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Our verdict: Paying for a MyFICO subscription is worth it if you’re about to buy a house or make another large purchase. If you’re just curious about your credit, a free credit score from a credit monitoring service is enough.
What is MyFICO?
MyFICO is a credit score reporting subscription plan offered by the creators of the FICO® Score. FICO (the Fair Isaac Corporation) has a monopoly on credit scores in the United States, with 90% of top lenders using their credit score.
MyFICO offers three different plans for viewing and managing your credit scores.
All of their subscription packages offer some basic features, including $1 million in identity theft insurance, identity restoration, alternative FICO scores (auto loans, mortgages, etc.), and access to educational resources including articles, calculators, and an online community.
But there are a few key differences in the number of reports/scores and frequency of updates that each subscription provides.
MyFICO Review: Subscription Package Differences
|# of Credit Bureaus||1||3||3|
|Frequency of updating||Once a month||Once every 3 months||Once a month|
|Price||$19.95/ month||$29.95/ month||$39.95/ month|
Additionally, MyFICO offers one-time report options that you can purchase if you don’t want to commit to their subscription service.
Whether you go with a subscription plan or pay for a one-time report, you will get access to your actual FICO credit scores, which are used by 90% of top lenders, according to MyFICO.
Let’s take a look at the biggest benefits the MyFICO subscription service offers.
Real FICO Scores
The biggest benefit of the MyFICO service is the access they provide to your real credit scores, your FICO scores.
Did you know that you have 20+ FICO credit scores?
With any MyFICO purchase, you’ll get access to 28 of your FICO scores. This includes the most widely used credit scoring model, the FICO Score 8.
You’ll also receive your credit scores that are used for auto-lending, credit card applications, and mortgages. You’ll even gain access to some of the newer scoring models that haven’t been fully adopted yet.
These industry-specific scores can help you get a feel for your approval odds for various types of financing and credit products.
Many credit card companies, banks, and the credit bureau Experian will give you one FICO score for free. (Experian gives you one FICO score 8 – the one based on your Experian credit report.)
However, MyFICO is the only place that you can get ALL of your FICO scores for all three credit bureaus. If you’re looking to buy a house or apply for an exclusive credit card, it’s worth shelling out the money to see where you actually stand.
Credit Monitoring and Credit Report Access
In addition to having access to your credit scores, you will also gain access to your credit report(s). For example, if you choose the one bureau subscription option, you will receive the credit report for only that bureau.
All of the information that appears on your credit report(s) will be viewable.
If you choose one of the 3-bureau subscription options, then you will not only receive all three of your credit reports, you’ll get access to the comparison tool, which can quickly show you where the information on your reports differs.
Using this report information, MyFICO will also send you alerts when information on your credit report(s) changes.
Along with credit monitoring, MyFICO offers a credit score simulator that can give you an idea of how changes to your credit history (i.e., improving payment history or closing a credit card, etc.) can impact your credit score.
Identity Theft Protection
MyFICO offers an identity theft monitoring service that looks for signs of identity theft, such as your Social Security number being tied to a new name or address or sudden new credit inquiries.
The identity theft protection service is backed by $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use their identity theft protection service, but if you ever do, MyFICO will work towards fully restoring your credit file. They have identity theft experts on staff 24/7 to help with everything from fraud to a lost wallet.
There are some drawbacks to the MyFICO service; below are the biggest two.
It’s Not Free
Nothing about MyFICO’s service is free. When a creditor pulls your credit score/report, they get charged. And the same applies to you as a consumer.
The base MyFICO plan starts at $19.95/month for one credit bureau and goes all the way up to $39.95/month for all 3 credit bureaus.
If you want just one-time access to your scores and reports, you can select the one bureau option for $19.85 or the three bureau option for $59.85.
These prices are not the best, especially if you just want to educate yourself on your score and/or how to improve it. Other sources like Experian, Credit Karma, etc., offer you a free credit score, free credit report (or credit information), and free credit monitoring.
Costly for Simple Credit Monitoring
MyFICO does offer a credit monitoring service. Depending on your subscription choice to use one or three bureaus, they will send you alerts each time significant changes occur on your credit report.
Along with the alert, they will display how much the change impacted your credit score.
The issue with their credit monitoring service comes back to price. If you just need a credit monitoring service, then a free option like Credit Karma might be better.
For the low cost of $0, they offer the same type of alerts for changes to your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports, along with guidance on how to dispute incorrect information. And they update your scores for free once every week.
When to Use MyFICO vs. Others
Sometimes, you just can’t beat a FICO score. Knowing your VantageScore is acceptable for informational purposes, but knowing your FICO Score may be the way to go if you are getting ready to make major financial decisions.
Remember, the VantageScore is the one that you’ll get for free from services like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. It’s usually close to your FICO scores, but in some cases it’s 20+ points different.
Trying to obtain a mortgage is one specific example where knowing your FICO Score gives you a tremendous advantage.
The main reason is most banks use a particularly old scoring model for mortgage applications.
According to FICO, banks often request credit score versions FICO Scores 2, 4, and 5 for mortgages.
These models and how they weigh different information are very different from newer scoring models like FICO Score 8 or VantageScore 3.
While MyFICO’s service isn’t free, knowing where you stand in the eyes of a mortgage lender can help you make smart decisions. Good credit not only helps you get approved for the loan, but you’ll get better interest rates and loan terms.
Now, if you aren’t planning any major purchases or financial changes in the foreseeable future, then you might be better off using a free service. Some companies to consider that offer free credit scores and credit monitoring include:
- Credit Karma
- Credit Sesame
- Discover Credit Scorecard
Is MyFICO Worth It?
Why do you want to view your credit score?
Knowing the answer to this question will give you a greater understanding of whether MyFICO’s service is worth it.
Suppose you are getting ready to make a major purchase or financial change in your life (i.e., opening a business or buying a home), then yes. In that case, MyFICO’s credit monitoring and credit score service will be a worthwhile investment for a few months.
And if you were able to use the information they provided to achieve approval or better loan terms, then the subscription service more than paid for itself.
That said, MyFICO is not a subscription service you want to maintain in the long term.
Ideally, you’d want to begin the subscription a few months (3+) before a major purchase and retain it for a few months after the completion of the purchase. This way you can improve the credit score the bank will use and see how the purchase impacted it.
And then you can cancel the service. MyFICO lets you cancel your subscription at any time, and unlike other services, the process isn’t too painful.
I know this because I subscribed to MyFICO for a few months when I built my credit score to get approved for a car loan. And it only took me five minutes to cancel the service.
If you retained your MyFICO subscription for one year, it would cost you between $239.40 and $479.40 depending on the plan your chose.
Considering this, if you just want to use the information for educational purposes as you build credit, then MyFICO will not be worth it since there are many free options out there that can help you achieve your credit-building goals.
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Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.