Know Your FICO Score

Did you know you can now access your actual FICO credit score—for free—through your mortgage lender or credit card issuer? Thanks in part to a major decision by FICO—the company that created the credit scoring system used to determine FICO credit scores—there is now no need to pay for getting your credit score.

Previously, the only way to see your FICO score was if you were denied a loan or were approved for a loan with higher interest rates and/or less favorable lending terms than others.

Now, FICO Score Open Access allows you to request your credit score for free if you have a credit card with Barclaycard U.S. or First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO/First Bankcard)—two of the 10 largest credit card issuers in the U.S. Another option for accessing your score is through a mortgage lender who uses the FICO scoring system. Discover Card plans to print customer’s FICO scores on their monthly statements. Other lenders and banks are expected to make credit scores available as well; look for announcements.

The free scores are updated every month and are accompanied by an explanation of the top-two factors driving your actual credit score. For example, if the top-two factors affecting your score are total amount of debt and late payments, you can make a concerted effort to pay down debt and pay bills on time to improve your credit score.