As fraudsters get ever sneakier about stealing personal data, it’s more important than ever that you protect your personal information. One way to do that is by keeping a close eye on your credit report–and those of your family members. Enter FICO’s latest innovation, the Family Ultimate 3B plan. With this plan, you can stay up-to-date on credit data for your whole family.
This is just one of the many products FICO offers to help you monitor your credit score and stay ahead of fraud. The 3B means that this plan pulls monthly credit score reports from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus–Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. And the Family means that you can monitor for fraud for yourself, your spouse, and up to ten children!
This is a step up from FICO’s Ultimate 3B plan, which offers one individual access to their credit reports. If you’re on a tighter budget, you could also look at their 1-Bureau plan, which is much lower in cost.
With that said, being able to add multiple people from your family without significantly increasing your monthly expenses could represent a huge value. And besides basic credit score monitoring, this plan also offers identity theft monitoring, credit score alerts, and fraud resolution and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for your whole family.
Realted: myFICO Review
So what does this plan include? Here are some of the great features you can expect:
Quarterly reports from each of the three credit reporting bureaus for two people over the age of 18
Three-bureau credit monitoring and FICO® Score alerts for two adults
Identity theft monitoring for two adults and up to 10 children under age 18
Fraud resolution and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for everyone in the family
An easy-to-use interface that tracks your credit score over time
Access to a FICO® Score simulator that can help you decide how best to improve your credit
Access to your underlying FICO report, giving you detailed information about your credit score and accounts
An identity analysis report
Alerts that ping you when something changes with your credit report
A list of potential rates for mortgages and auto loans based on your current score, plus what you could save if you improve your score
A timeline view of your FICO® Score 8 from each of the three bureaus
Let’s break down some of these features further, as they’re worth highlighting.
This report scans black market websites to see if your information is floating around somewhere it shouldn’t be. On the report, you can see your most recent scan. You can also check out the aliases that the report is watching for. My aliases included variants of my name plus information about all my old addresses that have been associated with my credit report over time.
FICO Score Report
This is the report that your scores are based on. It lets you see all of your accounts, whether or not you’re late on any payments, and whether you have any accounts that are or have been past due. You can also find out your payment history and derogatory events for each account and how information about the accounts might vary from one credit reporting bureau to the next.
You can also see if you have a public record or an account in collections, which can help you find other ways to increase your credit score. This section will also flag items for your review, so you can get an at-a-glance view of things that might be of particular interest to you.
FICO Score Simulator
This is similar to other services that offer a simulator. It will tell you right away one thing you could do to improve your credit and about how long that would take. Or you can run the simulator to go over other actions you might take–both positive and negative–and how they might affect your FICO® Score.
You have to actually invite the other adult in your family to join the account, since they’ll need to put in their own personal information. But you can add your children as long as you have their birthdates and Social Security numbers handy. With this information, FICO will generate an Identity Analysis report for each child on your account. And once the other adult is added, they’ll get access to their own credit scores and report information.
This plan currently costs $49.95 per month. The monthly 3B plan for an individual costs $39.95 per month, and the quarterly monitoring plan for an individual costs $29.95. So this is similar to getting two quarterly plans, plus being able to add your children to the identity theft monitoring and protection plans. It’s a great value, especially if you have any concerns about identity fraud or are trying to improve your credit scores as a family.
Signing up for this service is simple. First you’ll create a username and password. Then you’ll input your credit card information. You can cancel your plan at any time, but it will be set to automatically run monthly on the day of the month you sign up.
After that, you’ll put in your basic personal information, including your address and Social Security number. Once you’ve confirmed your subscription, FICO will ask some basic questions to make sure you are who you say you are. This could include old street addresses, the name of your mortgage lender, or the amount of the monthly payment on an installment loan you have.
Then, FICO will do an identity scan. There’s a fancy screen that looks like it’s scanning while you’re waiting, but, really, they’re just buying time to pull all your information together. It’s understandable, since they are pulling together quite a bit of information.
Once you’re signed up, you’ll find an alert to let you invite another adult in your family and to add your children. The children will require even less information than you do, though you will need their Social Security numbers to get through this portion of signing up. And it will take a few minutes to get their identity reports back once they’ve been added to your plan.
As you might expect from one of the leading providers of credit scores, myFICO takes security very seriously. It uses the latest bank-level encryption technology and best practices and multiple firewalls. It also asks questions only you would know when you’re creating your account and can use multi-factor authentication to ensure you’re the one logging in from a new location. For more information on FICO’s security, go here.
