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Which Credit Cards Give Free FICO Scores?
Published on November 17, 2014
Just a few years ago, getting access to your FICO credit score meant jumping through a lot of hoops. Times have changed: Many credit card issuers now offer this information for free every month to their customers.
So what’s so special about getting a free FICO score, and which credit cards should you consider if you want to take advantage of this feature? Take a look at the details below to find out.
What’s the big deal about getting a free FICO score?
To the uninitiated, it might not seem like a big deal to track your FICO credit score month over month. But the Nerds are here to tell you that it’s definitely something you should get into the habit of doing if you have a card that provides this benefit.
First, it’s important to note that your FICO score is the one that most lenders in the United States use when they’re deciding whether or not to extend credit to you. In being able to see what your banker sees, you’ll have a better sense of where you stand in their eyes.
Also, if you’re trying to improve your credit after a financial hardship, checking out your FICO score every month is a great way to gauge your progress. After all, it’s gratifying to see that your hard work is paying off. And on the flip side, it’ll be easy to spot credit mistakes when you make them and adjust your habits accordingly.
Finally, keeping an eye on your FICO score is a good way to simultaneously keep an eye out for trouble. Remember, your FICO score is determined by the information on your credit report. If you fall victim to identity theft or a credit reporting error, this will eventually be reflected in your FICO score. Although you’ll still need to check your three credit reports at least once per year, seeing your score every month is a good early warning system if things start going off the rails.
Credit card issuers that give free FICO scores
Before listing the credit card issuers that provide free FICO scores, it’s important to review one thing: You really have three FICO scores, one from each of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). If you get a credit card that give you free access to your score, the information is provided to your issuer from only one of the three bureaus.
Usually, your FICO scores will be pretty similar across all three. But if one of your reports contains information (or a mistake) that the other two don’t, the scores could vary a bit. The upshot to all of this is that if you apply for a big loan, like a mortgage, don’t be surprised if all three scores your lender is looking at aren’t exactly the same as what you’re seeing online.
As of August 2015, the following credit card issuers provide customers with free FICO credit score access:
- American Express — Your Experian FICO score is available anytime you log into your account online.
- Barclaycard US – Your TransUnion FICO score is available anytime you log in to your account online.
- Discover – Your TransUnion FICO score appears on each of your monthly billing statements.
- First National – Your Experian FICO score is available anytime you log in to your account online.
- Citi – Starting in January 2015, your Equifax FICO score will be available anytime you log into your account online.
- Chase Starting in the first few months of 2015, customers with a certain card will get free access to their FICO scores.
- Bank of America® Starting later in 2015, you ll get access to your FICO score with your consumer credit card.
A few specific cards to consider
If you’re excited about the idea of getting free access to your FICO score but aren’t sure which specific card you should apply for, here are a few of our favorites:
Best for balance transfers: Chase Slate ®