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American Express has announced a new tool to help consumers improve their credit score at a time when bettering your financial health is critical.
Score Goals is a personalized credit score tracker folded underneath American Express MyCredit Guide, which offers a free VantageScore credit score and TransUnion report.
“I think credit scores are top of mind for a lot of people right now because of the personal finance implications of the pandemic,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate. “So many people are dealing with disruptions to their incomes and routines. That uncertainty has people worried about how they’re going to meet their financial obligations.”
With Score Goals, you can build a personalized credit score improvement plan by selecting the credit score you’re striving for. From there, you can track and see your score updated weekly each time you log into your online account.
“We know that many consumers are especially focused on their financial health during this time. As we continue to innovate to provide consumers with new tools and resources that support their financial needs, we launched Score Goals to help consumers manage and accomplish their credit score goals—both big and small,” said Kunal Madhok, vice president and head of product and acquisition for U.S. consumer lending cards at American Express, in a news release.
Amex Score Goals: The specifics
Like MyCredit Guide, Score Goals utilizes the VantageScore 3.0 by TransUnion credit scoring model.
Score Goals offers timeframes of six, 12, 18 and 24 months through which you can work to achieve your new credit score. According to the Amex website, your payment plan can cover up to four categories, including “Payment Activity,” “Percentage of Credit Used,” “Debt and Balances” and “New/Recent Credit”.
Most importantly, you don’t need to be a cardmember to utilize either MyCredit Guide or Score Goals—meaning ownership of an American Express credit card isn’t required.
What Amex MyCredit Guide and Score Goals can do for you
“The Score Goals tool is especially useful for people who are new to credit and people who are rebuilding their credit after a prior misstep,” Rossman says.
With a heightened unemployment rate and stricter stipulations for loans, balance transfers and credit card approvals, improving your credit score is key to ensuring you can apply for financial products when necessary.
For credit cards, in particular, a higher credit score can translate to greater rewards structures and benefits. If you’re ever in need of a balance transfer credit card, for example, a good to excellent credit score can get you access to longer 0 percent introductory APR offers on top of generous rewards offerings and no annual fee, whereas a lower-tier balance transfer card might translate to a shorter introductory balance transfer window, no rewards structure and copious fees.
“Six months ago, a credit score around 670 or better probably would have qualified you for most credit cards,” he says. “Now, you likely need at least 700, maybe even 740 to feel more comfortable. If your credit score is in the 600s or low 700s, it’s especially important to try to bump that up.”
Free credit score tools: How does Amex benefit?
According to Rossman, Amex’s Score Goals tool acts as a customer acquisition boost and a way to strengthen existing customer relationships.
“If they can help a non-customer improve their score, they could potentially cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with that person,” Rossman says. “And helping existing customers improve their credit is also good customer relations and could benefit Amex monetarily through increased loyalty, higher spending and better likelihood of getting paid back.”