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Fair Isaac Corp. this month reversed its plan to eliminate authorized secondary users of credit card accounts from its newest credit-scoring model, and the decision will delay the rollout of FICO 08 by at least a few months. The Minneapolis-based company last year announced it would remove authorized secondary users of credit card accounts from the new FICO model to help eliminate an abusive practice known as "piggybacking," which enables consumers to artificially inflate their credit scores (CardLine, 6/5/07). Many unscrupulous credit-repair services in recent years promised to improve consumers' credit scores by enabling them to become authorized users on the credit card accounts of consumers with high scores. Fair Isaac planned to release the final version of FICO 08 next month, but recently some lenders told Fair Isaac that compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires them to support authorized secondary users of credit card accounts, especially in calculating spouses' credit scores. Some 35% of credit files contain at least one authorized secondary credit card user in addition to the actual account holder, Fair Isaac says, such as a family member. The company is working to incorporate authorized secondary users of credit card accounts into FICO 08, with an adjustment designed to minimize fraudulent practices. "We've come up with a technical solution we think will help solve the problem of fraudulent authorized-user practices," Tom Quinn, Fair Isaac's vice president of global scoring solutions, tells CardLine. Because the technology is proprietary, he would not explain specifically how it will sift out abusive authorized-user practices. Fair Isaac offers no official date when it will release the final version of FICO 08, but Quinn says the company hopes to make it available to credit bureaus before the end of the year.

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