In February this year, Experian did something that “shocked” the credit score enthusiasts world (yes, such a world exists and they have a very vibrant and very knowledgeable community in the myFICO forums ): they announced that they would no longer be offering Experian credit scores to myFICO users. Many on the myFICO forums were furious .
Does This Matter?
Many lenders pull your report from all three bureaus and use the middle number, so not having access to your credit score from Experian isn’t likely to impact you tremendously. Since you will still be able to request your report and dispute any errors or inaccuracies, you will still be reasonably sure that whatever score you get will be based on the most accurate information.
This does take away from the transparency of credit scoring in America. While most companies loathe the idea of giving away credit scores, they’re perfectly comfortable with you paying them to see your score. In fact, on post about how to get your free credit score. every bureau has some trial service you can sign up for where you can get your score.
How to Get Your Experian Credit Score
Here’s the tricky part… when you sign up for those trials, you get a credit score but it’s not a FICO credit score because it’s not using FICO’s equation. To get a FICO score based on Experian data, you need to use FICO’s equation and Experian’s credit report. Since Experian is no longer offering their data to myFICO for the purposes of selling it to consumers, you cannot get an Experian FICO score this way anymore!
So how do you get your Experian FICO credit score? There are a few options out there but none of them are great:
- Apply for a loan: (Not recommended) When you apply for a loan, the lender will likely pull your credit score from each of the three bureaus
and you can ask for the scores. There is a huge downside to this strategy. When they request your score and report, it’ll be a hard inquiry and your score will fall slightly because hard inquiries count against you.
- Find out if your bank does periodical soft inquiries, then ask for the scores: Banks routinely do soft inquiries on your account to decide whether or not to send you their latest credit card offerings or bank promotions. Since soft inquiries don’t affect your score, there’s nothing for you to worry about and you can take advantage of this by simply asking them for the number.
- Open an account with PSECU (if you live in PA): PSECU, Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, offers a free FICO score service to get access to your Experian FICO score. Other banks offer similar services but they appear to be the only one with Experian data. Check to see if you are eligible .
- Request your score through American Express. If you have an account, you can get your Experian score and credit report for free through an American Express promotion. You get access to your score and report for thirty days and then both expire without you having to do a thing. If you are an American Express cardholder, then you can take advantage of this promotion until it expires.
You can always make do. You can still get TransUnion and Equifax scores through myFICO ScoreWatch and you can still get proprietary Experian scores from Experian, so while this isn’t a great development it’s not horrible.
Since I’ve been writing about FICO credit scores a lot lately, I’ve been asked repeatedly about what I think about Experian’s move to cut out myFICO and consumers. I think it stinks but I don’t think you need to have this close a handle on your credit score. If you do the right things, your score will reflect that.