Free Credit Scores for Discover Cardholders

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A Discover credit card now gets you free access to your latest FICO credit score. It’s a new service Discover Financial Services is offering to all of its cardholders.

Barclaycard US and First Bankcard began providing FICO scores to their customers in November, according to a press release from FICO. Discover also offered the perk to some customers in November, before expanding the offering to all consumer cardholders.

According to its website, Discover partnered with FICO and TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, to provide the FICO score, which will be updated each month.

Discover is utilizing the FICO Score Open Access program, which is available to all financial service providers that use FICO’s scoring services. The credit scores are used by lenders to determine credit risk. Federal law requires that they be made available for free only under limited circumstances. They’re available for purchase online, usually for $19.95.

How important is this score? The FICO website says, “According to CEB TowerGroup, the FICO score makes up 90 percent of the credit scores purchased by lenders.”

Other credit card companies may soon follow Discover’s lead. Bloomberg reports that FICO is now in negotiations with a number of U.S. banks to offer clients free credit scores on monthly statements.

FICO spokesman Anthony Sprauve recently told Forbes that Discover, Barclaycard and First Bankcard have already supplied FICO scores to 35 million Americans. He added, “Within a reasonable amount of time, we expect all 200 million consumers in the U.S. who have FICO scores will be able to get that score for free with one of the banks they have a relationship with.”

Is your credit card company providing free FICO credit scores? If not, encourage them to follow Discover’s lead. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has been a champion of access to free credit scores. He explains why in this video.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Kate Anderson

    This is probably a stupid question, but I was always under the impression, that the more times your credit was checked that it could actually negatively affect your score. By them giving you a monthly credit check, wouldn’t that lower the score? Or have I been wrong in this assumption?

    • MoneyManic

      Kate, if you’re applying for new credit, an inquiry or multiple inquires can lower your score. But, companies that you have accounts with check your credit regularly anyway, for purposes like offering you a credit limit increase, changing your interest rate (for better or worse), and also to make sure you pay your other creditors on time. When they check your credit they have access to your score and they are just being nice by sharing the score with you. The company checking your credit doesn’t lower your score on its own because it is not an inquiry for new credit. That’s not to say your score won’t change if they see something they don’t like and lower your credit limit, for instance, and this could have a negative impact on your score.

      Years ago I subscribed to a credit monitoring service and they showed me all inquiries for my credit, separated into soft inquires (companies I already had accounts with) and hard inquiries for companies that I requested new credit for. Under the soft inquiries, I saw Capital One’s name, and they made an inquiry at least once every quarter. I had a credit card with them.

      I have a Discover card now and I’m glad that I’ll get to see my score regularly, and for free!