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Different credit scores for different reasons? That’s what ScoreAssist.com, a hard-sell credit monitoring service, offers its customers. This company provides “Smart” credit scores, a scoring system developed by ConsumerDirect for its Smart Credit service. Note: These scores are not FICO credit scores, which are the credit scores calculate by the Fair Isaacs Company and are the credit scores most commonly used by lenders.
According to the home page of ScoreAssist.com and other research about “Smart” credit scores, some lenders don’t just look at one credit score. Instead, they might look at different credit scores — or evaluate your score differently — depending on the reason you are applying for credit. There is even, according to Smart Score, an “employment” credit score that potential employers can pull. According to a press release issued by Smart Score, 50 % of all potential employers look at your credit score before hiring you. I’m sure, however, that most of these employers look at the lending industry-standard FICO score, not Smart Scores’ credit scores.
In order to get a comprehensive picture of your credit, Smart Score will lead you to believe, you must know all your “Smart” credit scores. They are:
- Credit score
- Automotive score
- Insurance score
- Employment score
- Future score
Your Future score shows how your credit score may improve if you take what the company calls Smart Actions — disputing negative items through the website with the click of a mouse. The choices of “Smart Action” you can take are:
- Fix an error
- Send a Goodwill Request to remove the Negative
- This is not my account
- Report this Account as Identity Theft
- Make an offer to settle this debt, lower interest rate or defer payments
- I have a question for this Creditor about this account
As a service, ScoreAssist offers more than some other credit services. It permits you to view five different credit scores, and helps you to understand what they mean with detailed information. You’ll also see how your score ranks, on average, compared to other people’s credit scores.
The major problem is that we have no idea where the credit report is coming from, and we know that the scores you receive are not your FICO scores.
The service costs $29.95 per month after the five-day trial period. The customer service number to cancel the service is listed at the bottom of the fine-print page listing all the terms and conditions and is not easy to find.
- Offers explanation of what your credit score means and how your score compares to other people’s
- Lets you dispute negative items quickly online
- Offers a credit score simulator to see how certain actions may affect your “future score”
- Does not provide your FICO score
- Trial period only lasts five days
- Does not specify which credit reports you receive
- ”Smart Credit” scoring model not widely used by lenders
- Pushy marketing makes me doubt the reputation of this company
Warning flags went up in my mind right away when ScoreAssist.com popped up an instant messenger box when I Xed out of their website. The messenger turned out to be a “live virtual agent” — not a real person — that picked up on keywords I said and offered irrelevant sales pitches. I asked three times if the scores they provided were actual FICO scores, and the program didn’t answer, instead giving me canned marketing messages urging me to “click the link for my free credit scores.” ScoreAssist.com also does not say which credit reports you will receive, or if the reports are from any of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax or Experian.
I would run — not walk — away from ScoreAssist.com and use a service like IdentityGuard.com or MyFico.com, both favorably reviewed here at CreditShout.com.
Better yet, get your credit report and FICO credit scores once a year free through AnnualCreditReport.com.