MyFICO ScoreWatch Review: Perfect for Credit Score Junkies!

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30-Day Free TrialA few years back I saw Cap track his FICO scores as he went about his personal finance business. In that eight chapter epic (here’s chapter one, there’s a list of each chapter at the top of the post), his score fluctuated as he took on 0% balance transfers for arbitrage, took advantage of credit card offers, and otherwise just did typical consumer stuff. At the time, his tracking tool of choice was a service offered by Providian, nowadays there’s a better option – MyFICO.

MyFICO is run by Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that designed the FICO score equation. The main idea behind their services is that your credit score is one of the most crucial statistics you have about yourself and, much to their benefit, a reflection of your ability to repay debts. So many things depend on your FICO score these days. I’m sure you’re aware that your credit is pulled when you request a loan or a credit card, but did you know it’s used when you apply for a job? It’s used when you apply for an apartment? It’s used a lot more often than you probably think. While I personally don’t track my credit score every single day, many people do and when they do, they use MyFICO. If you’re less hardcore about your score, you might do as well just using free credit score estimates.

MyFICO offers five distinct products (though I’ll only look at the first one today):

  • ScoreWatch: ScoreWatch gives you 2 FICO scores and two credit reports per year from Equifax.
  • FICO Credit Complete: FICO Credit Complete gives you all three scores in one shot.
  • FICO Standard: FICO Standard gives you one score from any bureau.
  • Suze Orman’s FICO Kit Platinum: Suze Orman’s FICO Kit Platinum gives you a total of three a year from the bureau of your choice.
  • FICO Quarterly Monitoring: FICO Quarterly Monitoring gives you four a year from TransUnion.

ScoreWatch

ScoreWatch is the basic service that they offer and the one that most people use. You can try it for free for 30-days to see if it’s right for your needs, then it’s $8.95 a month or $89.95 a year. If you click through to the myFICO Score Watch page, you can watch a little video demonstration of the service. In a nutshell, ScoreWatch will give you your Equifax credit report twice a year, alerts when your information or your score changes (up or down), and alerts you when you might get a better rate on your loans.

The reason why people love this service so much is because they get historical data on their credit score as long as they are a member. People follow these scores like someone might watch a sporting events. In fact, Cap did this very thing in watching how his score was affected by his various 0% balance transfer arbitrage applications.

ScoreWatch Dashboard

Looking at the dashboard, you can your current score in huge letters to the left. Underneath it, you can see how you stack up against other U.S. consumers. The chart to the right is where the payoff is, the graph of how your score has changed as time passes (the right sidebar on the graph even has sample interest rates for you to see how much you’d pay at different points in your life).

So why is this valuable? Why do people track things so closely? They do it because they’re getting close to a loan. They do it because they want to stay on top of their scores and know why things are going up and down. Cap discovered that taking on a 0% balance transfer punished his score because his debt to total credit limit ratio was high. However, after the balance transfer ended, he saw that his score recovered and actually improved over the time. It improved because he showed a 12 month period of established credit, regular payments, and generally strong creditworthiness.

You may not be able to see it in the chart but the difference between a score under 700 and a score above 700 is over three percentage points on a 48-month auto loan. The rate for a sub-700 credit score is 8.41%, or higher, and the rate for a 700+ credit score is 5.96%, or lower. The folks keeping a diligent eye on their credit scores know this and are trying to time it such that they request a loan when their score is above 700.

There is only one reason why someone without a financial incentive, because of an upcoming loan, would want to keep a close watch on their score: identity theft. If someone takes out credit in your name, your credit score will be affected. If it suddenly goes down and you didn’t do anything to adversely affect it, chances are you need to investigate it further to ensure you haven’t become a victim of identity theft. At $8.95 a month, it’s priced about the same identity theft services like LifeLock and ProtectMyID, though you get your credit scores each month from Equifax.

MyFICO Coupon: SURVEY30

If you are going to sign up for the service, be sure to use this 30% coupon code – SURVEY30. I would try the 30 day trial first, to see if it’s right for you, then pay if you find value in it. There’s no sense paying $90 for a service you won’t need.

