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Credit Repair and the End of Authorized User Accounts

Sep 17, 2008
Credit Repair Insight

Authorized user accounts have long been the subject of debate in credit repair circles. These accounts can boost your credit scores, but is it fraud? A credit repair expert provides excellent insight into the recent resolution of this controversial issue.

Common Practice

It is a common practice for parents to give a child a credit card. It's good for emergencies and handy for everything from summer camp to college life. It is also common for one spouse to make the other spouse an additional card member.

A Little Software Bug

None of these practices are even slightly questionable. Additional card member accounts didn't attract the attention of lenders or Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of the credit-scoring model used by lenders when they make credit decisions, until they noticed an interesting bug in the credit-scoring model which was to spawn a questionable little sub-business in the credit repair industry.

A Cool Credit Repair Trick

It seems that as soon as the new account appeared on the credit report of the beneficiary their credit score would jump. In other words they were inheriting the credit history of the card from the donor. In the case where the donor had excellent credit the beneficiary discovered their own credit score jumping significantly, often over one hundred points, a cool little credit repair trick, but not what Fair Isaac really had in mind.

Word Spread Quickly

Well, the word quickly spread. And as always happens, creative entrepreneurs thought up a way to package this small credit repair miracle and sell it to absolutely anyone who had the money and desire to give their credit score a quick, albeit undeserved boost. And it is this undeserved issue that became the real problem.

FICO in our Life

In 1989 Fair Isaac Corporation first made their FICO credit scores available to lenders. And in 1995 the mortgage lending giants, Fannie-Mae and Freddie-Mac made FICO scores a part of their mortgage underwriting consideration. Since that time lenders have become virtually dependant on Fair Isaac's scoring model, and the credit repair services began to focus on these powerful little numbers.

Score Distortion

The reliability of these important numbers is essential to good decisions. If something were to threaten the validity of the FICO score undeserving borrowers would be able to obtain loans they did not deserve. Lenders making these loans would be in jeopardy of increasing default rates and potentially disastrous losses.

Credit Repair, or is it?

So you can image the concern that lenders felt as they discovered that pseudo credit repair companies were popping up on the Internet selling these accounts to anyone with the money to pay. In response, Fair Isaac went to work to modify their computer model to block the benefit of these accounts, and to end to the distortion being caused by credit repair card sellers. And so they rewrote the model and introduced it as FICO '07. But there was a problem.

The Credit Repair Battle Continues

As much as lenders wanted to eliminate the score distortion caused by authorized user accounts, they were unable to implement FICO '07. It seems that there is a paragraph in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) that states that, "when lenders assess a spouse's credit risk they are required by law to consider the credit history of accounts which both spouses are permitted to use."

Back to the Drawing Board

This little directive stopped FICO '07 in its tracks and sent Fair Isaac back to the drawing board. For those of us in the credit repair business, we were amused to see the fanfare amongst the brokers of these authorized user cards that trumpeted FICO '07 as "illegal", and of course continued to sell their questionable credit repair product to the public. Their celebration, however, was short lived.

Credit Repair Card Brokers Say Goodbye

On July 31, 2008, Fair Isaac announced their final solution. They have managed to create a way to block questionable authorized user accounts from inheriting the score benefit of the donor without blocking those of spouses and family members. So finally the death blow was dealt against the shadowy credit repair businesses selling their quick fixes.

Those Amazing Brainiacs

The exact language of the press release reads, "We have developed technology that will reduce any impact on the FICO 08 score from intentional tampering, while allowing the scores of spouses and other genuine authorized users to benefit from their shared credit experience." How this works, I can't say, but my hat is off to the brainiacs at Fair Isaac.

Credit Repair the Right Way

Intentional distortion of the validity of credit scores was good for no one. Intelligent credit repair never requires questionable practices. There have always been many legal and powerful ways to boost your credit score, quickly and effectively. A well-planned approach to credit repair has always produced real and lasting results that endure and truly reflect your own credit worthiness. Do it right, and do it for real.

Copyright 2008 James W. Kemish. All Content. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Jim Kemish, a nationally recognized credit repair and restoration expert, is the president of Sky Blue Credit, a leading credit repair service since 1989. Jim is also the president of Power Mortgage, a Florida mortgage company.
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