The Costa Mesa, Calif., credit bureau Experian Information Solutions Inc. is discontinuing its consumer-facing relationship with Fair Isaac Corp.
As of Feb. 14, Experian will no longer resell the FICO score through Fair Isaac's Web site, Fair Isaac said Wednesday. Fair Isaac will continue to provide scores resold by TransUnion LLC and Equifax Inc.
The decision means consumers will no longer be able to access some versions of the scores that lenders use to make credit decisions. Experian sells its own proprietary scores directly to consumers, and it worked with the two other bureaus to create VantageScore, a competitor to FICO scores. (Fair Isaac is pursuing a lawsuit against Experian over VantageScore.) But lenders still rely heavily on the FICO scores, which they purchase through the three bureaus.
Experian will continue to sell FICO scores to lenders.
Tom Quinn, Fair Isaac's vice president of scoring, said Wednesday that the bureau signed a multiyear renewal of a lender-facing contract around the same time it informed Fair Isaac of its decision to quit the consumer-facing partnership.
An Experian spokeswoman said, "this commercial agreement with myFICO.com is not strategic to Experian's overall business."
"There's competing Internet brands at the consumer level for these credit products," said Craig Focardi, a research area director in the banking practice at TowerGroup Inc., an independent research firm owned by MasterCard Inc. For Experian, "by selling their own score on their own Web site, that could provide a better revenue opportunity for them."
Fair Isaac's FICO Credit Complete product, which offers consumers all three versions of their FICO scores, will be discontinued after Feb. 14.
The company said last month that it was hoping to get more financial institutions to use its Scores on Statements program, which lets consumers view their scores once a month for free through a bank's Web site.
Mr. Quinn said Experian's decision will not affect that program, though his company's preference "would be to select either Equifax or TransUnion as the bureau provider" for the participating lenders.