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Compiled by the Fair Isaac Corporation and sold to individuals and companies/banks, the widely-used credit score known as FICO helps lenders and credit card companies determine a consumer’s level of fiscal responsibility and risk. The higher this score, which ranges from 300-850, the better your credit.
Once every 12 months, consumers can receive their FICO report (largely compiled by three separate agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) for free through Annual Credit Report.
However, there are a handful of credit cards and issuers which have started include their cardholders’ personal FICO scores for free along with their monthly statement and/or online at any time. Cardholders are also kept informed about the size of their card balance in relation to their overall credit limit, as well as steps they can take to improve their score. All credit card companies purchase their customers’ FICO scores in order to monitor their credit, so the following companies are simply deciding that it makes sense to share the knowledge.
Barclaycard is now providing its Arrival, Reward and Ring cardholders with their TransUnion-based FICO score for free with each monthly statement. Cards participating in this program include the Barclaycard Arrival, Barclaycard Rewards, US Airways, Lufthansa, Frontier, Wyndham Rewards Visa, and Carnival. To get started, simply log onto your Barclaycard account here and accept the terms.
Discover It Card also provides its cardholders with their TransUnion-based FICO score for free with each monthly statement. This card has no annual fee, no over limit fee and no fees on your first late payment. It also waives foreign transaction fees and includes 5% cash back on rotating categories (e.g., movie theaters or restaurants). To learn more about the benefits of this card, see my recent review.
First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, has begun providing its cardholders with their Experian-based FICO scores, which employs a score range of 250-900. The company began providing FICO scores in monthly statements and online last October, and in January, expanded this practice with eight more of its co-branded partners, including San Francisco’s Union Bank, New York Life Insurance Company and San Jose’s Technology Credit Union. At present, there’s no timeline for expansion of the program, but First Bankcard eventually wants to roll out this program to all 2.5 million of its cardholders.
Walmart Credit Card and Walmart Discover also offer their cardholders a free peek at their FICO scores when they enroll in online statements.
In general, and if you don’t have any of these cards, are a number of other credit score companies, such as VantageScore, but the most widely used is FICO. Using a scale of 300-850 – with roughly 700 being the average – the FICO website determines your score via five main factors: 35% payment history, 30% amounts owed, 15% length of credit history, 10% new credit and 10% types of credit.
A FICO score of 720 or above generally denotes good credit, but credit card companies have been known to issue cards to those with scores in the mid- to high 600s, depending on factors like income and history with the lender. To research how individual credit card companies view your personal credit history, visit sites like creditboards.com, and check out the following posts: