Discover is giving all its cardholders free peeks at their FICO credit scores, expanding on a pilot program it launched in November for just Discover "it" cardholders.
The news highlights a new push by banks and FICO to help consumers understand their creditworthiness better. FICO credit scores predict the likelihood that a consumer will default over the next two years.
Discover said Thursday that the FICO credit scores will be available on cardholders' monthly statements and will be based on TransUnion credit reports. Additionally, the card issuer will include two key factors that affected the cardholder's credit score.
Discover joins Barclaycard and First National Bank of Omaha in offering free credit scores to all of its credit cardholders. The programs are made available through FICO's open access program designed to allow lenders to provide scores to consumers. The three issuers are the only U.S. issuers taking advantage of it so far, says FICO spokesman Anthony Sprauve.
The goal of the program is let consumers see the same scores their lenders are using to manage their accounts, Sprauve says.
"Lenders bought 10 billion FICO Scores last year and we are willing to make every single one of them available to consumers for free," he says.
Credit card issuers periodically pull cardholders' credit scores to determine if their current card terms should be adjusted to match the consumer's changing credit risk. Such changes include an increase or decrease in interest rate or a reduction or expansion of a credit limit.
Lenders also use credit scores to help approve or deny credit to a consumer and set terms on new loans.
Do you want access to your credit score for free? Would you actually take the time to check it?
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