November 22nd, 2013
Starting this month, San Jose based FICO, the first U.S. credit scoring company, is rolling out a program that allows consumers access to their credit scores for free, as long as their lender is on board.
So far only two lenders have signed up (Barclaycard and First Bankcard). But FICO is in talks with many more banks and lenders to offer this program to consumers.
Under FICO’s Score Open Access program, customers are able to see their credit scores as often as their lenders order them from FICO, which could be every month, said Anthony Sprauve, a spokesman for FICO. “We are trying very hard to remove the mystery about the FICO score and the perception that the score is handed down from on high and educate people about their score so they understand the factors that drive the score,” Sprauve said.
Customers can also see the top two factors affecting their score — things like late payments, a short credit history or high balances — and get information to help them better understand their score and what impacts it.
Lenders will determine exactly what format they use to grant customers access. They may send out e-mails or letters or include the score with their credit card or banking statements. They can also provide access through the customer’s online account, Sprauve said.
As we’ve mentioned prior, you have been eligible to see your credit report for free once a year, but the actual score would cost you. There were places that were offering estimated scores for free, but the downside was that they were using aggregate data rather than your personal information.
Additionally, Discover Financial Services has announced that they will not only provide free credit scores on their statements, but that Discover card holders will also the FICO Score Meter and educational content to help them better understand what the score means.
The folks at FICO estimate that 25 million consumers will have access to their credit scores by the end of the year without paying a dime.
How often would you check your score if it was available?