myFICO is the consumer division of FICO, the company that essentially invented the credit score. But does a name brand equal a better credit monitoring service? myFICO offers excellent credit monitoring and identity theft prevention, but it is a bit pricier than some of its competitors, which knocks it down to our sixth-best credit monitoring company. In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what myFICO does to help you stay on top of your credit and identity so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the higher price tag.
- Access to all three major credit bureau scores (with Ultimate 3B subscription)
- Credit report change alerts (email and/or text)
- Detailed analysis of factors affecting your FICO score
- FICO score simulator to predict effects of future financial decisions
- Identity theft prevention and recovery services
- App access
- No free or cheap trial period
- Complicated cancellation process
Credit monitoring that keeps your identity safe, too
Created in 1956 by engineer William Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac, the FICO score uses data analytics to predict a consumer’s likelihood of repaying a loan. FICO is not a credit bureau, but rather it provides its algorithms and strategies to the three major consumer reporting agencies in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In addition to detailed credit reporting, myFICO also provides identity theft monitoring services. Identity fraud will almost certainly tank your credit score if it goes unresolved. myFICO helps you stay on top of your identity’s security with a handful of services that server to prevent theft and support you in recovery if you do become a victim.
While it provides some of the most basic essential ID theft protection services, myFICO’s identity monitoring is not quite as extensive as some of its competitors’. For example, our top credit monitors keep an eye out for unauthorized address changes, use of your name in court records, and medical identity fraud—all of which are categories myFICO doesn’t monitor. Some other brands also have free trial periods, but myFICO does not. For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend going with myFICO if you want identity theft protection only.
One bureau vs. three
The main difference between myFICO’s two monitoring packages is that the higher-tier Ultimate 3B gives you credit information from all three major credit bureaus, whereas the lower-tier Essentials 1B pulls only from Equifax. Ultimate 3B also delivers a quarterly credit report, as opposed to 1B’s monthly credit report, and includes an identity theft monitoring feature, which I’ll explain in more detail later.
|Package name||FICO Essentials 1B||FICO Ultimate 3B|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
|Price||$19.95 per month|
$219 per year
|$29.95 per month|
$329 per year
|Credit report access||Monthly||Quarterly|
|Instant credit score access|
|Credit report monitoring|
|FICO Score 8 historical tracking graph|
|Lost wallet protection|
|Identity theft monitoring|
|24/7 identity restoration|
|$1 million identity theft insurance|
What you get with a monitoring subscription
Credit report access
When you first sign up, you’ll get access to your full credit report. After that, you’ll get either monthly or quarterly updated reports, depending on which plan you choose. These reports include the following:
- Your FICO Score 8 and FICO Score 9 (explained below)
- Detailed explanation of the factors positively and negatively affecting your Score 8
- Your additional FICO scores used by specific industries including mortgage, auto lending, and credit card lending
- FICO score simulator that lets you forecast potential financial decisions and how they might affect your credit score
Identity theft monitoring (Ultimate 3B only)
myFICO proactively works to prevent identity theft by surveilling the black market for the circulation of your personal information and by monitoring the names and addresses associated with your Social Security number. You’ll get a full report when you first sign up and then receive alerts throughout your subscription if anything of concern pops up on myFICO’s radar.
Lost wallet protection
In the event that you lose your wallet, give myFICO a call, and a representative will get to work helping you replace any lost contents: credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, insurance cards, passports, military identification cards, traveler’s checks, and Medicare/Medicaid information. You can add information about these cards to your data profile at any time to make the recovery process faster.
24/7 identity restoration
If your identity is compromised, myFICO provides individualized guidance through the restoration process. Depending on the situation, this can include helping you fill out an identity theft affidavit, leveraging limited power of attorney, and interceding on your behalf with creditors, government agencies, and credit bureaus.
$1 million identity theft insurance
If you’re a member, myFICO will reimburse you for up to $1 million in expenses accrued in restoring your identity, including the following:
- Legal costs
- Fraudulent/unauthorized charges and withdrawals
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Document replacement
- Child/senior care
App and alerts
You can access all of the above features via myFICO’s website or mobile app, available for Android or iOS. Regardless of whether or not you use the app, you can adjust your preferences to receive either email or text alerts for changes in certain report data factors.
myFICO’s one-time reports
In addition to the two monthly plans, myFICO offers two options to buy one-time full score reports:
- 1B Report gives you access to your credit information from one bureau of your choice—TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. This report costs $19.95.
- 3B Report gives you access to your credit information from all three major credit bureaus for side-by-side analysis. This costs $59.85, so you don’t save any money by ordering this one over three of the single-bureau reports.
Note that the 1B Report costs the same as one month of the Essentials 1B plan and the 3B Report costs double the price of Ultimate 3B plan—without the additional identity theft prevention and tools. It almost seems worth it to sign up for a subscription, get your report, use the tools for a few months, and then cancel your subscription. However, many customers complain about the difficulty myFICO gives them when they try to cancel. If the thought of spending hours on the phone with a myFICO rep makes your head spin, it may be worth it to just get the one-time report.
