Credit reports and scores

What Is An UltraFICO Score And How Does It Work?

The most popular credit scoring model is the FICO® Score and if your FICO Score isn’t where you want it to be, you may be able to boost it using the UltraFICO™ Score.

With UltraFICO™, you can include banking activity not normally considered by the credit bureaus in your credit score calculation. By incorporating information from deposit accounts such as savings accounts, checking accounts and money market accounts, you can help raise your credit score, especially if you have a limited credit history.

A higher credit score increases your chances of getting approved for credit and qualifying for a better interest rate at the same time. But UltraFICO may not benefit everyone. It’s only available for your Experian credit report and is in the pilot phase, so it’s not always an option.

Here’s what you need to know about how UltraFICO works and whether it makes sense for you.

UltraFICO is a tool that gives you control of what appears on your credit report and was created through a partnership between FICO, Experian and Finicity. Similar to Experian Boost™ and eCredable Lift®, UltraFICO lets you voluntarily include additional information on your credit report.

Your FICO credit score is based on five primary factors: Payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix. UltraFICO’s designed to expand the information included in your credit score by considering your banking activity such as how long your bank accounts have been open, history of positive account balances, and the frequency of your bank transactions.

This can be helpful if your credit report doesn’t have enough information to generate a FICO Score or if your score needs a boost to qualify you for the credit you’re pursuing.

To use UltraFICO you’ll need to first apply for credit with a lender. If your application is denied or you don’t like the terms of the offer, you can agree to share additional information needed to generate an UltraFICO Score.

However, UltraFICO is in its pilot phase and only available through a small number of lenders. Another limitation is that of the three major credit bureaus, only Experian uses UltraFICO. That means your credit reports with Equifax and Transunion won’t benefit from the service.

FICO estimates that 70% of consumers who have consistently maintained positive bank account balances could have an UltraFICO Score higher than their standard FICO Score. UltraFICO could also give a credit score to the millions who don’t have enough credit history for a traditional FICO Score.

UltraFICO isn’t likely to dramatically change the outcome of an application for credit. But, depending on what your FICO Score is, an UltraFICO could bump you into the next higher range which may make a difference if you were on the edge of acceptance. FICO Scores are broken up into five ranges:

One of the best ways to improve your credit score is to consistently do a good job of managing your bills and debt. There are also tools that can help you maintain an accurate credit report or improve your score by including a wider range of accounts in your credit score calculation.

Consistently pay bills on time

Your payment history is the largest component of your FICO Score (35%). Paying your bills on time may not change the outcome of a credit application next month, but it makes a big difference in your creditworthiness over the long haul. And by paying your bills by their due dates, you’ll have the added benefit of avoiding late fees.

Keep an eye on your credit report

To make sure your good behavior shows itself in your credit score, regularly review and monitor your credit report for inaccuracies and get them corrected. If you’ve paid off a large debt but it wasn’t properly reported to the credit bureaus, that can affect your credit score. Disputing errors on your credit report ensures you have the highest credit score possible.

There are a number of free credit monitoring services, which are often provided through your bank or credit card issuer. If you have a Capital One credit card, you may have complimentary access to CreditWise® from Capital One, which monitors your TransUnion and Experian credit reports and uses the VantageScore credit scoring model.

However, if you want full monitoring of all three credit bureaus you may want to opt for a paid credit monitoring service. Experian IdentityWorks℠ and IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit both offer services to monitor all three of the major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) and include additional benefits such as identity theft insurance.

Experian IdentityWorks℠

  • Cost

    Free for 30 days, then $9.99 to $19.99 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian for Plus plan or Experian, Equifax and TransUnion for Premium plan

  • Credit scoring model used

  • Dark web scan

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $500,000 for Plus plan and up to $1 million for Premium plan*

*Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit

  • Cost

    UltraSecure+Credit Individual starts at $139.90/yr and UltraSecure+Credit Family at $209/yr. Click “Learn More” for details.

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

  • Dark web scan

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, $1 million for all plans

Terms apply. To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website or call 855-979-1118. 

Pay off debt

Your total debt accounts for 30% of your FICO Score, so one way to raise your score is by paying down outstanding debt. If you have credit cards, paying your balance in full each month will save you from interest charges and will lower your credit utilization rate. Using a smaller percentage of your available credit also helps your credit score.

Use Experian Boost or eCredable Lift

Experian Boost is a free tool that allows you to link accounts to your Experian credit report that normally aren’t included. Using Experian Boost could raise your credit score if you’ve been consistently paying other bills on time.

The eligible types of accounts you can link includes, utilities, internet, cable, trash, streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Disney Plus) and phone services. Linking these accounts to your credit report can boost your credit score (however, some users may not see any change to their credit score).

Experian Boost™

  • Cost

  • Average credit score increase

    13 points, though results vary

  • Credit report affected

  • Credit scoring model used

Results will vary. See website for details.

If you’d like to include additional information on your TransUnion credit report, you can use eCredable Lift. This service allows you to link up to eight eligible accounts, including utilities, cable TV, internet and phones.

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*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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