Right after Barclaycard announced it would be providing free FICO scores to holders of some of their cards, Discover announced it would be doing the same.
Initially, only those with the Discover it card got free FICOs, but Discover announced on Feb. 6, 2014 that it would be rolling out free credit scores to all its cardmembers.
And no, I’m not talking about some wannabe score that isn’t used by lenders. Discover is giving you the real deal… your authentic TransUnion FICO.
So why are they doing this? What’s the catch? Well the FAQ on their website says this:
Q: Why are you putting my FICO Credit Score® on my statement?
A: Simply put, we want to be your favorite card. So we’re always looking for new ways to treat you right. And now that means a FICO® Credit Score from TransUnion on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit and avoid surprises. All for free, and with no impact to your credit score.
Sounds a bit boilerplate, but the important part is there really is no catch! You won’t get charged for this. It is NOT some “free” trial scam or any of that nonsense.
Here’s some more helpful information
Q: Where does this score come from
A: It’s your TransUnion FICO score. You have two other FICOs (from Experian and Equifax). Since each score costs about $20 each if you were to buy them, getting your TransUnion score for free saves you some money.
Q: How often will I see my score?
A:Every month. Your score will be updated with your statement.
Q: Will my score change each statement?
A:If the information on your TransUnion credit report changes, your FICO score could change.
Q: Is this going to hurt my credit?
A:Nope! It’s a soft pull — just as if you were to check your credit on your own.
Q: I just got a Discover card, but where’s my score?
A: If your credit history is too new, FICO will not have generated a score for you yet.
Why this matters
There are tons of places you can get free credit scores, but none of them are giving you your real FICO. Instead, they use other formulas, often times ones that are for “educational purposes only” and not even used by any lenders.
In order to get your FICO, normally you would have three places to go for it. You could pay $19.95 to MyFICO (which is a website owned by FICO) or your could buy it through Equifax’s website. You can also get it by signing up for Experian’s paid credit-monitoring service.
The ability to get your free FICO score from TransUnion simply for having a Discover card is quite valuable when you do the math. If MyFICO charges $19.95 each time you check it, that could run you upwards of over $200 per year to see it every month.
It’s a good idea to pull your credit scores whenever you’re in the market for a major loan (like a car loan or mortgage), because, despite the proliferation of other scoring models, most lenders check FICOs. That makes the Discover cards a no-brainer if for no other reason, just to keep track of your real FICO without paying a dime for it. Both use TransUnion. There’s no way to get it for free from Equifax or Experian, at least at this time. But no worries, because all three credit bureau should have similar numbers for you… so having one score is sufficient.