After seeing many major credit card companies, such as Barclaycard and Discover, start to give free FICO credit scores, I was readily awaiting the day that Chase would begin to hand out complimentary credit scores. Fortunately, that day is coming very soon. Chase is among latest credit card issuers to announce that free FICO credit scores will be available soon to some Chase credit card customers.
“In the coming months, Chase plans to offer FICO credit scores at no charge to its 10 million Slate cardholders,” said Paul Hartwick, a Chase spokesperson, in an email statement. A specific date was not provided nor was further information given on how Slate cardmembers would be able to access their credit scores.
I’d say that Chase Slate® seems to be the most appropriate Chase credit card to offer free FICO scores because the card is best for people who are looking for a better way to manage their debt. Slate tends to have introductory offers that include $0 balance transfer fees and 15 months of 0% APR on balance transfers, which are great for anyone who is trying to reduce their debt.
“Our Slate customers have told us that information related to managing their finances, such as access to their credit scores, is very important and we want to empower them with that information,” Hartwick added.
As the customer reduces his or her debt, the resulting boost in the FICO score will serve as further motivation to keep making payments — a win-win situation. It’s a win for the customer who gets free credit scores. It’s a win for Chase when a customer is less likely to default.
What about Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom® customers?
It’s great that Chase Slate® card customers are getting free FICO scores. But, what about customers that carry Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom® (arguably two of Chase’s more popular credit cards)?
As a Chase Freedom® card customer myself, I was very curious as to whether these free FICO scores would also be extended to these card customers. However, Hartwick declined to share more details about the possible expansion of the free FICO score program to other Chase credit card customers.
Regardless, I’m confident that Chase will eventually hand out free credit scores to Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom® customers. I just don’t know when that time will come. The limited rollout to Slate customers may just be a pilot test to see how well these customers respond to the free credit scores, after which Chase will consider introducing the program to the rest of its credit card customers.
Free FICO scores become more common
Barclaycard and Discover were among the first major credit card issuers to provide free FICO scores through online banking and monthly statements. American Express is testing free credit scores while Citi already has plans to offer free FICO scores to cardmembers in early 2015.
Chase’s announcement came alongside Bank of America’s announcement that all Bank of America credit card customers will get free FICO scores in 2015. They’re just joining a growing list of card issuers that will empower customers with this crucial piece of personal financial knowledge.
The trend is gaining so much traction that President Obama praised these banks for doing good by their customers.
“I’m pleased that more banks, credit card issuers and lenders are stepping up and equipping Americans with another weapon against identity theft — and that’s access to their credit scores, free of charge,” Obama said in a speech at the Federal Trade Commission. “This means that a majority of American adults will have free access to their credit score, which is like an early warning system telling you that you’ve been hit by fraud so you can deal with it fast.”
The President touched on one very important way that free FICO credit scores can help consumers. When you notice a major drop in your credit score that wasn’t caused by any action on your part, it’s an alert that warrants investigation. Your FICO score doesn’t give details about your credit accounts so you’ll have to turn to your credit reports for this type of information. You can get your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — per year for free through AnnualCreditReport.com (a government-sanctioned website).
Don’t have free access to FICO credit scores? You can use free credit-monitoring sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and Quizzle, all of which provide monthly non-FICO credit scores. You can still use these scores to track the changes in your credit.
With time, I only see more and more financial institutions give out free FICO scores to credit card customers — it’ll become a standard perk with every credit card.
If you’re already a Chase card customer, I’d love to hear what you think about Chase giving out free FICO scores and if it would affect how you manage your finances.