Click to compare
credit cards and save!

Cards with free credit scores

By Fred O. Williams
Published: January 28, 2016

Cards with free credit scores expand
Cards with free credit scores: List continues to expand


There's  less and less reason to be unaware of your credit score -- and more evidence that you should keep tabs on it.

FICO, author of the most widely used score, announced Oct. 20, 2015, that 100 million consumer accounts now have regular, free access to their FICO scores.

Since FICO launched the open-access program in 2013, many banks -- including most major credit card issuers -- have begun sharing credit scores with customers, either on their monthly statement or online. (See list of cards that offer free credit scores.) 

The scores available include measures designed by credit bureaus as well as the FICO score, the one used in most lending decisions.

People who become familiar with the three-digit measure of their creditworthiness seem to handle money better, a study by Federal Reserve economists suggests. Consumers with relatively low scores who gained access to their FICO score at a major card issuer, and who checked it regularly, tended to reduce their reliance on credit, the research found.

"The more consumers know about their own credit health, the better it is for everyone,"  FICO Executive Vice President Jim Wehmann said in a news release.

The trend toward free scores got a push in January 2015, when President Obama announced that Chase and Bank of America would join the list of card issuers providing free scores to cardholders via monthly statements or on their websites. In August, American Express announced cardholders of both charge cards and credit cards could access their FICO scores on the company website.

Financial savvy plus fraud detection
In addition to helping people understand their financial picture, regular access to credit scores can help fight fraud. Changes in your score may alert you when  new accounts are opened in your name, or when new applications for credit are filed. More than 100 million Americans have had their personal data compromised in recent cybersecurity breaches, Obama said.

FICO is the owner of the formula used to generate the most widely used credit score. The three-digit number between 300 and 850 is used by lenders to screen applicants for mortgages, car loans and credit cards. Increasingly, credit scores are also used by landlords, utilities and insurance companies to check out potential customers.

Under FICO's Open Access program announced in November 2013, banks that purchase FICO scores to keep tabs on customers' credit profiles can share the scores with customers -- plus related information about their credit -- at no charge. In April 2014, the credit bureau Experian announced a similar program letting banks share the VantageScore credit score with consumers, plus related information on factors that influence an individual's score.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau got behind the push for free scores in February 2014, urging major credit card issuers to provide free credit scores and related information to their customers. Many people remain confused about credit reports and scores, what they mean, and what steps they can take to improve their credit profile, the CFPB said. Although consumers are entitled by law to one free copy of their credit report annually from each of the three largest credit bureaus, 90 percent of eligible consumers fail to obtain even one free report, the agency said in a research paper.

Here is a rundown of major credit card issuers and the status of their programs to provide free credit scores for customers. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.



Credit score program

Date available

American Express
Cardholders (credit and charge accounts) may access their FICO 8 credit scores on the American Express website. Scores are updated monthly.
August 2015
Bank of America
Rolling out free FICO scores to consumer cardholders online, with 12-month history starting from month they enroll, plus key factors influencing score and comparisons to national averages. Scores based on credit data from TransUnion. Phasing in access from December 2015 to mid-2016.
Barclaycard US
Provides free FICO scores to cardholders via the Web, plus email alerts when the score changes, noting the top two factors that are influencing an individual's score.  The initial program was made available to Barclaycard Ring, Arrival, Rewards, Juniper, Frontier and Carnival cardholders on an opt-in basis in 2013, and expanded to other cards in early 2014.
Capital One
Provides the non-FICO TransUnion Educational Score and credit report summaries as part of a free service called Credit Tracker, for holders of Capital One consumer cards. The service, via the Web and mobile app, includes alerts to changes in your TransUnion credit report and a credit simulator that analyzes how various actions would affect the educational credit score. March 2014
Chase Bank
Providing FICO scores at no charge to its 10 million Slate cardholders. 2015
Free FICO scores provided monthly to holders of Citi-branded cards. Score will be the same one that the bank uses for credit decisions.
January 2015
Commerce Bank
Provides free FICO credit scores to consumer credit card holders on monthly statements. Also lists two key factors that are affecting the cardholder's score. Jointly held cards are not eligible. May 2015
Provides free FICO scores on monthly statements and online to holders of consumer cards. The information includes key factors influencing an individual's score, and up to a year of previous scores. November 2013
First Bankcard
The unit of First National Bank of Omaha provides FICO scores to cardholders. Scores updated monthly, plus related information, are available over the Web. November 2013
Provides free FICO NextGen scores online to members with revolving line of credit (such as a credit card), active checking accounts or installment loans. July 2014
Synchrony Financial
Running a pilot to evaluate ways to expand benefits to cardholders. N.A.
USAA Providing free VantageScores to members and factors affecting their credit.* 2015
US Bank
Provides TransUnion credit score monthly and online simulator to analyze financial choices. Available to credit card holders and other banking customers.   June 2015
Wells Fargo
Periodically provides Experian's Vantage Score for 90 days through promotional programs. N.A.
Source: research, updated Jan. 28, 2016

*Correction: As originally published, the source of USAA free credit scores was misstated. See's corrections policy

Earlier stories: Discover adds to free credit score trend, CFPB urges free credit scores, 4 free, underused credit card perks