So how do we show off our credit “know how”? We’re not going to run around telling people how low our interest rates are. We’re not going to run around showing people how many credit card offers we get in the mail. No, there just aren’t that many ways to show off your credit smarts. But, here are a few…
The FICO Pro Certification – AllRegs has been authorized by FICO (the company behind the FICO credit scoring system) to certify consumers and professionals as a “FICO Pro” if they successfully complete a variety of online coursework.
I’ll frequently run into LinkedIn profiles highlighting the “FICO Pro” designation. Many of the folks who’ve earned the FICO Pro designation are in the business of credit repair and will use their new knowledge to attract new customers.
Earning the FICO Pro deisgnation doesn’t take long, either. “It can all be done in an afternoon”, according to Tom Gazaway, CEO of New Jersey- based Hawkeye Management ( and a FICO Pro, himself). “There are three sections of the curriculum each followed by an online test.”
The FCRA Certification – The credit industry’s trade association is known as the CDIA, or the Consumer Data Industry Association. The CDIA offers an online course that will certify your knowledge of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – the comprehensive set of rules and obligations regulating credit reporting agencies and companies who use credit reports.
This certification is limited to consumers who work in the credit industry. I’ve been certified twice (in 1991 and 2011) and can tell you from personal experience that it’s a very difficult testing process – as it should be given the importance of complying with the Act.
It took me several weeks to get through the online coursework, each followed by an assessment exam. The final exam took about an hour. Those who take and pass the certification exam can add “FCRA Certified” to their resume or curriculum vitae.
The CreditSesame Credit Badge – This one might make the most sense for the general consumer population. CreditSesame allows you to get your credit score for free, based on your Experian credit report data. ( I’ve written about free credit score options for Mint in the past.)
Depending on how good your credit is, you’ll earn an online badge that memorializes your credit status as being good, excellent or “credit guru”. “People work hard to achieve great credit. The badges give them a way to show it off in a secure way”, says Adrian Nazari, CEO and Founder of CreditSesame.com.
To get your badge, set up a member profile and then claim your free credit report and score via their website. You’re then given the option to share your credit badge. I tested it myself and I can certify that it’s really free, and no credit card is required.
John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. The opinions expressed in his articles are his and not of Mint.com or Intuit. Follow John on Twitter.