to be approved for an affordable interest rate or even approved for financing, you need to check your credit score before applying.
For example, a credit score below 600 means you have an almost zero chance of getting affordable financing because you’re considered a sub-prime borrower.
By retrieving your score and reviewing your credit report before you apply, you can prevent a surprise rejection because you can dispute reporting areas and focus on improving your score before you apply. You can also focus on applying to lenders that accept bad credit borrowers.
What Does myFICO Do?
MyFICO offers one-time, monthly, and quarterly credit score updates. If you only need to view your score once or you want to watch it grow as you repair credit mistakes, myFICO offers a plan that helps you make smart credit decisions.
Once you decide if you want to one-time or ongoing access, you'll can view your credit score and report from one bureau or all three: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
With one bureau (1B) reports, you'll have access to 9 or 10 most popular credit scores used for auto, mortgage, and credit card lending decisions. You’ll also get the access to the FICO Score 8 score simulator to see how credit events can affect your FICO score and the interest rate estimator.
I tried out the credit score simulator and it's really cool how it works. It will use your credit report and give you an estimate of how different things will move your FICO higher or lower. It's a great way to figure out how to boost your score the fastest before you apply for a loan.
Three bureau (3B) reports offer access to 28 different FICO score varieties including the new FICO Score 9 which is a new FICO score that a lot of lenders are adopting.
myFICO Price for One-Time Reports
If you only need to access your report once, you can expect to pay the following:
- FICO Score 1B Report: $19.95
- FICO Score 3B Report: $59.85
All FICO scores are viewable for 30 days from the date of purchase. In addition to the credit score simulator and interest rate estimator, you can also access your score from the myFICO mobile app. I've heard good reviews of myFICO ongoing reports but I've always just used the one-time reports.
myFICO Pricing for On-Going Credit Monitoring
Only being able to access your report for 30 days might not be long enough, especially if you need to file credit disputes or improve your score 100 points before you can apply for credit. To eliminate the guessing game, you should consider an ongoing report instead.
For added value, you also get access to 24/7 identity theft monitoring and restoration, $1 million in identity theft insurance, and lost wallet protection.
On-Going credit monitoring and other services with myFICO come in two plans:
- FICO Basics 1B: $19.95/month
- FICO Ultimate 3B: $29.95/month for quarterly updates or $39.95/month for monthly updates
With the FICO Basics 1B, you will only have access to your Experian credit report.
For premium intelligent identity theft monitoring, you will need to choose either of the Ultimate 3B plans so myFICO will also monitor the black market websites and Social Security Number alias for potential fraud.
Credit Score Simulator
In addition to having real-time access to your credit score and credit report, one of the most useful tools is the myFICO credit score simulator.
Currently, the credit score simulator lets you play “What If?” with your credit score by testing different scenarios to see how they will increase or decrease your FICO score—the score that matters most when you need to apply for credit.
Here are some of the possibilities:
- Pay your bills on-time
- Forget to pay one bill
- Open a new credit account (credit card, auto loan, home loan)
- Payoff a credit card balance
- Close a credit card account
Lenders usually publish the current interest rates based on a credit score range. For example, if you want to apply for a new car loan through USAA, you can expect a 2.99% interest rate with excellent credit (780+), 4.49% with good credit (660+), and 5.60% with fair credit (600+).
On a 60-month $15,000 car loan, you’ll pay an extra $1,100 in interest over the life of the loan between having excellent credit and fair credit. The difference in total interest paid and your monthly payment only increases as you borrow more money, like a home mortgage payment.
Will myFICO Improve Your Credit Score?
Simply joining myFICO won’t improve your credit score alone, but they do a good job of telling you what needs to change so your score will grow.
You will quickly be able to see what factors are benefiting and harming your credit score. Be sure to use their simulator to find the best path to improving your credit score. If you already think your score is good enough, the interest rate estimator can also accurately predict your interest rate if your loan application is approved. Because each hard credit inquiry impacts your score, these tools indirectly preserve your credit score with each bureau.
Pros of myFICO Credit Service
- Official access to the credit score lenders use when you borrow money
- Access to 28 different FICO scores
- Credit score simulator lets you accurately predict when your credit score will improve
- Premium plans offer real-time identity theft protection
- No support with filing credit disputes with credit bureaus
- Ongoing one-bureau report is only for Experian credit report
- Not as much hands-on support as a credit repair agency
If you want the real McCoy of credit scores, myFICO is your best option. Whether you need to view your score once or on a monthly basis, myFICO ensures you’ll have the same information that the loan officer has when you apply for a loan. That peace of mind can be priceless if you’ve worked hard to rebuild your score.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.