Chase is giving its popular Slate credit card a makeover.
Effective March 22, new cardholders were given free access to their FICO Score and an explanation of what's driving that score. Chase also redesigned the card, and it will now come with an Europay, MasterCard and Visa, or EMV, chip. And, starting in May, Chase will eliminate Slate's penalty annual percentage rate -- which is a rate that applies to all or part of your balance when an account goes into default.
Why should you care?
A good credit report -- and the score associated with it -- helps you secure financing and receive affordable rates on home, auto and other loans. They're also used by cellphone providers and insurance companies to determine rates, and employers use them to vet new applicants.
Slate's new credit score feature allows cardholders to learn their score each month and track how it changes over time. Its Credit Dashboard (pictured below) shows a person's score over a 12-month period of time. Cardholders will also be able to explore key details from their credit bureau report so they can work to improve their creditworthiness.
According to research conducted by Chase in conjunction with the launch, nearly four-in-10 Americans do not know their current credit score.
The rest of the story
Chase isn't the only issuer jumping on the free credit score bandwagon. Back in February 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urged major issuers to make credit scores and related content available for free to customers.
Capital One and Discover offer credit scores to cardholders. Wells Fargo has also offered free credit scores to its customers annually.
New Slate credit cardholders will be able to track their scores on Chase.com. Existing Slate customers will be phased in to the service over time. However, if you're an existing cardholder, and you like the new credit-scoring feature, you can call to request access to the service as well as the redesigned card.
More enhancements may be on the horizon.
"There are a whole host of things we are thinking about beyond the Chase Slate credit score," says Steve Goodman, director of marketing for Chase Slate.
Prior to Slate's re-launch, the card was best known for its generous balance transfer offer -- a 0 percent introductory annual percentage rate, or APR, for the first 15 months and no fee for transferring a balance within the first 60 days of opening an account.
Would you choose one credit card over another to get access to a credit score education? Let us know in the comments below.
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