Which Credit Cards Give Free Credit Scores?
Most major credit card issuers have now started offering a credit score to cardholders, at least on some of their cards. Other companies offer a free credit score to anyone, regardless of whether he or she is a customer. We’ve researched which type of credit score is provided, which credit bureau is used as the source of data, and to whom each issuer offers a free score.
|Issuer||Free Credit Score Type||Credit Bureau Used||Who Can Get It|
|American Express||FICO Score 8||Experian||Consumer Cardholders|
|Bank of America||FICO||TransUnion||Consumer Cardholders|
|Capital One||VantageScore 3.0||TransUnion||Anyone|
|Chase||FICO Score 8||Experian||Chase Slate cardholders|
|Citi||FICO Bankcard Score 8||Equifax||Consumer Cardholders|
|Wells Fargo||FICO Bankcard Score 2||Experian||Consumer Cardholders|
We’ll update this table from time to time as we find out more about each company’s free score offerings.
Other Places to Get Free Credit Scores
There are a number of free services online where you can get a credit score, in addition to credit cards.
This wiki page on the personal finance subreddit has a good list of some of the places where you can get free credit scores or estimates online.
Understanding Credit Scores
A credit score is a number calculated using a mathematical model based on information on a credit report. It’s like a summary of a credit report. Credit scores help a lenders evaluate the risk of someone who is applying for credit.
One of the most important things to know about credit scores is that you don’t just have one credit score.
The Credit Bureau Matters
A credit score is calculated based on information on a credit report. There are three major credit bureaus, which might have different information about you. Any credit score you see is calculated with information from one of the three bureaus. So, the score that’s calculated could vary depending on the bureau (credit report) used.
Different “Brands” and Types of Scores
You may have heard of FICO. That’s one company that provides credit scores. However, there are many different types of FICO scores used for different purposes.
For example, some scores are designed for lenders to evaluate how risky you are for a car loan. Other scores are designed for banks to evaluate how risky you are as a credit card applicant. These two models weigh factors on credit reports differently, so the scores are different.
If you see “your FICO score” somewhere, it could be one of many different types of scores that FICO provides. If you see a FICO score on a credit card statement, that could be very different from the score your lender sees when you’re applying for an auto loan.
Beyond FICO, there are other brands of credit scores, like VantageScore. Each of these brands can also have different types of scores for different purposes.
Multiple Versions of Each Type of Score
In addition to multiple brands and types of credit scores, credit score companies update their models from time to time to improve their ability to evaluate risk.
FICO Score 9 is the newest version of one type of FICO score as an improvement over FICO Score 8. Just because a company updates one of their models does not mean lenders use it.
Whenever you see a FICO score somewhere, it’s likely you’re seeing a score that was not calculated with the newest version. Some lenders may be using credit scoring models that are several versions old, which is yet another reason credit scores can vary even if they’re based on the same credit report and the same brand and type of score.
Learn more about the factors are considered by major credit scoring models on our page about credit scores.