Citi To Offer Free Credit Scores to Its Credit Card Customers
This past week, Citi announced that it is partnering with Fair Isaac Co. to provide free credit scores to its cardmembers beginning in January 2015. With the move, Citi becomes the largest credit card issuer to date to provide this service to its customers, joining Discover, Barclaycard, FNBO, Sallie Mae and Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
While it’s mandated by federal law that you can request a free credit report once per year (from annualcreditreport.com), and a variety of credit advocacy sites provide estimates of your credit score for free, up until recently, consumers have typically had to pay for access to the actual credit score used by lenders, unless they were denied credit or received less favorable interest rates or lending terms than they sought in a loan application.
Now, the trend appears to be towards making this information more freely accessible to consumers. When the feature goes live in January, consumers with Citi-branded credit cards–all 23.5 million of them–will be able to see their FICO scores when they log into their online account. Unfortunately, consumers with Citi credit cards branded with other companies–such as Sears, Best Buy or Macy’s–will not have this service available to them.
Worth noting is that there are three main credit reporting firms: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Credit scores can vary depending upon the firm used, and different lenders use different firms. For instance, while Discover is providing FICO scores based on TransUnion reports, the scores provided by Citi will be based on the consumer’s credit report from Equifax.