Chase recently launched Credit Journey, a free tool to get access to your VantageScore. In our review we look at how it works and its pros and cons.
Chase is offering free credit scores and alerts to virtually anyone. It’s available to all current Chase customers, but you can sign up for the service even if you don’t have an account with the bank. The service–Credit Journey–lets you continuously monitor both your credit score and your overall credit. It can be a valuable tool if you are working to improve your credit score or if you want to monitor your credit for fraud and identity theft.
Chase Credit Journey Free Credit Score and Alerts
Chase Credit Journey Free Credit Score and Alerts provides your VantageScore 3.0 credit score from TransUnion. Your credit score refreshes weekly, but you can check it as often as you want. Checking your score will not impact your credit score.
Credit Journey will also provide you with a Credit Score Chart that will display your credit scores for the past 12 months. This lets you keep track of the trend in your credit score. Of course, you will have to be in the program for at least one year in order for the 12 scores to accumulate.
For security purposes, your Credit Journey VantageScore 3.0 will be visible to you, and no one else.
Chase Journey is not available through the Chase Mobile App. But you can still access it on a mobile device by logging into Chase.com on your mobile browser.
TransUnion VantageScore 3.0
VantageScore 3.0 is primarily an educational score. Your FICO score is the credit score lenders generally use. Most lenders don’t use Vantage scores, as they have been created specifically to act as a free version to keep consumers aware of their credit profiles. Chase doesn’t use Vantage scores for lending either. In fact, if you have a Chase account with a free credit score, you’ll see a different score in this account than through Credit Journey.
Each of the three main credit bureaus–Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion–issues its own VantageScore 3.0. The version provided by Credit Journey is issued by TransUnion.
In addition to the credit score, you will also be provided with the score factors that impact your score. Factors that influence your VantageScore 3.0 include:
- Payment history
- Age and type of credit
- Percent of credit used
- Total balances to debt
- Recent credit behavior and inquiries
- Available credit
These factors are disclosed so that you have an opportunity to make improvements in your credit score. They will show you how each factor impacts your score, either positively or negatively. You can raise your score by improving on the negatives.
Chase Credit Journey Credit Score Simulator
This tool projects how changes in your credit behavior will impact your credit score. It’s an interactive tool that you can use to estimate the impact of those changes on your score. For example, you can measure the impact of paying down a debt, paying off a credit line or loan entirely, or paying off a past due account.
You can even make negative simulations. For example, you can test the impact of a late payment on your credit score.
However, while the Credit Score Simulator will help you to improve your credit, the projected changes in your credit score won’t be exact. The tool estimates the impact of changes but makes no claim of 100% accuracy.
Chase Credit Journey Alerts
Chase Journey automatically enrolls you in alerts that can help you identify fraud.
You will get alerts on the following credit activity:
- New inquiries, in which your credit report has been pulled by a third-party
- New accounts opened in your name
- A change of address on an existing account or application
- New employment–your employer name has changed on an existing account or application
- New public records, reported by the courts
- Improved account status, where your account goes from derogatory to current
- Delinquent account entries
- Fraud alerts in which lenders will contact you before issuing credit in your name
Credit Journey even provides suggestions helping you to get more information any time an alert comes through. In addition, should you become aware of any suspicious activity in your credit profile, or you detect inaccurate information, you can file a dispute with TransUnion.
The information might also prompt you to contact Experian and Equifax to dispute similar information on their credit reports.
Signing up for Chase Credit Journey Free Credit Score and Alerts
If you’re a Chase personal account customer, you can access Credit Journey by logging into Chase.com, using your username and password. Open Credit Journey in the “Your Credit Score” section. Chase Business account holders can log in and access it through their account dashboards.
If you are not already signed up for the service, you can access Credit Journey by completing a one-time enrollment, which you can also do in the “Your Credit” section.
If you are not a Chase customer, you can still take advantage of Credit Journey. You can sign up for the service through the Credit Journey login page.
When setting up access to Credit Journey you have to complete the TransUnion Identity Verification process. This ensures that only you can view your credit. You confirm your identity either by a one-time security PIN Chase sends to your phone number, or by answering a series of personal questions based on information contained in your credit report.
If you successfully receive the security PIN, you can complete the process. If not, Chase will ask you a series of questions. Either way, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
The service is completely free. You don’t even need to place a credit card “on file,” as is often common with other “free” credit score services.
Chase Credit Journey Caveats
Chase Credit Journey is a good service to have, but it does have a few limitations:
- VantageScore 3.0 is not your “official” credit score, like the FICO score used by lenders. It will not necessarily match up exactly when a lender pulls your score.
- Credit Journey does not provide you with a copy of your actual credit report. To get that, you have to go to AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only source that is officially authorized to provide your report from all three credit bureaus. You are entitled to one copy per year, from each of the three credit bureaus.
- Credit Journey is currently unavailable on the Chase Mobile App, though they are working on it.
Pros and Cons
Totally FREE (Even for non Chase cardholders)
Daily alerts for new information to your score
Only provides 1 limited score (TransUnion)
No credit reports available
Is Chase Credit Journey Free Credit Score and Alerts worth having?
Despite the caveats, Credit Journey can be a valuable service to have, particularly if you don’t already use some type of credit monitoring service.
At the most basic level, Credit Journey is free to use, so you have absolutely nothing to lose. You don’t even have to be a Chase customer to enroll. You can use the service as much or as little as you want, and it won’t have any negative effect on your credit score.
Even though the credit score that you receive is not your “official” credit score, it does use a very similar scoring methodology. The score is imprecise for lending purposes. But it will still let you track your overall credit standing regularly.
Even if you are receiving a free credit score from another service provider, you may want to add Credit Journey if that provider is not offering a TransUnion score. Your score with each of the three major credit bureaus will be different. And not all credit information appears on all three reports. For that reason, it’s necessary to monitor all three bureaus.
Credit Journey Alerts are the most compelling reason to take advantage of this service. It will alert you anytime there is a significant change in your TransUnion credit report. That can tip you off to potential fraud, identity theft, or unauthorized charges. And in the credit universe, fast reaction time can make all the difference. But you won’t be able to react quickly–or react at all – if you don’t know what’s going on with your credit.
We all need to stay on top of our credit. And Chase Credit Journey Free Credit Score and Alerts gives us another set of “eyes”.
- Check out the service on the Chase Journey website.