Citibank will join the short list of credit card issuers that offers easy access to FICO scores, beginning in January. Joining Discover, which has been offering free access to FICO scores for over a year now, Citibank will be helping their customers stay on top of their credit more easily.
Big Banks Offering Big Perks
Citibank is the third largest credit card issuer, when it comes to the amount of credit extended to customers. Bank of America and Chase are the top two right now, and are likely to soon follow in the footsteps of Discover and Citibank to help their customers have an increased awareness of their credit score.
With banks pushing creditors harder than ever to be more transparent, in an effort to slow the effects of major credit card debt, as well as slow the problem of identity theft by keeping borrowers more on top of things, Citi will now offer customers the ability to view their credit score online when they log in to their account.
Credit scores will be provided to Citibank cardholders who use Citi branded cards, but not to store credit cards that are offered through Citibank, such as Sears, Best Buy and Macy’s.
Free For Customers, Knowledge is Power!
The service is free, and information will be obtained through one of the major credit bureaus, