Feb 23, 2015
Credit Scores

Trends: More Americans Getting Access To Free Credit Scores

Good Reuters article (link no longer active) for your credit report/credit score unit describes how more companies are providing consumers with free access to their credit scores on their monthly statements.  For some time, consumers have had free access to their credit reports from each of the three reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) through annualcreditreport.com.  While helpful to consumers, ultimately lenders were making their decisions based on credit scores (of which there are dozens with FICO being the most prevalent).  Until recently, consumers had to pay to see their credit scores (although they would receive their scores if they were turned down for credit).

However, there is an increase towards transparency and greater access to your scores:

While consumers could get their credit reports for years at no charge, their scores were not available, or they had to pay for them. In the past year, however, more than 60 million Americans suddenly were able to get either their FICO score, provided by the Fair Isaac Corp, or their VantageScore, from a system developed by TransUnion Corp (IPO-TRUN.N).

Why is this so important?

“The anecdotal evidence we’re seeing from both lenders and consumers indicates people who know their FICO Scores tend to develop healthier credit habits than people who don’t know their scores,” says FICO spokesman Jeff Scott.

Makes sense, right?  By getting that monthly feedback and seeing how your actions can help your score (e.g., by paying bills on time or reducing your utilization) or hurt it (e.g., missing a payment), you are likely to be more responsible.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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