Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Some Lenders Must Provide You a Free Credit Score

While you can get a free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com, your credit score isn’t included in the deal. But, you may be entitled to a free credit score after certain credit and loan applications.

Credit Score Disclosure Requirement


Lenders are required to send credit score disclosure notice to all applicants who are denied credit or who are given unfavorable terms because of their credit score. That’s if your credit score was a factor in the decision.

The credit score disclosure notice will include the credit score that was used and the name of the agency who provided that score. The notice will also include the date your credit score was accessed and the credit score range of the particular model that was used to calculate your score. For example, the FICO score range is 300 to 850. You’ll also find out the key factors that influenced your credit score, like late payments or high balances.

Instances You May Not Receive a Free Score


Some lenders use an industry-specific score that doesn't technically qualify as a credit score. This includes mortgage scores used by mortgage lenders and insurance risk scores used by insurance companies. The credit score disclosure law doesn’t apply to these types of scores. Additionally, banks may use a proprietary scoring system that uses credit information along with other types of financial information. Banks are not required to disclose these credit scores either.

If you’re turned down for credit because you do not have a credit score, then you won’t receive a credit score disclosure notice because there is no credit score to disclose.

Monitoring Your Credit Score


Unfortunately, free credit score disclosure notices are not an effective way to monitor your credit score. If you have good credit and your applications are always approved with the best terms, you may not ever receive one of these notices. But, even without a great credit score, you should never apply for credit just so you can see your credit score for free. Remember that too many applications for credit will affect your credit score. And opening new accounts lowers your average credit age, another move that can affect your credit score.

You can monitor your credit score for free through CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com, and Quizzle.com. While these aren’t FICO scores, they do give you insight into where your credit stands.

If you’re getting ready to apply for a major loan, it’s worth it to pay for your FICO score to give you a more accurate view of what the lender will see. However, keep in mind that lender scores can still differ from the FICO score that you check through myFICO.com.

Lenders are still required to send an adverse action notice, which entitles you to a free credit report when you’ve been denied because of information in you credit report.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Federal Trade Commission
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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

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