A new credit scoring system, called the UltraFICO Score, is being introduced in the new year and it could mean a boost in your credit score, making it easier for you to get better rates for large purchases like a car or home. Launching in early 2019, this scoring system is designed to validate the score of consumers, but more importantly, it will be used to assess the willingness of consumers to share their personal financial data for a potentially higher score. By opting in and linking with your checking, savings or money market accounts, your UltraFICO Score enhances your credit score based on indicators of responsible financial behavior.
The model, developed by FICO, will be implemented through Experian and borrower data will be aggregated through Finicity. The UltraFICO score is slated to potentially boost the credit scores of 7 million people with financially savvy millennials in one of the best positions to take advantage of the new score system. The UltraFICO score isn’t for everyone, but it just may be a great tool for you.
Is the UltaFICO Score Right for Me?
According to the UltraFICO press release, “Experian, FICO and Finicity estimate this new score has the potential to improve credit access for the majority of Americans and is particularly relevant for those who fall in the grey area in terms of credit scores (scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s) or fall just below a lender’s score cut-off”. The process for applying for loans will remain the same, with loan providers checking your FICO score. If you are rejected from a loan based on your FICO credit score, you may request that they pull your UltraFICO which then takes into consideration the way you handle your physical money in your checking, savings, and money market accounts. If you make more deposits than withdrawal, have no bounced checks, maintain an average account balance and don’t have a history of overdrawn accounts, for example, then it may present you as more creditworthy than when considering your FICO score alone.
Again, this applies best to those who fall in the grey areas of credit scores.
Why the UltraFICO Score Could Be A Good Things for Millennials
Millennials are known for a lot of things, good and bad, but one thing I can say for sure, we learned a thing or two from the Great Recession of 2007-2008 when many of us were in college, graduating college, or in our first job right out of college. I mention this because that terrible time for the US economy taught millennials the importance of putting money aside in savings. A survey from Transamerica found that fully 39% of millennials are defined as “super savers” since they are saving more than 10% of their salary. That’s close to the 15% experts often recommend.
Millennials have delayed several life milestones, like buying a house, because student loan debt is factored into one’s credit score. Now, if someone were to opt-in to the UltaFICO Score for consideration when trying to be approved for a mortgage, it may be into their best interest to leverage their checking and savings account data to access more lending options and better terms. Especially when the access to one’s financial data supports the super savers finding from the Transamerica survey.
Why I Don’t Believe the Hype of the UltraFICO Score
There are several scenarios where I can see the UltraFICO Score as a smart money move, especially for those who are looking to secure an affordable mortgage. If leveraging your data can help get you approved for a mortgage or even a lower interest rate, then by all means, make that smart money move, girlfriend. Like I said earlier, it isn’t for everyone but it just may be the measurement tool for you.
Personally, my mind flagged some of the language used in the UltraFICO Score press release and on the FICO website and my spidey senses (also known as my intuition) were tingling. Both the press release and the website used basic persuasive writing techniques by infusing the announcement with positive power words like “empower” and “control” to give consumers the feeling that they are in control of their own credit score destiny. Yes, in theory, you are in control of your credit score, but sometimes past decisions and life circumstances are a more powerful reflection of why your credit score is what it is. I interpreted FICO’s declaration stating, “you are in control of your credit score” to mean that if you choose to opt-in to this new scoring model then you are controlling the boost that your UltraFICO score may reflect.
The thing is, rarely do we get something for free. In this instance, this consumer empowerment message that you are being sold is for the bartered price of your personal financial data. In a world where personal data is just as valuable as money, if not more, it makes me wonder if we as consumers are being blinded by the smoke and mirrors of a better credit score. Just think of how much your financial data is really worth if they are willing to give you a little credit boost in exchange for it.
Only time will tell how this will really impact the scores of those who decide to opt-in. As more information is available, the questions that many of us have will hopefully provide more insight in deciding which score, FICO or UltraFICO would be best for you.