There are dozens of credit scores available to lenders and financial institutions that are based on consumer behavior generated from their credit reports. Now, for the first time, FICO is launching an “opt-in” credit score.

Consumers always have had the power to improve their credit score with good behavior such as paying bills on time, keeping the balance on credit card accounts low and avoiding spending over the credit card limit. Now consumers also can give permission to incorporate positive financial data into their FICO score.

The new score, known as the UltraFICO Score, has been developed in partnership with the Experian credit reporting agency and Finicity, a financial data company.

It allows consumers to contribute information such as checking, savings and money-market account data that demonstrates positive financial behavior such as saving money. Consumers will need to provide permission for Experian and Finicity so they can electronically access information from bank statements, such as the length of time accounts have been open, evidence of saving and frequency of activity.

The hope is that this new information can improve access to credit for Americans who have lower credit scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s because of a limited credit history or because they are rebuilding their credit after a financial crisis such as divorce, bankruptcy or a foreclosure.

The pilot program will launch in early 2019 and is expected to be widely available to lenders in mid-2019.

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