Your credit card company might now offer free access to one of your credit scores

When you have access and knowledge of your credit score, you can be a better financial planner. Now, several companies are offering existing credit card customers free access to one of their credit scores, making it easier to check your credit score.

Why does your credit score matter?

Whether you are applying for a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan, student loans, or another type of loan, your credit score will more than likely come into account. A credit score is a three-digital analysis of your credit history and behavior and is used to determine if and how much credit you will be extended by potential creditors or lenders. It can also be used to determine employment.

The CFPB released a list of which credit card companies offer free credit scores

Most creditors make decisions about extending credit based on a consumer’s FICO score from at least one of the three major national credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. FICO and the credit bureaus offer access to your score for a fee. However, the CFPB has convinced many credit card companies to offer their customers access to one of their FICO scores for free.

Check here to see if your credit card is on the list.

Note that there are some other sites that offer no strings attached, free scores — just expect to see ads and also know that these credit scores are the sites’ own estimates based on your credit reports and not a FICO score as used by most creditors.

Why should you check your credit score regularly?

If you’re applying for credit, a new job, or a loan, it makes sense to have an idea of what a lender is seeing to evaluate your financial history.

Knowing your credit score can help you work to improve it. A credit score has very real financial and employment opportunity implications — if you have uncaught mistakes or you think you’re better rated than you are, this could mean your credit score is preventing you from opportunities.

Credit scores can help find potential mistakes on your credit reports but only in that they serve as a flag. If your score seems low or off, then you should check your report to catch potential mistakes.

Federal law requires each of the three major credit bureaus to provide a free credit report every year to all customers who request one. If you regularly check your score, you will have a ballpark idea of where your score should be so you can easily tell if something is off.

You can check your credit reports, which are separate from your scores, for free at the official website authorized by the government for requesting these reports here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com.

You might have different scores from different bureaus

There are three big credit bureaus — Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. It’s normal to see slightly different scores, and there are different factors that go into how they’re calculated.

Looking at the different credit card companies

The CFPB released a list of several companies that offer existing credit card customers free access to one of their credit scores. These companies might also offer non-customers the service too. Some free services might require you to sign up, and they might try to sell you paid services afterwards. While this is a good step to see more credit card companies offering free credit scores, that is only one factor to consider when choosing the right credit card for you.

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