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credit & debt

Free FICO Credit Scores for Everyone

Thanks to a new program, you can find out your score at no cost.

Until recently, to get your FICO credit score—a measure of credit health widely used by lenders—you usually had to either purchase the score or be a member of an institution that provides free scores to customers. (If you are denied credit, the lender must show you any score that it considered.)

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Now, credit card issuer Discover is offering all comers (not just customers) a free FICO score under its Credit Scorecard program. After you enter identifying information, including your Social Security number, at creditscorecard.com, you’ll see a version of the FICO score from credit bureau Experian, plus details from your Experian credit report, such as the number and average age of your accounts, a tally of missed payments, recent inquiries from lenders and the percentage of available credit that you’re using. The score and report information refresh every 30 days. Discover cardholders also get a FICO score from Trans­Union with their monthly statement.

If you have a consumer credit card from American Express, Bank of America, Barclaycard or Citibank, you can see a FICO score free on your monthly statement or by logging in to your online or mobile account. Wells Fargo customers who have a credit card, student loan, auto loan or personal loan also get a complimentary FICO score; customers with a mortgage or home equity loan or line of credit will soon see their scores, too.

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If you’re planning to buy a home, you may still want to purchase the FICO scores most commonly used for mortgage decisions, says Gerri Detweiler, head of market education at Nav.com, which provides access to business credit scores. The specialized scores are included in FICO’s Score 3B Report ($60 at myFICO.com).

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