Consumers with Barclaycard and First Bankcard credit cards now can see the FICO credit scores their card issuers use to manage their accounts for free.
FICO said Monday that customers of Barclays and First National Bank of Omaha, which issues the First Bankcard, also will be able to see the two most important factors hurting their credit score through its open access program.
The scores will be the same ones that the card issuers use periodically to determine whether credit limits or interest rates need to be adjusted to match a customer's changing risk profile. Consumers will see how certain financial behaviors can affect their credit score and ultimately, the cost and availability of their credit.
It's important to note that these scores are probably tailored to credit card issuers and most likely aren't the same FICO credit scores that auto lenders and mortgage lenders use, says John Ulzheimer, consumer credit expert at CreditSesame.com.
"So, there will be some inconsistency in the number, but it will still be directionally accurate," he says, "meaning, if you've got good credit, then you'll have a good FICO score, regardless of what model version is being used."
The open-access program by FICO is available to all U.S. lenders that use FICO credit scores. Barclaycard and First National Bank of Omaha are the first lenders to take advantage of this specific program, according to FICO. However, Ulzheimer said that Providian provided FICO scores under a different program years ago.
Wells Fargo ran two free credit score promotions, one in the spring and another last October. The bank provided customers with their Experian custom VantageScore along with a complimentary copy of their Experian credit report.
"This move by FICO appears to be a response to the disclosure of free VantageScore and other non-FICO credit scores to consumers," Ulzheimer says. "(Maybe) they finally realized that the 'free score' market is worth addressing."
Would you be interested in a free credit score from your bank or credit card? Have you ever paid for a credit score?
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