If you have any experience my MyFICO, please let me know!


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37 Responses to “MyFICO ScoreWatch Review: Perfect for Credit Score Junkies!”

  1. Let’s run a poll listing the most pathetic financial activities you can engage in with your spare time. I will start off with “credit score monitoring” as number one.

    Come on sheeple – use your time and energy building wealth, not worshiping at the feet of the credit industry.

    • Jim says:

      Why is it pathetic? All it takes is a few minutes to setup. I can understand claiming it’s not worth the money, but to call it “pathetic” and “worshiping at the feet of the credit industry” is insulting.

      • saladdin says:

        I just love it when people use the word “sheeple” while posting their blog link on other people’s blog in an attempt to herd visitors to their site so they can earn more ad money. Classy.

        saladdin

        • Saladdin- You obviously have never visited my blog or you wouldn’t have left such a foolish comment. I have been on a campaign against the credit score for years. What motivates your money behavior?

          • saladdin says:

            Beer and Ho’s.

            saladdin

          • nickel says:

            Being against the credit scoring industry and insulting people that check their credit score are two different things. Like it or not, your credit score does matter, and belittling people for “worshiping at the feet of the credit industry” is far from constructive. Instead of picking fights, why not “use your time and energy building wealth”?

          • gottaraisescore says:

            You Dope! Your credit score is VERY important if you realize everywhere only uses it as a guideline for what is happening to your credit and why. Each creditor has different ways to decide if they want to lend you money.

            They all look over your rating and how long you’ve kept one card etc.. You might get offered a card with an instant acceptance – small print:: score is based on blah blah. If they say “yes you are accepted and have a line of credit that will come by letter or just plain”You will receive our answer via mail. That last one means no way Harry! If accepted check the interest rate. Some will lend to people with low creditability but with an interest of 28.99 to 30% which will triple what you borrowed. You’ll Never get that loan paid.

      • Jim: If I am insulting anyone, its Fair Isaac and the other credit industry members who have brainwashed consumers into marching lockstep to the credit score regimen. Do people not realize that Fair Isaac and the others have a singular motive, that being profit? When they start telling you that people who shop at Target are more credit-worthy than people who shop at Walmart, will you head to Target?

        • nickel says:

          No, you clearly stated that people who care about their credit score are “worshiping at the feet of the credit industry.” Like I said above… Like it or not, your score does matter. Why not take a page from your own book and “use your time and energy building wealth”?

  2. Dan says:

    My WaMu MasterCard (now Chase, so I’m sure this benefit will go away soon) gives me my Equifax credit score for free. It’s the only reason I haven’t canceled the card.

    • Cap says:

      Yeah Chase has actually actively mentioned that the free FICO score service from providian/wamu cards will go away once Chase completely switches you over to Chase’s website for account management. Super bummer! Gonna close my account since the new terms are coming in and it’s as perfect of a time as any to cancel.

    • Diane says:

      Dan, I was just about to post that I’d been getting my score monthly for free from my WaMu card.

      Chase has already notified me that would end, and the next time I checked my account online it was already gone!

      I SO regret Chase taking over WaMu – I’d rather not deal with them, but that card has my highest credit line, so it would play havoc with my score to close it.

      Sorry, but I do CARE about my credit score!

      • Cap says:

        I just logged into wamucards.com right now and I still see it. I believe it’s not completely switched over until March.. but I could be wrong..

        • Dan says:

          I just logged in to check. Here’s what it shows on that page: “PLEASE NOTE: Free access to your FICO credit score will not be available after March 1.”

          I’d love to know if there are any other cards that offer this? I won’t count myself as a junkie, but having it for free was pretty nice. I suppose I’ll replace this with a cashback card of some sort if not.

          • Diane says:

            You’re right – I found it this time. They’ve already changed the opening page and made me choose and now log-in name. I guess its in the process of changing over.

            I don’t know of any other cards offering this, but I’d like to. I LOVED that feature because it was free. I just can’t make any card changes right now, because I need to stabilize things.

            I opened a Best Buy acct to take advantage of 18 mos NO interest offer on a laptop for my high school son. That ONE thing dropped my score by 30 points this month – nothing else changed.

