In the recent podcast on How to Track All 3 of Your Credit Scores, I mentioned that I would have a follow up article that tracked all the cards that offer free credit scores – whether it’s an official FICO score or not – and the credit bureau the data are drawn from.
Here is the promised article, and I’m including the list of credit cards offering credit scores and additional information about each offer.
Discover provides free FICO scores from your TransUnion credit report. It’s available on your monthly statement and online. You get the score and the two main factors that affect it.
Here’s what my score report from Discover looks like:
Discover offers some of the best cash back and 0% cards available today. One of the most popular options is the Discover it®- Cashback Match™ . As the name suggests, new cardholders receive 2x cash back the first year.
Recently, Discover made its credit scorecard available to non-customers, as well. As when you pull your own credit report, this one doesn’t impact your credit score at all. It’s not as comprehensive as the FICO score for customers, as it doesn’t provide historical scores. But it does provide information on factors that are helping or harming your credit score, so it’s great if you’re trying to raise your score. Unlike its score for customers, this FICO score is provided through Experian.
So if you’re a Discover customer, you can actually get scores from two of three major credit reporting bureaus from Discover. They may even be different, based on the information in your credit reports.
Citi rolled out free FICO scores in 2015. The scores are based on credit data provided by Equifax, which is the same score that Citi uses to make credit determinations. Citi also provides a useful explanation as to why the FICO score you see through Citi might be different than other scores you see:
The FICO® Score Citi provides is based on information from your Equifax credit report based on the “as of” date included with your score. This may differ from scores you obtain elsewhere that may have been calculated at a different time using information from a different credit bureau or even a different score model. If you have additional questions regarding the FICO® Score model and how it’s calculated, please refer to the FICO® Score FAQ and Understanding FICO® Scores links under the “Useful Links” section to the right.
Citi also provides a useful chart to interpret your credit score data:
Two of my favorite Citi Cards are the Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever (0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 months) and the Citi® Double Cash Card (1% cash back when you buy + 1% cash back when you pay–it’s my everyday card).
Chase is newer to the “free credit scores” bandwagon, and it only offers the service for some cards, including Chase Slate card. As with other offers, this one includes access to information about why your score is what it is, and advice on how to raise your score and manage your overall creditworthiness.
Chase provides customers access to the FICO Score 8 based on their Experian credit reports.
Bank of America
All Bank of America credit card customers have access to their free FICO scores. As with many other reporting services, this one gives you access to your recent scores and lets you compare them to the national averages. You can also see key factors that are influencing your score.
The score from Bank of America is provided through TransUnion. You can also get text or email notifications when you set them up. Get a monthly notification when your credit score is updated, so you’re always on top of your score.
Barclaycard provides FICO scores to its cardholder customers on its website. The score is based on your TransUnion file.
It also provides email alerts, letting you know when your score changes. The alerts list the two main factors that have caused the score change. The service also provides a historical chart that tracks the movements in your score, once you have a three month history in the program. There is no charge for this service, and no attempts at up-selling you into other programs.
The email alerts, historical tracking, and the fact that Barclaycard provides you with your actual FICO score are major advantages with this program. Many other free credit score sources, whether they are provided by credit card issuers or other sources, give you a parallel score rather than the actual FICO that is used by most banks for lending and mortgage purposes.
Commerce Bank customers can now access their FICO scores on their monthly credit card statements. The score is automatically reported on each statement, and includes a list of score factors and options for improving your score. Plus, you can see how your current score might impact interest rates and other credit terms.
American Express gives you free access to your FICO score based on the FICO 8 formula. Here’s an example of the information provided:
American Express’s free FICO score started as a pilot program, and is not available to all customers.
Capital One provides a non-FICO score, called CreditWise. The score is calculated based on the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 model. Customers can, of course, access their scores through this system. But now, so can non-Capital One customers.
CreditWise is available online and through a mobile phone app. You can sign up for the app even if you aren’t a customer, and the score will remain free.
The service offers the following features:
- Credit Simulator – This tool estimates how future credit behavior could impact your Credit Tracker score. For example, you can determine how a 30-day late payment on a mortgage might affect your score – or going 12 months without one. It can also help you find the best way to improve your credit score by estimating the impact of positive behaviors like making payments on time or paying off credit card debt. Unlike some other credit simulators, this tool will actually let you account for multiple behaviors at once, including taking out a mortgage, paying down debt, letting an account go delinquent, or even paying child support.
- Credit Alerts – You can receive alerts for factors that affect your score, including a new inquiry, recently opened account, delinquent account, improved account, or bankrupt account. The alerts go out when your Trans Union credit report changes.
- Grade Overview – This feature enables you to see the major factors that are affecting your credit score.
First Bankcard through First National Bank offers FICO scores to its cardholders and you can view it online. They use the FICO 8 Bankcard Score, which is the score the bank purchases monthly to keep track of customers’ creditworthiness. Like other credit card credit score providers on this list, First Bankcard also provides you with the main factors that determine you score.
As of late 2015, USAA started offering members, not just credit card holders, access to their free credit score. The CreditCheck & ID Monitor solution from USAA comes in several different levels.
The basic level, CreditCheck 1, offers daily credit monitoring through Experian, updates and alerts about changes in your credit score, and access to your credit score and historical scores. The credit score provided at this level is the Experian VantageScore 3.
At the paid levels (either $7.95 per month or $12.95 per month, depending on the level), customers can access additional benefits like twice monthly credit score checks, reports from the other credit reporting bureaus, and identity protection alerts.
US Bank provides its cardholders with their credit score as provided by Experian directly from the Experian website. Its service is called CreditManager Plus. The scores are available for free to US Bank cardholders, and you simply need to log into your US Bank account and click on a link on the right side of your statement that says, “Know your credit score? Check it free.”
Walmart Credit Card
Walmart Credit Card offers a monthly FICO score for cardholders who enroll in electronic statements. Walmart Credit Cards also provide the top two reason codes affecting the score. The service is also available at no cost, and will not impact your credit score (pulling your own credit is considered to be a “soft inquiry” in the industry, and will have no affect on your scores).
Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores
|Credit Card||Score Type||Details|
|Barclaycard||FICO||1. Email Alerts.
2. Two main credit score factors
3. Historical Tracking Charts
|Capital One||Credit Tracker (based on Transunion New Account Model)||1. Online and Mobile App
2. Credit Simulator Tool (measure future behavior)
3. Credit Alerts, including specific reasons for the alert.
4. Grade Overview, telling you the top reasons for your score.
|Citi||FICO||Available online and based on data provided by Equifax.|
|Discover||TransUnion FICO||Available on monthly statement and online. Score, plus top two factors.|
|First Bankcard||FICO 8 Bankcard Score||Available online. Reports top two factors in determining your scores.|
|US Bank||Experian, presumably FICO||Service is provided direct by Experian, which is one of the three major credit repositories.|
|Walmart Credit Card||FICO||Available with online enrollment. Provides top two reason codes for your scores.|
Bonus: Ally Bank
Ally Bank offers free FICO scores to its auto loan customers.
These are the 12 major credit card issuers (plus an auto lender!) currently offering free credit scores to their customers. I wouldn’t be surprised if more credit card companies jump on board, as this is now becoming a “standard issue” benefit in the credit card world.
At any rate, many of these companies offer great credit cards that are worth having, anyway. So if you need to keep better track of your FICO score, consider doing it for free using a card from one of these companies.
Know of another credit card company or lender offering access to free credit cards? Let us know in the comments.Topics: Credit Cards