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Cards with free credit scores

By Fred O. Williams
Published: May 23, 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.

Only 15 years ago, credit scores were a secret available only to lenders. Then they started becoming available to consumers for a price. Since 2013, they have become free for millions of credit card holders.

The scores available include ones designed by credit bureaus as well as the FICO score, the one used in the largest number of lending decisions. As of April 2016, more than 150 million consumer accounts have free access to FICO scores on a recurring basis, according to the credit score company.

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.

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

Moving to a second generation of free score access, by replacing its Credit Tracker tool with CreditWise, which provides scores based on TransUnion credit data and the VantageScore 3.0 formula. Credit profiles are updated once a week. Cardholders can access their scores via the website or mobile app.  Noncardholders can register to use a CreditWise app that is not linked to an account.

Beginning March 2016
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. Non-cardholders may register with Discover's Credit Scorecard online service to access their FICO scores, based on credit data from Experian.
May 2016
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
Rolling out free FICO scores, with factors affecting individuals' scores, to credit card users via mobile app for smartphones and tablets. Later in 2016 will add access for mortgage holders, student loan borrowers and other consumer loan clients, and make scores available via desktop and laptop computers.   Beginning March 2016
Source: CreditCards.com research, latest update April 21, 2016

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

Earlier stories: CFPB urges free credit scores, 4 free, underused credit card perks