            So no new accounts for me right now…

  3. urbantux says:

    While I wouldn’t pay for it right now, if I were saving to by a home in the next year or so, or make any other major purchase, I probably would track it a lot more closely than I do. BAAAA BAAAA… hehe

    • Jim says:

      If you’re going to do anything, with buying a house on the radar in a year or two, check your report now (for free) so they can fix errors early.

  4. Allison says:

    Be sure to request your free annual report from the reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion through AnnualCreditReport.com. They do not try to get you to buy a subscription service. You will NOT see your credit score but you will see things like “payment irregularities” and other credit issues that are used to determine your interest rates and other things. Unfortunately you have to pay to see an actual score. But like Jim recommends, use this free report to fix any errors you see in your credit history.

    • Diane says:

      I do get my free credit reports once each year from each agency – and I space them so I get one every 4 months and monitor my reports.

      I also pay for the credit score at that time, just to be sure since each agency computes it differently – $7.95 3x each year is worth the money to me.

    • gottaraisescore says:

      Excellent they Have to give you one each year from any one reporting agency. That is actually a law.

      TWA or TRANS Union(if that’s the one in the middle) gives the toughest scoring.. All three will be different because companies are not required to report. Some only report monthly. So by the time you check it, it could be changing for any number of reasons.

      Your credit score and report are guidelines for what you are good with or not so good.
      Could be many reasons to look at it but mostly sections on why it is and ideas on how to improve it.

  5. Deby says:

    I admit I’m a credit score junkie. I get my fix monthly thru CostCo, they have a credit watch service for only $9.49 a month which includes reports and scores for all 3 services plus credit monitoring.

  6. thomas says:

    I enjoyed the credit program for Suze Orman a few years back. It really helped me turn my financial boat around and work towards getting my first home.

  7. Tanya says:

    MyFico is now offering 30% of purchases with the code myFICOis8.

  8. brother7 says:

    To Deby et al,

    Scores bought from Costco’s Identity Guard service and just about every other service besides myFICO® is NOT a FICO® score. These non-FICO® scores are sometimes referred to as FAKO scores, ie fake FICO® scores, which use different formulas to generate a score. FICO® scores use a formula developed by Fair Isaac Corporation and are the most important because it’s the one used by lenders when making credit decisions.

    Also note that everyone has THREE FICO® scores, one from each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). The scores from each CRA is different because they have different data in their files about you.

    Finally, Experian has chosen not to make their FICO® scores available to the public. The only way to get your Experian FICO® is from a lender who pulls your score from them.

    However, Equifax and TransUnion FICO® scores are available to the public for a price. I get mine from myFICO.com

    Hope this info is helpful.

  9. Sam says:

    Jim, please repost to correct place if this is not the right place for this comment.
    We subscribed to free 1-mos scorewatch trial after reading about it on your blog. Foolishly enough I forgot to cancel the trial despite reading your “how to cancel” post. We were subscribed for $89.50 trial, together costing $179. Couple days later I call myfico guys and tell them to cancel the service. They canceled it in a flash and refunded the entire amount. Excellent customer service is another good reason if someone is looking to subscribe to their products.

    • Jim says:

      That’s pretty good! They do seem like a reasonable company to deal with, I’m glad you were able to sort it out.

  10. Syvar says:

    I have to say that I’m on the bandwagon with Mr. ToughMoneyLove in that credit scores should be abolished. They are “supposed” to be a calculation of the “risk” of a company doing business with you. There were originally used for lending purposes only, but are now used for everything from loans, to employment to insurance. I.m.o., they are a terrible assessment of risk. For the hundreds of thousands whose scores were impacted by Capital One and others not posting credit limits to all of those who have recently had their credit lines sliced and diced by AMEX, the credit score is NOT a reflection of their ability to pay. I say abolish it and get back to dealing with smaller companies on a more personal and localized basis.

    However, as long as there are credit scores, I’m also on the MyFico bandwagon. Of the few “real” credit score providers on the web, their support and service is outstanding and they do provide an excellent forum to learn more about credit scores and how they work.

