myFICO Ultimate 3B Credit and Identity Monitoring Review
myFICO's Ultimate 3B plan is only for individuals; the service does not offer identity theft coverage for families. If you pay for the entire year upfront, the cost will be $329 (or approximately $27.42/month). If you don't want to shell out that amount of money right away, there is a month-to-month option which costs $29.95/month. This is a little on the pricey side, especially when compared with other services. There is an Essentials 1B plan which is cheaper, but it doesn't include identity theft monitoring features and thus wouldn't be a good choice.
Keep in mind, you will be signed up for automatic renewal whether you choose monthly or annual prepay. myFICO allows you to cancel your subscription at any time, but there is no partial-month refund offered, even to those with an annual subscription. It's a good idea to start with a month-to-month subscription if you aren't positive you'll want to keep it, since there isn't a free trial option.
The signup process is simple and takes just a few minutes. Once you select which plan you wish to sign up for and choose your billing option, you will be asked to provide some personal details then enter your payment information. Additionally, myFICO will ask you a number of personal verification questions to confirm your identity, after which you will be taken to your dashboard to view your scores and protection features.
The myFICO dashboard presents an overview of the reports and scores provided to you as an Identity Ultimate member. At the very top, you can see your FICO scores for all three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — along with the date they were updated so you know how current the data is. Below this, you can see any recent alerts on your account and view recent reports myFICO has compiled for you. At the very bottom of the dashboard page, you can view your FICO score timeline, switching between the three bureaus easily.
Along the right-hand side is a sidebar with information about the completeness of your profile, your subscription and links to myFICO support. The top of each page on the website has direct links to the different site features — Dashboard, Alerts, Scores, Reports, Community and More (which opens a drop-down menu with links to educational material, a credit score simulator, a credit dispute page and savings). myFICO uses your information to match you up with credit card and loan offers, which you can view by clicking the "savings" link. This may be off-putting to some, as it could feel invasive, but those looking to open a credit card or take out a loan might benefit from tailored offers.
When you sign up, myFICO does a comprehensive scan of the identity information you provide and compiles it into an easy-to-read Identity Analysis Report. The report includes Change of Address Scan (tells you if a change of address is requested in your name), Black Market Website Surveillance (scans illegal websites, chat rooms and bulletin boards for criminal activity associated with your information), SSN Alias Watch (shows any names, aliases or addresses associated with your social security number), Public Records Monitoring (alerts you if a crime has been committed in your name) and Cash Loan Scanning (alerts you if a payday loan has been opened using your identity).
You can view this report in the Reports section of the website as well as on your dashboard. The report is broken down into sections based on the type of information monitored. If you find an alert in a section, you will see information about what the alert is, how it relates to you and what steps you should take to resolve it. If nothing was found, you will be presented with a green check mark emblem and a message congratulating you on being safe in that area. This report is one-time only, to give you an idea of whether or not your identity has been misused in the time period before you became a myFICO member.
myFICO also provides continuous monitoring of your personal information, including your name, address, social security number, driver's license and passport numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, credit/debit cards, bank accounts and medical ID numbers. If something is detected, you will be able to see it on your dashboard or by visiting the Alerts page. You can set up alerts via email and SMS text messaging. In addition to alerting you of any suspicious activity, myFICO lets you set up several custom alerts — including for account balance changes and activity on accounts that have been inactive for a certain period of time (you can choose from a range between three and 24 months).
Finally, myFICO offers lost wallet protection. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you can call myFICO and work with a "certified restoration specialist" who will help you cancel and replace missing items. This coverage includes credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, insurance cards, passports, military identification cards, traveler's checks and Medicare or Medicaid identification.
myFICO provides real-time credit scores for all three bureaus. This means that any time a change is reported by one of the bureaus, your scores will be updated, so you will always know exactly where your credit stands. It's worth mentioning that your scores will not be updated if no change occurs (though you'll always be able to see your scores while you're a member), but the point can be argued that if nothing has changed with your credit, there's no need to receive new scores each month. If you're someone who would like to receive scores each month regardless, this service might be frustrating for you.
You can view a snapshot of what your scores look like on your dashboard when you log into your account. Clicking on any of these, or visiting the Scores link at the top of the page will bring you to a detailed page where you can see a timeline of each score for the three credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — as well as the "ingredients" that go into creating your FICO score. These ingredients are payment history, amount of debt, length of credit history and amount of new credit, and they will each be rated — from "very good" to "very poor." myFICO does a good job of breaking down your scores and reports so you can understand what everything means. The design of the scores section is thorough, yet easy to read. Also included with each score report are score factors (the positive and negative factors affecting your credit score), a bottom line and FICO score versions (shows you the different types of commonly used FICO score versions, as well as how you rank on each).
In the Reports section, you can see a three-report view of your credit history, which has a wealth of information — including revolving, installment and mortgage accounts, inquiries, collections and your credit at a glance. The report is nicely laid out, with information from all three bureaus presented side by side so you can view it all at once. However, keep in mind that this is not a complete credit report — meaning you cannot, for example, view monthly payments, which makes it harder to spot errors.
Additionally, myFICO offers several other helpful tools, including an in-depth credit score simulator that lets you calculate how your credit scores might change based on different scenarios, such as paying down debt or declaring bankruptcy. myFICO also offers help with disputing an error with each credit bureau and lets you set up email and SMS text alerts if your credit scores change. If you're trying to work up to a certain credit score, this can be helpful to let you know you've reached your goal.
In the event your identity is stolen, myFICO offers round-the-clock restoration assistance to help with contacting creditors, banks and other necessary steps to help get your identity restored. Additionally, the service offers $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. This policy will reimburse expenses related to the restoration of your identity, including legal fees, lost wages and more. myFICO promises to hire lawyers, investigators and case managers on your behalf, which is a nice touch.
Users can learn about myFICO and a wide range of credit-related topics by reading through the extensive FAQs in the support center or by visiting its community forums. If you need to reach myFICO, you can contact the company through an online contact form or by phone. Customer service hours for the toll-free phone number are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
We appreciated that every page had a section in the sidebar that asked, "Need help?" with colorful icons and links to the different support options. This, combined with plenty of directions and extra information to explain phrases and features, shows that myFICO truly cares about the customer experience.
myFICO offers comprehensive coverage of your credit scores, in addition to fairly strong identity theft coverage. While it is not as in-depth as it could be, the customer service offered in the event of identity theft to help repair and restore your identity is solid. However, the service is on the pricey side for an individual plan with no additional options for family coverage.
|Price:||$27.42/mo (paid annually); No free trial|
|Fraud Monitoring:||Monitors 3-bureau credit reports, credit cards, public records, SSN, bank accounts, driver's license, passports, medical IDs, address change, payday loan applications|
|ID Theft Insurance/|
|Reports Delivered:||3-bureau credit scores updated in real-time; 3-bureau credit reports quarterly|
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