FICO Lets Lenders Share Credit Scores with Customers for Free

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FICO announced Monday it's partnering with lenders to publish consumers' scores in their digital and/or paper statements for free.

The predictive analytics and decision management company launched with Barclaycard US and First National Bank of Omaha.The information is made available to credit card members of both organizations.

The initiative, which is called FICO Score Open Access, also provides context to the scores: the lender partner will provide the top two factors affecting the borrower's numbers.

A FICO lender customer decides how to deliver the content to borrowers including the frequency and medium. "It's just the beginning," Anthony Sprauve, director of public relations, says. "We are talking to all lenders."

The news comes at a time when regulators are pressuring banks to be more transparent with their customers.

The data point could be shared with millions of consumers. About 10 billion FICO scores were sold to lenders for risk management purposes in 2012, said Sprauve.

Previously, consumers could pay to receive their scores on MyFICO.com, while individuals who get turned down for credit receive their scores.

The models lenders use to modify the score for their own purposes varies by product. Plus, a 2012 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that 25 percent of educational credit scores sold to consumers were "meaningfully different" than the credit scores lenders were using.

Still, lenders could customize the FICO scores with their own models.

FICO's latest initiative comes on the heels of new research showing how the 2009 credit card reform law with its clearer disclosures has had little influence thus far in helping consumers make more prudent financial decisions.

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