CitiBank Offers Cardholders Access To FICO Credit Scores
By now many of us have heard how wise it is to request a free copy of our credit report once a year. It’s good advice. Keeping abreast of the information credit bureaus receive about how promptly and diligently you pay your bills can ensure there are no errors that might harm your credit score. Holders of CitiBank-branded consumer credit cards, however, can do much better than a once-a-year peek at the factors that influence their credit score.
First announced in 2014, Citi officially began making actual FICO Scores available online to holders of many of the bank’s credit cards. In doing so, Citi becomes one of the first major financial institutions in America to make the information that is used by lenders to determine whether or not they will offer a loan to a consumer readily available.
The information Citi provides to its cardholders won’t be stale. The FICO scores will be updated each month based on data from Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus. Citi cardholders will also receive information about the two key factors that influence someone’s score. For instance, if the score is hurt by a late payment or by holding too high of a balance on one or more credit cards, that information will be provided.
The new Citi credit score feature also includes a graphic that will show a range of credit scores and what those numbers mean to potential lenders. For example, those who have a score of 579 or less will know that “lenders view you as a very risky borrower,” while anyone with a score of 800 and higher will understand that “lenders view you as an exceptional borrower.”
Making an up-to-date credit score available to its cardholders and providing context about the meaning of that score has won Citi praise from consumer advocates. “We are always pleased to see companies taking steps to empower consumers with information that helps them manage their credit wisely. Providing Citi credit customers with free access to the same FICO score often used to make lending decisions and insights into factors that impact their score gives consumers valuable tools to build a stronger financial future,” says Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. “Consumer Action hopes it will soon be available to all credit card customers across the U.S.”