Good to know: FICO Score 8 vs. FICO Score 9
With myFICO and some other credit services, you’ll see a lot of references to FICO Score 8 and FICO score 9. Sort of like software updates, the method for measuring FICO scores has to be adjusted as credit and lending conditions change. Some lenders adopt new versions more slowly than others, which is why you see different lenders using different versions, and why myFICO reports include both.
FICO Score 8 includes these updates from previous versions:
- More weight is put on credit cards with high balances, so the more you use a credit card and the closer you get the balance to the limit, the more it will impact your score.
- If you make only one late payment, Score 8 is more forgiving than previous versions. However, if you make multiple late payments, they will have a greater impact on your score.
- This version ignores “nuisance” collection amounts when the balance is less than $100.
FICO Score 9 includes these updates:
- Unpaid medical collections now have less of a negative impact on credit score because they’re weighted differently from other types of debt.
- Reported rental history is part of the score, which is helpful for people with limited credit history (often younger credit-users).
- If you’ve paid off third-party collections, these will no longer have a negative impact on your score.
Our experience with myFICO
myFICO has a fairly thorough customer support FAQ page and active user forums, which are helpful for most problems you’re likely to encounter. Getting ahold of a human is a bit more difficult, however—myFICO doesn’t have a customer support chat interface on its website, so you’ll have to email or call 1-800-319-4433 if you want personalized help.
When I emailed with questions, I got an automated response telling me that my account information didn’t match its records (I don’t have an account yet), so I’d have to call. After listening to myFICO’s needlessly long menu recording, I got through to a customer service representative who answered my questions and didn’t try to push any products on me. While it wasn’t an unpleasant experience, I’d rather be able to use a chat feature or send an email from my desk while I work on other things rather than sitting through recordings and hold music to get simple questions answered.
What myFICO customers have to say
Customers have mostly good things to say about myFICO’s website usability and monitoring services. Most positive reviews call out the FAQ page and online forums as simple ways to get quick answers to customers’ questions.
This is by far the best credit score app I have on my phone. I’ve used them all Billguard, CK, Credit Sesame, Trucredit, Credit Wise, Discover, you name it I’ve used it. I have been using this one for full 1 year now and since I’ve used to apply for loans, credit cards, clean up minor things by disputing with bureau (which was very easy) and now a mortgage. I would like to note that the numbers are accurate compared to the reports the banks give you after you apply for CCs or loans. The forum available on the full site is extremely helpful thanks to the knowledgeable community, a ton of great questions answered. Whether you plan on using the services to rebuild credit or just stay on top of you credit this is the best way to do it and well worth the $30 per month. -Dmedina729, iOS app customer
Most of the complaints from myFICO customers seem to revolve around difficulty in canceling their subscription and problems with the app. Note that from the website, you can still access all the same information available on the app, but if you chose myFICO over its competitors specifically for its mobile access, this is an understandably frustrating problem.
MyFico.com refused to cancel. Was charged $149.95 to my credit card twice without authorization. Myfico.com charged me an “annual” subscription fee of $149.95 even after I attempted to cancel the service, stating for the first charge that it was a few days too late. MyFico didn’t honor the initial cancellation request for the original charge and rather than stop any future charges, to add insult to injury, they went ahead and “auto-renewed” it a second time without authorization and as a bonus, refused to follow their own policy on that second charge of providing a refund if requested to cancel within 10 days. Their only explanation is that even though they verified my husband’s identity 100% during this most recent call within 10 days (he called because of the unexpected charge on his credit card), they desired me to call them back immediately in order to confirm my identity. I haven’t been using their service, which they can easily verify. We’ve attempted to cancel and get a refund repeatedly. At this point all indications are that they are going to continue to rip us off annually until we change our credit card number in order to physically prevent them from charging it further. -BBB complaint, 11/12/15
Do we recommend myFICO?
myFICO, though more expensive than many of its competitors, is a worthwhile investment if you want a comprehensive, long-term view of your credit over the course of several months or a few years. It includes useful analysis tools to explain your credit scores and to help prevent identity theft. The supporting app, while not perfect, has four stars in the iTunes store and three and a half in the Google Play store.
Most people don’t need credit monitoring for more than a few months or a few years at a time, so you will eventually have to deal with canceling your account. The cancellation process seems to be needlessly difficult and frustrating but is an overall minor drawback to an otherwise useful product.
Get a grip on your credit
myFICO offers both credit monitoring and identity theft protection with the added bonus of being a trusted and well-established brand. However, it costs about $10 more per month than other companies with similar offerings. It’s not the cheapest or most feature-rich option out there, but myFICO’s credit and identity monitoring services perform as advertised and can still help you achieve your long-term financial goals.
Have you used myFICO to monitor your credit? Was the subscription worth it? Tell us about your experience in the comments.