Credit card companies may offer free credit scores to millions of customers

The FICO score, which is widely used by lenders to gauge your financial health, should be checked before applying for a car loan or a mortgage.
BY JOSEPH PISANI Published: December 1, 2013
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Barclaycard and First Bankcard customers will have to log on to the credit card's websites to view their credit scores. Barclaycard, the credit card unit of Barclays PLC, says that 80 percent of its 8 million cardholders will have access to their FICO scores by December. Some already do. The rest will get it earlier next year.

The company also provides credit cards for retailers such as Barnes & Noble, and airlines such as US Airways and Frontier.

So far 80,000 First Bankcard customers have access to their FICO scores. It will roll out to all its 2.5 million cardholders over the next few months.

With a number of free credit scores available, it can get confusing for customers. “They're all going to be different,” says John Ulzheimer, a contributor at CreditSesame.com.

But he says consumers shouldn't get worked up about the scores. Ulzheimer recommends focusing on your credit report, which list the companies that have extended you credit, the types and amounts of the loans you have outstanding and your payment history.

Credit reports are available for free, from each of the three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com. They should be checked every year for mistakes or possible identity fraud.

Those reports don't include a credit score. But credit scores are derived from the reports. So making sure that your credit report is solid means you'll likely have a good credit score, says Ulzheimer.


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