  11. LEE says:

    I recently applied for 90 days same as cash at a local tire store and then decided not to use it. My FICO score recently was 764. Is there any chance that this situation changed my FICO score?

    • Jim says:

      It probably did because “90 days same as cash” usually means you’ve been given a line of credit. If you applied for it then they pulled your credit and your score likely dropped a few points.

  12. Fatubus says:

    I use Scorewatch and if I didn’t use it I would have been screwed. I had a $150 doctor bill from 2 years ago that was sent to collections. I was told by the doctor that they were handling it and they did alright, they sent it to collections. My score dropped from 790 to 674 overnight. I am about to refi my house and I’m sure you know what impact this “downgrade” of my credit would be. I called the CFO of the hospital whose brand is on the doctor’s office and after a couple of phone calls and a week, the collection was rescinded and my score went back to 788. I was able to get a 30 year with a point at 4 3/8. Without Scorewatch, I never would have thought that I had something so small on my credit report and it would have ended up costing me a lot more in interest payments on my refi.

  13. amoss says:

    I need to know if anyone can explain this one to me…..During the last year, I paid off $20k in cc debt (completed in Dec 2008), my boat and my car just recently…my outstanding debt is only 4% of my available credit (and I only use my Visa and AMEX but do have 2 more store cc) so that they don’t screw with my limits…but my FICO score is just about the same as it was two years ago? Can anyone explain this one? I pay all my bills prior to the due date and have a good relationship with my bank. I don’t have a mortgage either. In my opinion, the FICO group is not “FAIR” anymore. Can I force them to rescore me or am I better off leaving it alone?

  14. Joe says:

    Iv’e been watching my score every month for 2 years and it can drive you crazy, with the current economic recession and the housing bust in florida, Amex, Citi and Bank of America decided I was to risky to keep. Amex closed 3 of my cards, 2 with no balances and my green card had a balance of a little obver 200 dollars which I paid wvery month, Citi closed 2 of my 4 cards ofeering me 27 and 29% intrest rates if i kept them. I am now paying the rest of my cards and closing all my cards and loans. Credit reporting only says how good you are at maintaing debt and feeding greedy banks and lending companies, become debt free and use cash for everything, it can be done, ive gone from 12 cards to 1 card and only use my debit card for all purchases, next will be my car loan and then a bad loan I took. i will never again apply for a cc or a loan! Who cares about credit scores, people who love debt and who love paying banks insane intrest rates keep credit scores. Not Me!

  15. thunderthighs says:

    If you haven’t yet done a review of the Suze Orman product, I’m definitely looking forward to one!

  16. Talk about Greedy says:

    My credit card number changed so my automatically-renewing subscription was halted. myfico kept sending me email about updating my info. I spent an hour on their site yet I could NEVER get it to tell me what I was going to be charged. I thought it was because I hadn’t officially been billed yet – but sure enough, when the time to update my card info expired, my service was cancelled.

    I would have considered renewing, but I didn’t like that they wouldn’t tell me how much it would cost unless I paid for it first! In the end I’m glad that happened because ScoreWatch had increased in price from $89.95/yr to $129.95/yr. I was only a subscriber for two years.

  17. 10-day free access says:

    I just used myFICO to get my credit score from 2 of the credit companies. I’ll give 10 days to try the service and then you’ll get billed.

    After checking and printing all my info i’ve already cancelled the service.

    Good info for the price of typing your data.

  18. I use Credit Karma for our credit score updates. I agree about disliking the system as Mr ToughLoveMoney points out, but it is what it is, and the bank/loan lenders use it like it is the Holy Grail.

    Gone are the days when you can get a loan based on personal trust and relationship. We have been banking with Bank of Hawaii for 43 years – yikes that makes me old! – and have been turned down for loans and only recently finally got a HELOC on our home for a dinky $30K. I found that very insulting – on their gut level, they knew we would be able and committed to pay, in fact the bank manager calls me Aunty, but still, based on what the credit score says and our debt to income ratios that we have been historically awesome at paying, we are not good enough even with remaining equity of $300K!

    However, what’s the alternative? We have to learn to play the credit score game.


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