Archives for September 3, 2015

Free FICO Score from Chase Credit Cards

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

fico_chase_slate0This post provides updated information and instructions regarding the free FICO score that is available to select Chase credit card holders.

Background. Chase started offering free FICO® scores to select US cardholders in March 2015. In addition to your FICO® Score, their Credit Dashboard will provide a score history as well as detail the factors that go into calculating your score. Currently, only their Chase Slate® card offers this feature. There have been no announced plans to expand this feature to other Chase cards.

FICO Score details.

  • FICO Score version: FICO Score 8, or FICO 08. This is the most widely used of the many FICO flavors. Score version is based on various reports and their participation in the FICO Score Open Access Program.
  • Credit bureau: Experian
  • Update frequency: Monthly
  • Limitations: Available only to select Chase credit cards. The current list is only one card:

How to find the score. You can find the free FICO score on your online account access. If you cannot find it and you opened your account prior to April 2015, you may need to Chase Customer Service (secure online message is recommended) and specifically request access to the FICO score and Credit Dashboard feature. This feature was first rolled out to new customers and later existing customers.

I don’t have this card myself (anymore), but I did find some images provided by users on the myFICO forums. After logging in, look on your right sidebar for information regarding your “Credit Dashboard”. See screenshots below (click to enlarge):

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You will be shown your current FICO score, a historical score chart, and key factors impacting your score (click to enlarge):

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You will also be shown more detailed information based on your Experian credit report, such as your current credit utilization ratio:

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Fine print:

Your FICO® Score displayed is for your educational purposes and based on data from Experian. It may be different from other credit scores used by Chase and other lenders in making credit decisions. This information is available online only at Chase.com to primary cardmembers with an open account, provided Experian has sufficient credit history in a credit file for a FICO® Score to be generated. Once approved for the Slate card, it may take up to seven days for your FICO® Score and related information to be available on Chase.com. Chase reserves the right to make changes or discontinue this feature at any time. FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Free FICO Score from Barclaycard Credit Cards

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

fico_barc1This post provides updated information and instructions regarding the free FICO score that is available to Barclaycard US credit card holders.

Background. Barclaycard started offering free FICO® scores to select US cardholders in late 2013, gradually increasing the rollout over time. In addition to your FICO® Score, you’ll also see up to 2 factors affecting your score and a historical chart tracking your score after 3 months of history.

FICO Score details.

How to find the score. You can find the free FICO score on your online account access and via the Barclaycard mobile app. You must enroll by visiting the Account Summary page and clicking on the Tools link. You will be prompted to view some information about the complimentary program, and if you are okay with the terms click the “Accept” button. See screenshot below (click to enlarge):

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Here is the latest score, a score meter, and the top two factors impacting your score (click to enlarge):

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They also provide a score history. You can see that the score is not updated every month, but instead the update interval varies between approximately a month and three months (click to enlarge).

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Here is a screenshot from the Barclaycard smartphone app (click to enlarge):

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Fine print:

Barclaycard offers FICO® Score access at its own discretion. FICO® Score access is not a permanent feature of your account and may be removed at any time. To view your FICO® Score, your account with us must be open and active (having activity within the past 150 days). Not all accounts will have a FICO® Score to display including but not limited to, accounts without a United States address, accounts without charging privileges, and accounts opened for 30 days or less.

Your FICO® Score falls into a range from 300 to 850 and is calculated based on TransUnion credit data. Your FICO® Score is not an endorsement or a determination of your qualification for a loan or credit. Credit score models and score ranges may differ by lender.

Retirement Income Risks: Longevity, Sequence of Returns, and Stupidity

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

annuity_puzzleOne of the first things that pops up when doing research on retirement annuities is the “annuity puzzle”. Essentially, economists have done their calculations and shown that simple, immediate income annuities are theoretically the best fit for many people. You give up some things like liquidity and upside potential, but in exchange you get the most monthly income for the rest of your life. But in the real world, only a small fraction of such people actually go out and buy such annuities.

Bob Seawright wrote a nice article at ThinkAdvisor.com that lists three main risks with managing withdrawals from your own lump-sum portfolios. An income annuity can help address these risks. I’ve added my own comments as well.

Longevity risk. People are living longer on average. Enter your age(s) into this Vanguard longevity tool. Here is a short snippet from a previous longevity risk post:

For an individual that is 65 today, there is roughly a 50/50 chance they will reach age 80. For a couple both at 65, roughly a 50/50 chance that at least one person will reach age 90.

The extreme ages are getting higher as well; quote below taken from the Seawright post:

Moreover, the distribution of longevity is wide — a 22-year difference between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the distribution for men (dying at 70 versus 92) and a 23-year difference between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the distribution for women (dying at 72 versus 95).

Sequence of returns risk. Two retirees can start with the same initial portfolio balance and experience the same average return, but if one experiences highly negative returns in the first few years of withdrawals they can end up with very different outcomes. Here is a previous graphic illustrating the sequence of returns risk.

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Stupidity risk. If you do-it-yourself, what if you aren’t very good? The idea of safe withdrawal rates is a starting point, but even that assumes a theoretical 60/40 you-didn’t-panic-when-stocks-dropped-50-percent portfolio. I like the idea of adding some robustness with more flexible dynamic safe withdrawal rates, but “safe” is still a relative term.

Eventually, I plan to put a portion of my money into a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA). I’ll probably wait until around age 65, with a joint life rider so that it will keep paying out as long as either my wife or I are alive. I like the idea of having enough guaranteed income to cover all basic needs like housing, food, and utilities. Considering that we have no mortgage and assuming no major cuts to Social Security, I am hoping that number is not too much in excess of state-specific insurance guaranty coverage limits.

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