Credit Card Issuers Give You Access to Your Score

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Updated: February 22nd, 2014
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Everyone can get a free copy of their credit report, but you usually must pay to see your credit score.

Now credit card issuers are starting to provide free credit scores to their cardholders. Partially they do it because they want to attract new consumers and partially because they want to educate their cardholders about what goes into their credit score, which effects consumers’ ability to open a credit line and the interest rate they pay.

Discover and Barclays are two of those credit card issuers who offer free FICO scores to users. Discover started offering free FICO scores to the new Discover it® cardholders last November; and Barclays began providing free FICO scores to consumers under the program started last fall.

In effort to make credit scores more clear, the firms that purchase credit scores were allowed to make the scores available free to consumers. That also was considered as a good contribution to consumers’ education.

The most widely used by lenders credit scores are provided by three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. These three companies use formula and software provided by FICO to calculate their credit scores.

Credit card issuers have different credit programs and the scores they offer may also vary. For example, both Discover and Barclays provide FICO scores from TransUnion while other issuers can partner with other credit bureaus to provide scores. But despite program differences, most of credit card issuers offer access to a monthly updated FICO credit score.

Discover, as well as Barclays, provides a general risk FICO score which ranges from 300 to 850. It is a very commonly used credit score. It indicates the consumer’s risk on any type of credit product. Other creditors may use a wider rage, from 250 to 900, but generally speaking those ranges are very close.

Along with the scores, the credit card companies also provide consumers with information about how their credit scores can be affected. They also give tips consumers can take to improve their credit score.



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