Having blocked online lender E-Loan Inc. from telling consumers their own credit scores, Fair, Isaac & Co. has joined with Equifax Inc. to sell consumers the same information.
Last summer, Fair Isaac took umbrage when it learned that E-Loan was giving consumers--at no cost--their FICO scores, the company's ratings that lenders use to determine creditworthiness. Equifax, the Atlanta-based credit reporting giant, got caught in the middle of the flap because it had provided the scores to E-Loan. Fair Isaac forced E-Loan to stop the practice. (See "A Score to Settle", August 2000)
But now Fair Isaac and Equifax have changed their tune. Through a "strategic alliance," they plan to launch a service in the first quarter of this year that will provide FICO scores to consumers as part of a bundle of information, including an individual credit profile and a score analysis.
It won't be free, although the price wasn't set at press time. Consumers now pay $8.50 to order their own credit reports. "We're trying to come up with a fair market value," says Mike Cummins, an Equifax vice president and general manager of its consumer direct business unit.
The new service is the third in what Equifax plans as a growing list of services geared to consumers. Late last year, it launched a 24-hour alert service that tells consumers within one day if there's been any activity in their credit dossier.