Discover card advertises to check your FICO® score and review their “Credit Scorecard” on the Discover Card website. They say it is for free – which is enticing for everyone. They say that FICO scores are used by over 90% of lenders. However, this is where their deception starts that you need to be aware of to protect yourself.
You may remember the Discover commercials a few years ago that told everyone that they could get their FICO credit scores. They were the first lender to offer such service. However, there was a big problem with their advertisement. The FICO Score Discover Card offered consumers was and is vastly different than the ones mortgage and auto lenders used for their loan approvals. I worked with several reporters to do stories on the Discover card / FICO Score and highlight the discrepancy. The two best news stories were with Matt Gephardt (KUTV) in Salt Lake and Kurtis Ming (KOVR) in Sacramento. This is the KOVR story in Sacramento, CA.
A few weeks after the stories ran, I received an email from Jon Drummond, director of Public Relations at Discover card. He wanted to have a conversation about the stories that were running. I thought we would have a pretty hard conversation. Discover Card was spending millions on promoting this opportunity to consumers, and now they faced push back for giving incorrect information.
That conference call had two executive vice-presidents from Discover card. That call didn’t go the way I thought it would go. They were not mad or disrespectful in any way. They just didn’t know that Discover card was offering a FICO score that was different from the main one other lender’s used. They had to check with FICO to find out what FICO score they were offering consumers. Very interesting. They were giving out information without checking what they were offering.
Come to find out from FICO, they were offering a FICO 8 bankcard version. Who uses this FICO score? Discover card. Do mortgage or auto lenders use this FICO score? No. That is the problem. Most lenders use the Classic FICO score.
Additionally, the FICO 8 goes to 900 verses 850 for the Classic FICO score. It is much different and gives a much higher number to consumers.
When Discover card says that 90% of lenders use the FICO score, they are misleading consumers. What percentage of lenders use the FICO 8 bankcard model? It is just Discover, American Express, Capital One and a few others credit card companies.
Discover Card tried to insinuate that since they offer a “FICO Score” and that 90% of lenders use a “FICO Score”, that all consumers are getting the same FICO score. They are not. If you are a Discover Card holder, use their services. Just know that that particular FICO score is only used by Discover Card, and the score is different than the ones used by other mortgage, auto or other credit card lenders.
If you are not a Discover Card client, go elsewhere to get your Classic FICO scores – used by most lenders. You can access your Classic FICO scores at MyCreditPlan.org.