November 17, 2018

myFICO Review


myFICO's credit monitoring service can protect you against identity theft. But how often does it update? Read on to find out if it's worth the cost.

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myFICO.com makes it possible to stay on top of your credit score, giving you access to similar information compared to what the lenders see. While you have to pay monthly for access to your credit report information, some people will find this helpful.

Keep reading to see if myFICO.com is good for you.

How myFICO Works

First, you should know that myFICO is a division of FICO. This means you have access to "true" credit scores rather than estimates that other credit monitoring services may offer. While it may not be 100% exact, you'll have a better idea of where your credit score stands each month.

You have a few options when signing up for myFICO.com:

  • Ongoing Credit Monitoring: You can choose between 3-bureau and 1-bureau monitoring. If you choose 3-bureau monitoring, you can choose between monthly and quarterly credit report updates. If you choose the 1-bureau monitoring, you only have the monthly credit report update option.

  • One-Time Credit Reports: You can also choose to receive your credit report one time. As with the above option, you can choose between a 3-bureau report and a 1-bureau report. With this option, you don't receive credit monitoring.

Who Should Use myFICO.com?

  • You have poor, average, or good credit scores. Unless you have an excellent credit rating, there's room for improvement in your credit score. myFICO.com will help you learn what steps you need to take to improve your scores. If you use their tips and stay consistent, you increase your chances of having a higher credit score in the months to come.

  • You will apply for new credit soon. It's a good idea to know where you stand before you apply for new credit. What if you could have gotten a better interest rate? What if you get turned down because of a mistake on your credit report? You can avoid these "what ifs" by knowing what your credit looks like ahead of time.

  • You have been a victim of identity theft. If you've already "been there, done that," it's time to protect yourself. Regular credit monitoring can keep you in the loop and help you stop another identity theft crisis in its tracks when used right.

Reasons We Like myFICO

  • You learn reasons why your score is what it is. What good does a credit score do you if you don't know what you could improve to make it better? myFICO gives you the reasons for your score (the good, bad, and ugly). This way, if you do have a lower than desired credit score, you can use the information provided to help you increase your score. If you have a good score already, you'll see the reasons why it's good and keep those habits going.

  • You can use the Simulated FICO score tool to predict how your credit score will react. If you plan to make financial changes in the future, you can play around with the FICO score tool to see how those changes may affect your credit score. This is a great tool to use when you want to make big changes, like buy a car or buy a house.

  • The credit report is easy to read. Credit reports can be overwhelming if you've never seen one before. That's why we like the reports produced by myFICO. They put the information into easy-to-read sections so that you can better understand why your credit score is the way that it is.

  • You can make a one-time credit report order. If you aren't interested in paying a monthly fee for regular credit score updates, you can pay for one credit report. This is good to do right before you apply for a loan. It's also a good step if you just want to make sure your credit report is accurate periodically. You get to choose the bureau or you can even order a credit report from all three bureaus.

  • You can receive alerts when your credit score changes. If you sign up for the monthly service, you'll know when your credit score changes within a 24-hour window. This allows you to know when new activity is on your credit report. If you haven't conducted any financial business in the last month, it could be a red flag that you've been hacked.

  • myFICO.com provides forms to help you dispute incorrect information on your credit report. One of the benefits of receiving your credit report quarterly or monthly is the opportunity to look for mistakes. If you notice any errors, you have to formally dispute them with the appropriate bureau. myFICO.com makes it a little easier to start this process.

  • If you sign up for the Ultimate 3B or 3B+ service, you also get identity theft monitoring. This service monitors use of your Social Security number and provides black market surveillance. If you are a victim of fraud, you have access to identity restoration specialists 24/7.

  • If you sign up for the Ultimate 3B or 3B+ service, you may have up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. The insurance has specific limits and coverages, but it may help you recover the cost of dealing with a stolen identity.

  • You may have Lost Wallet Protection if you sign up for any of the monthly monitoring services. If you lose your wallet, the myFICO identity theft experts can help you take the appropriate steps to protect yourself. They will also help you get new cards issued so that you can pick up where you left off.

  • You can cancel the service at any time. You can cancel the myFICO service right from the app. If you've already paid for a month, though, they will not issue a refund. Your cancelation will become effective at the start of the next billable month.

Take advantage of the myFICO.com app: The myFICO.com app is a mirror image of what you see on your desktop. As long as you have an active account, you can view your scores, check your credit reports for accuracy, use the FICO Score Simulator tool, and get credit alerts.

Reasons You May Want to Skip It

  • It's not cheap. If you want the credit monitoring, you will pay for the service every month. The smallest package starts at $19.95 per month and the largest is $39.95 per month. You may be able to secure similar (not exact) services elsewhere free of charge.

  • If you purchase the one-time report, you only get 30 days to view it. If you don't save the report or print it, your access is removed after 30 days. At almost $20 a report, you probably want more than 30 days' use out of each report you receive.

How It Compares

  • Credit Karma: Credit Karma provides you with access to your Vantage credit score. This differs from your FICO score. Some lenders use Vantage while others use FICO, so it's a coin toss regarding which is better. More importantly, Credit Karma is free, even with the credit monitoring (only on your TransUnion report). The downside is that your personal financial information is sold to advertisers for them to get you to apply for their loans.

  • CreditCheck Total: Similar to myFICO, CreditCheck Total offers access to all 3 credit reports and daily identity/credit monitoring. You'll receive alerts when your credit score changes and they have identity theft experts on hand to help you if you become a victim of fraud. They do charge a monthly fee and often run promotions to get you to join their program.

  • LifeLock: LifeLock advertises themselves as identity theft protection, but they also offer credit monitoring. They watch the dark web, new applications in your name, public records, and unauthorized address changes along with your credit. You do have to choose the highest package if you want all three credit bureaus monitored.

Bottom Line

If you plan to apply for a big loan or mortgage in the near future, it may benefit you to pay for myFICO's service for a while. Is it worth paying for on an ongoing basis? That depends on your situation. If you don't take precautionary measures to protect your identity and your finances, it may be worth it. If, on the other hand, you take the proper precautions, paying for the monthly service for more than a few months may not benefit you as much as you would like for the cost.

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