To combat fraudulent manipulation of credit-risk scores, Fair Isaac Corp. plans to end the practice of giving borrowers additional points for being an authorized user on another person’s credit card account.
Some companies that promise to boost consumers’ FICO scores offer to make prospective borrowers authorized users on an established credit card account in good standing.
Borrowers who pay for this service don’t intend to use the credit cards to purchase goods and services. Instead, they are paying for the account’s unblemished credit history, which can boost their FICO score and save them thousands of dollars on loans they might not otherwise qualify for.
Some critics have said the ease of manipulating FICO scores has made them less useful in predicting a borrower’s ability to repay a loan, and that heavy reliance on credit scores contributed to the current rise in delinquencies and foreclosures on subprime mortgage loans.
Last month, Fair Isaac announced it would introduce new procedures for calculating its “Classic FICO” score in September, with the goal of increasing its predictive power by 5 percent to 15 percent. The company offered few specifics, but said the greatest improvement in predictive power would be seen in originations and new accounts, subprime borrowers, and borrowers with “thin” credit files.
Fair Isaac said today that it will no longer consider authorized-user accounts in FICO 08, the latest version of the Classic FICO credit score that’s expected to be made available to lenders in September.
“We will continue working with lenders, regulators and others in the credit-reporting industry to end deceptive practices that fraudulently misrepresent consumer credit histories for profit,” Fair Isaac Chief Executive Officer Mark Greene said in a press release.
The new Classic FICO score will retain the existing score range of 300 to 850, minimum scoring criteria, score reason codes, inquiry treatment and related model parameters, making it possible for lenders to use it with minimal changes to their operating systems, Fair Isaac said.