A 2012 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study found that most consumers who performed well with one scoring model generally performed well with other models. But a “substantial minority” could see wide variations, he said, so consumers “should avoid relying on the scores they buy as the sole basis for assessing their creditworthiness when making important decisions. regarding obtaining credit.
Consumer Reports’ review looked at the five most popular credit scoring apps based on download data. In addition to apps offered by Experian and TransUnion, the report considered apps from Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and myFICO. (An offer from Equifax did not meet the criteria for the study, Consumer Reports said.) The researchers downloaded the apps earlier this year and rechecked them in the spring.
The myFICO app provided broad access to industry-specific credit scores, such as scores used for credit cards and auto loans. The app is offered by the Fair Isaac Corporation, which developed the FICO score. The company says there are several versions of FICO scores, which it claims are used in “90%” of loan decisions.
But myFICO charges fees for its scores, starting at $19.95 per month for a “basic” package that includes multiple scores and an Experian credit report. A “premier” package, including monthly FICO scores and reports from all three bureaus, costs around $40 per month.
Greg Jawski, a FICO spokesperson, said the myFICO app offers features like personalized insights and simulations to help users better understand their score. FICO also offers an “open access” program, which allows lenders to share the scores they use in credit decisions with consumers for free.
Other apps vary in what they charge. Credit Karma does not charge for scores or reports. Credit Sesame, which also offers VantageScore, does not charge for scores, but does charge for a package that includes credit reports from all three bureaus.
Experian offers a basic FICO score and an Experian credit report at no charge, but a fee for an extended package that includes, among other things, additional scores and reports from other credit bureaus. TransUnion said its Score & Report app charges about $20 per month for daily access to a TransUnion VantageScore and credit report, along with other information.