Feds Urge Card Companies to Provide Free Credit Scores

By on

Credit card companies are being pressed by the top U.S. consumer watchdog to provide free credit scores to card customers.

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, maintains that consumers who monitor their credit are less likely to become delinquent and default on bills and more likely to try to improve their credit scores.

Credit history impacts many aspects of our lives – whether or not we qualify for mortgages and credit cards and how much interest we’ll pay, our insurance rates, whether we’ll be able to rent a home and sometimes whether we land a job – but “lenders are currently only required to provide scores to customers if they deny them credit, give them less favorable rates than the customer applied for or hike their rates,” CNN Money says.

It’s not fair that we have to fight, or pay, to see our credit scores, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson discussed in this video.

Cordray sent a letter to the nation’s biggest credit card issuers earlier this month, strongly encouraging them to provide free credit scores to their customers on a regular basis – either on a monthly statement or online, as well as educational information on how credit scores are used, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Cordray said the CFPB has received more than 30,000 complaints about credit reporting. About 75 percent of consumers have reported inaccuracies in their reports. Without the regular review of credit reports and scores, consumers are at risk of not noticing mistakes and even identity theft.

Americans are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com, but the Consumerist says only 1 in 5 take advantage of the free offer.

As we’ve told you, Discover Financial Services, Barclaycard US and First Bankcard already provide free FICO scores to their customers. FICO says it’s working with other lenders to provide the same free service.

This is a long-awaited step in the right direction. Everyone should have easy, free access to their credit score.

What do you think about the CFPB’s request to credit card issuers? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,140 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Linda Rivera

    I think it’s a great idea and should have been instituted a long time ago. Hooray for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for pushing this.

  • Martin Tindall

    Its indeed an interesting idea to provide free credit scores. People will be happy if they can get to know their credit scores. Great news for all fellow Americans.

  • ponce

    As we all know information is power, and the consumer has always been at a disadvantage in any credit negotiation if they haven’t taken advantage of the opportunities to obtain credit scores – and it looks like most have not. Don’t be fooled, though, into thinking this information will be provided without cost. You may not be billed directly but it has to be paid for somehow and the people who now pay for the info will be passing those costs on to consumers in some fashion.

    • Jcatz824

      My Discover Card just started providing my credit score with this month’s statement – NO CHARGE. I knew I had good credit but was glad to see that I have a score of 814.