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credit & debt

A Payout for Credit Score Customers

A refund could be coming your way if you paid to get your FICO score.

If you purchased a credit score from credit agencies Equifax or TransUnion, you may have a check coming your way. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently took aim at the companies for misrepresenting the scores they sold to customers as the same scores that lenders typically use to judge credit applicants. The CFPB also charged the agencies with falsely advertising that customers could get scores and other credit-related products free or for $1; customers were actually enrolling in subscription programs that charged $16 or more a month after the trial period. Affected customers will be notified by mail with instructions on how to claim their share of the settlement. TransUnion must pay more than $13.9 million to about 700,000 customers, and Equifax is paying out almost $3.8 million to its eligible customers.

Credit scores come in a multitude of models, and you’d be hard-pressed to pin down which version a potential lender might use before you apply for a loan. But you don’t need to know the exact number a creditor will see to get an idea of where your credit stands. At CreditKarma.com, you can get free VantageScore credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion and sign up for free alerts of significant changes to your Trans-Union credit report. At CreditScorecard.com or Freecreditscore.com, you can see a free FICO score based on data from credit agency Experian. Your bank or credit card issuer may provide free credit scores to customers, too.To avoid getting roped into a pricey subscription plan, be wary of submitting your credit card information in exchange for a free or low-priced product. You may be charged a higher recurring fee if you don’t cancel before the trial expires.

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