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Experian Ends Partnership with Fair Isaac

Unless Experian and Fair Isaac can figure out a way to reignite the fire in their marriage before Valentine's Day, we will no longer have the ability to access FICO scores based on Experian data. Creditnet.com received notice last week that Experian sent a termination letter to Fair Isaac in mid January that will apparently end the rocky relationship between the credit bureau and the developer of the 800-pound gorilla of credit scores. Equifax and TransUnion FICO scores will still be available at www.myfico.com; however, Experian FICO scores will no longer be accessible from myFICO or anywhere else for that matter.

While I was surprised to hear the news, I really should have seen it coming. It's no secret the two companies haven't been on the best of terms since Fair Isaac filed a lawsuit against all three of the big credit bureaus, including Experian, and VantageScore Solutions in 2006. And given the fact that Fair Isaac continues to generate millions in revenues from the sale of FICO scores based on Experian data, I can even understand why Experian would want to recover a share of those revenues by promoting the sale of its own credit scores instead.

However, in the midst of an economic crisis that has made it more important than ever to have regular and easy access to personal credit information, Experian's decision to leave consumers hanging is one that greatly concerns me. Don't be fooled into thinking this change will stop lenders from using Experian-based FICO scores to make decisions about your credit worthiness. One thing Experian has kept the same is its agreement with Fair Isaac to continue selling FICO scores to banks and other lenders that use them as a foundation for underwriting decisions. The only difference is that now the underwriters will be making those decisions based on information that you can't see or prepare yourself for in advance. I, for one, don't like the sound of that at all.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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