Tuesday, May 19, 2015

FICO Introducing Alternative Credit For Those With Poor or Nonexistent Credit History

4/3/15 - Individuals with low credit scores struggle to get a credit card, or to obtain a mortgage or other loan. Some see this as a fair system, especially since a low credit score usually means that the individual has a history of late payments or outstanding balances. It only makes sense that those with sketchy credit history should be trusted with more credit less readily. However, what about people without any credit history? A recent L.A. Times article discusses the options available for such individuals.

To build up a credit score, someone gets a credit card or loan, then pays back the loan on time, so as to show the credit company that they can be trusted. The length of a person's credit history is a substantial factor in determining how much money a bank or credit company would be willing to lend them. Unfortunately, without credit history, it can be difficult to get a loan in the first place. Without that first loan, the aspiring borrower can't build up a history of timely payments, and will therefore be unable to get a loan. This seemingly endless cycle has many newcomers wondering what to do.

Fortunately for young, first-time borrowers, Fair Isaac Corporation, known for its FICO credit score, has been working together with LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Equifax to create an alternative system for determining credit scores for individuals with little to no credit history. According to their research, someone with a good record of paying utility bills on time would also likely pay credit card bills in much the same pay. Using payment history instead of credit history, this system will create alternative credit scores and provide them to the top credit card issuers. Fair Isaac has yet to release information as to which banks have decided to participate in this program.

This currently unnamed new program is not meant to replace the FICO credit score. Instead, it will provide information only to credit card companies, in order to give credit-less consumers, usually young people, the opportunity to get a credit card and start building up their credit. Once credit has been built up through a history of timely payments, the consumer will be able to rely on the standard FICO credit score in order to get a mortgage or other loan.

According to a representative of LexisNexis, all collected data will be protected under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, so everyone involved will be able to dispute negative events on their credit reports, such as disputed bills. This system appears to have positive effects for all involved. New borrowers will be able to get credit cards with much less of a struggle. Banks will gain access to millions of previously non-existent customers and their interest payments. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

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