Are Free Credit Scores from Credit Card Issuers Valid?
Barclaycard and First Bankcard were the first credit card issuers to offer their cardholders free credit scores. These issuers enable their customers to check their FICO credit score at any time through their online accounts.
This may seem too good to be true because most websites that offer credit scores want payment for their services–usually in the form of monthly credit monitoring. Can you trust the FICO scores from these issuers?
The scores that you see on your credit card statement are valid and accurate, but they may not be the same score a bank looks at when approving you for a loan. Some financial institutions use a Vantage Score, while others look to a specific bureau: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
You may have a significant point difference in your credit score from one bureau to the next, depending on how they assess your situation. Thus, you cannot expect that the score you receive for free from your credit card company will be identical to the one a lender uses.
With this in mind, you can certainly use your FICO score as a reference point to track your overall credit health. If you see a considerable drop in your score from one month to the next, do some investigating to determine why that might have occurred. It is similar to using the same scale to weigh yourself every time when you are on a diet. It may not match your doctor’s scale, but it is a point of reference.
Enjoy the benefits of free FICO scores from your credit card issuers. More companies are likely to offer a similar service soon in order to remain competitive.