A recent study shows that 1 in 5 Americans ages 20-29, don’t know their credit score. Knowing your credit score is an important, personal, financial matter that can have a huge impact on a person’s life. But to be honest, most people don’t think to look it up until they need a loan. They are also (mistakenly) afraid to look it up because they’re worried that by doing so, it will hurt their score. And then, some just don’t want to pay the costs associated with looking it up. However, today it is increasingly common for many different types of locations and products to offer people a look at their score for free. Is your credit union one of them?To help better understand this popular practice, let’s look at some of the standard places people to go look up their credit score.
Credit Cards: Many credit cards, such as Citibank, American Express and Discover, offer free access to credit scores to their cardholders. The score is updated monthly, and customers just have to login into their account, and they can look it up, penalty-free. Discover even goes so far as to offer it to anyone for free—regardless of if you’re a customer. This online tool is called the Discover Credit Scorecard. Of course, it does require the user to input some personal information to access it.
Banks: Chase, Bank of America, as well as over 160 financial institutions also provide free access to credit scores. A person’s score can generally be found through a customers’ online bank portal, just by logging on and looking it up. Scores are updated regularly here as well, the frequency timing varying per bank.
Auto Loans: Anyone interested in financing a car can also access their score for free. Most auto dealerships will look up a buyer’s credit score. The buyer just has to ask the dealer to share their findings when they look it up. Some auto companies, such as Hyundai, will then offer their customers access to their scores afterwards for a period of time.
Retail Credit Cards: When opening a new retail credit card account, the action can sometimes hurt the user’s credit score if they don’t pay their bills on time. But some retailers, such as Walmart, make it worth it to open an account—because they offer their cardholders monthly access to their credit score for free when you sign up to receive statements electronically.
Credit Unions: To obtain a loan, knowing a member's credit score is one of the many requirements lenders ask for. It’s therefore becoming standard for credit unions to offer access to their score once they become a member.
Consider offering this option to your members as an additional perk. Encourage members to check their score for numerous reasons: They can maintain their score, understand better what hurts and helps their credit, and learn about new offers that become available.
Tri-Town Teachers Federal Credit Union is already providing their members with free access to their credit scores through their secure digital banking services. Download the case study to learn more.