Mobile Support and Accessibility
The myFICO website isn’t super responsive or mobile-friendly. With that said, you can do the basics on mobile if you need to. But your best bet is to download their mobile app, which is available for both Apple and Android. The app lets you monitor your account online if you want, and you can set up your identity alerts to come to you via push notification, which can be helpful.
FICO has customer service available online and by phone, and it generally gets good ratings for its customer service. That said, one of my favorite aspects of its customer service is that you can easily and intuitively cancel your account online if you want to.
Many online subscription services bury the cancel link or make you call into a support line instead of being able to cancel online without the help of customer service. But if you decide the myFICO Family Plan isn’t for you, you can cancel it through your online account in about ten seconds.
The ability to monitor your kids’ identities. Most likely, your younger children don’t have a credit report at all. And the one way you can completely protect their credit report is to freeze their credit. But this can be inconvenient, especially when they do need to apply for their first student loan or credit card. So being able to add their identity monitoring to your account is great.
A savings available for couples. If you and your spouse or partner signed up for quarterly FICO reports through myFICO, you’d end up paying nearly $60 together. So this is already a savings of $10, before you even consider the fact that you’re adding in identity theft monitoring and protection for your children.
Excellent tools. The dashboard for this plan and other myFICO plans is great and easy to use. Being able to consolidate all of your credit and identity information in one place is great. And the tools like the credit simulator can really help you make progress when it comes to improving your credit score.
Identity theft insurance. Many services these days offer insurance for identity theft. The process of having your identity stolen and restored can be expensive, so this type of insurance makes sense. But instead of paying for a separate service, this lets you combine your identity theft insurance with the tools you can use to actively monitor your own identity.
Alerts. Many of the free options we’ll talk about below are great, but they may not give you real-time alerts if there are potential issues with your credit report. Real-time issues can make the difference between a small problem that’s easy to fix and one that costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
FICO score. Obviously since this product comes from myFICO, it’s giving you access to your actual FICO® Score. And you can even use the system to look at scores using different FICO scoring models, such as the FICO Auto Score 8 and the latest FICO Score 9. You never know which score a potential lender will pull for sure, but having access to this official information can help you make better decisions when it comes to applying for credit.
Cost. The biggest drawback to this myFICO plan is its expense. For nearly $50 per month, you are only getting your credit reports and scores refreshed every three months. There are much cheaper alternatives available, which we’ll talk about in the next section.
These days there are loads of ways to get hold of your credit report and score. We have a whole list of options here, including services like Credit Sesame. These services can be great. And they may even give you some real-time and monthly alerts as your credit situation changes over time. With that said, they aren’t typically giving you access to the FICO® Score that lenders will actually see. So if you’re on the verge of applying for major credit, these may not cut it.
The same thing goes for the free monthly scores your credit card company might provide. They can be a useful tool and a great bonus, but they may not give you much protection against fraud or identity theft.
And there are other products on the market specifically meant to protect against identity theft, such as LifeLock. These services can offer additional protection and coverage for things like reimbursement for funds stolen through identity theft or fraud. And LifeLock also includes three-bureau credit reports and scores, but only on an annual basis.
Read More: LifeLock Review
Another similar option is Identity Guard. This one is similar to the FICO product in that it comes with quarterly three-bureau credit reports, but it also includes additional types of monitoring, such as an antivirus and firewall software you can use to stay safer online. It’s also a pretty affordable service, comparably, so it’s definitely worth considering.
This myFICO Family Ultimate 3B plan is an excellent option for anyone who wants to monitor their whole family for potential identity theft. And it gives you access to your official FICO® Score straight from the source, so if you’re looking to apply for credit soon, it could be a great investment for a few months.
If you have older children, it could be particularly helpful. You’ll want to be even more careful about monitoring their personal data once they’re old enough to put it out onto the internet themselves, whether accidentally or on purpose.
The product is a good balance between identity theft protection and standard credit monitoring. If you want a product that swings more in the direction of identity theft protection, you might check out one of the two alternatives above. With their additional services and insurance for those who are victims of identity theft, they could be a better bet if this describes you.
This plan from myFICO is a great deal if you’re already interested in identity theft monitoring and credit monitoring services. It’s especially good if you love digging into the details of your own credit score and credit report. But if you want to pay less for less robust monitoring, there are other services available for this, too. Still, you can’t beat the FICO Family Ultimate 3B plan for serious monitoring of your whole family’s credit and identity situations!Try myFICO Family Ultimate 3B Plan