College students frequently use their authorized-user status on parents’ cards to boost themselves to higher credit scores as they march out on their own. But credit-repair agencies have found in recent years that the practice works perfectly well between strangers, too – even to the point where bad-credit risks are able to “piggy-back” themselves to a higher credit score through pricey credit-repair tactics.

Now, Fair Isaac says its analytics teams have come up with the formula that can sniff out these authorized user-account abuses without thwarting the more benign practice between friends, spouses and relatives. The new Fico 08 scoring model – which Fair Isaac says also has more forgiving attributes for delinquencies – includes a system to weed out the “intentional tampering” of scores through authorized account user abuse. For example, the Associated Press reported a 37-year-old real estate agent boosted his score from 550 to 715 in one month after he paid $1,800 for three “slots” rented out by accountholders.


“This breakthrough resolves an industry problem that we know has perplexed lenders and concerned regulators. We have developed technology that will reduce any impact on the FICO 08 score from intentional tampering, while allowing the scores of spouses and other genuine authorized users to benefit from their shared credit experience,” said Lisa Nelson, vice president of Global Scoring for Fair Isaac, in a statement.

Fair Isaac originally intended to eliminate all authorized-user account scoring from its model (such as in earlier versions of the FICO model), but that apparently would have run afoul of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act which requires lenders to include authorized user accounts in certain assessments, such as shared accounts between spouses.

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