When consumers get their credit report for free, some are surprised it doesn’t contain their credit score. The three digit score is a staple in the consumer financial industry, yet it doesn’t come with our free credit reports. It’s mystifying, but the excuse has always been that as long as your report is clean your score will be good. Many consumer advocates are trying to change that, and introduced in Congress the Free Access to Credit Scores Act to make the score available for free with your credit report.
A solid credit score will earn you cheaper rates on mortgages, bank loans, credit cards, and possibly even insurance premiums. Yet, companies want consumers to pay $10-15 for their score. Your other option is to enroll in a “free” trial that ends up costing you money.
To get a so-called free credit score, you’re often enrolled in a trial for credit monitoring services that can be costly. Enrolling in these programs may not even give you a meaningful score. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found about one in five consumers may not even get the score they would if they obtained it from a lender. The consumer watchdog advises against paying for credit monitoring.
Under this proposed law, the free score would be a reliable score actually used by lenders rather than an “informational” score. You would have access to all scores from the previous year that are stored in your file, and information accessed about your creditworthiness.
Currently, you are entitled to a score if it results in adverse action like denial of a loan.
While this is debated in Congress, now is a great time to remind you about your free credit report. You can access it through Annual Credit Report.
Hopefully we are one step closer to seeing our score as well as our report.