So, should you get your Alexa credit score?
Technically speaking, it’s actually not your Alexa credit score, since Alexa isn’t a credit bureau. But Experian is, and that’s actually where the credit score comes from. But it’s not just a credit score, it’s just about everything connected with your credit report. Alexa credit score has the potential to give you access to your official credit information to a degree that was impossible up until this point.
What is Alexa?
Amazon Alexa is a digital assistant that is built into devices like Amazon Echo. Echo is a speaker with a built-in microphone, while Alexa functions as a virtual assistant.
You’ve probably seen Alexa advertised on TV countless times. A humanoid in the commercial calls out “Alexa” (to “wake” the device), then issues a command. Alexa is asked to play music or movies, shop on Amazon, set reminders, search the internet, and even control smart devices within the household.
It harks back to the Jetsons robot maid, Rosie, except that Alexa doesn’t clean house, cook meals, or watch the kids. At least not yet!
Some of what Alexa can do more specifically includes: Muting and un-muting sound devices, stop or pause functions, change sound volume, show photos, show specific photos, view cameras in other rooms, watch movie trailers, pull up the weather forecast, display specific YouTube videos, provide recipes, and even plug you into Uber.
But that’s only a partial list of what Alexa can do. It all depends on which of the dozen or more versions of the device that you have.
Amazon has sold more than 20 million Alexa devices through October 2017. That means that there is an Alexa device in about one out of every six households in America.
There’s a wide range on the price of Alexa devices. They range from $20 for the Amazon Dash Wand, a barcode scanner for quick shopping from home, to $230 for Amazon Echo Show, an Echo with a touchscreen and a camera that can also be used as an intercom. That’s certainly well within the range of affordability for most households.
And then came Experian…
You’ve probably heard of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If not, you’ve at least heard of Equifax, they’re the credit bureau that had 143 million people’s identities hacked in a data breach.
Anyway, Experian announced in October that Alexa will now be able to answer credit-related questions. You’ll be able to ask Alexa what your credit score is, as well as credit score component questions, like your credit utilization.
Related: After The Equifax Breach, Review These Steps To Protect Your Identity
How does the Alexa Experian skill work?
In order to access your Experian credit information from Alexa, you’ll need to have access to Experian’s CreditLock product.
You’ll need to enable the Alexis Experian skill. Once you do, you’ll have to enter your Experian username and password, plus a personal key created when you enter your information to link your account. You also have to repeat your PIN after five minutes of inactivity, otherwise you’ll be closed out.
Despite security measures, the possibility of your information being hacked is always present.
One of the big advantages in using Alexa Credit Score is that it essentially opens up the secretive universe of credit bureaus. By giving you continuous access, the mystery and perceived unapproachability of at least one credit bureau will largely disappear.
Should you get your Alexa credit score?
The Alexa Credit Score is an advance of the combination of technology and credit reporting. The regular access to your credit information, as well as the vocal interplay, can be appealing to a lot of users.
But there are some caveats to be aware of:
Since Alexa will answer your credit questions in an audible voice, it’s possible for unintended third-parties to hear the information. You’ll have to make certain no one else is around to hear the information conveyed.
The Experian CreditLock product gives you the ability to control who can access your credit report. But it comes with a cost. There is an introductory special of $4.99 for the first month. After that, it’s $24.99 per month.
Widespread availability of your credit information from alternative sources
Given that you can access free credit scores from so many sources today—your bank or credit union, credit card providers and others—the cost of the CreditLock product seems prohibitive.
However, the big advantage with the Experian/Alexa connection is that you can get detailed credit information, as well as the ability to get credit related advice about your credit report and score. You can even lock or unlock your credit, which is something you can’t do with free credit score providers.
And perhaps most important, the credit information that you receive from Alexa will be directly from Experian. That’s a higher level of credit information, since it is the type that lenders rely on.
Most free credit scores, on the other hand, are educational scores. They don’t represent your actual FICO score, but rather parallel scores provided for information only. They can vary significantly from what your actual FICO score is. Your Experian score will be your real score.
Related: Why Is My Credit Score Different Depending Where I Look?
If you’re comfortable with the caveats, Alexa Credit Score can be an exciting way to access your credit information. But with free alternatives, there are other options that might be better for those looking to save.
- 13 Helpful Tips For Maintaining A Good Credit Score
- 17 Expert Hacks To Achieving A PERFECT Credit Score