FICO 8 Being Used by Citi’s Credit Card Unit

FICO released their latest version of their FICO score called FICO 8 in 2009.  Since that time 3,500 financial institutions have switched to it. On June 6, 2011, Citi Cards, one of the largest US credit card issuers, announced they will be using the newest version.  Citi Cards  will be using it for pre-approved offers for credit as well as account management processes.  Citi Cards has been validating and testing it for 18 months.   This is important because they are such as large company and a key player in the industry and may encourage others to make the switch.

FICO 8 highlightsThe score ranges did not change with this FICO score version.  It’s still 300 to 850 and it still is built using credit report data.  This version is more consumer friendly with the following key changes:

  • High credit card usage – More sensitive to highly utilized credit cards.
  • Isolated late payments – If you have an isolate late payment and other accounts are paid currently, you won’t be penalized as much as before.  If you have many late payments of 30 days or more, you will lose more points.
  • Authorized user of credit card – It includes authorized users if family members, but does not include authorized users that are strangers thus eliminating the “piggybacking” strategy.

Availability to consumers

FICO 8 is available at the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  It is sold to business through the three companies and is not available to consumers at this time.  You can receive the older versions of the FICO score, but not this newest version.

When more of the financial institutions switch to the newer version, it will eventually become available to consumers.  The timing of the score offering to consumers is a difficult one and it takes time for companies to make the conversion.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.

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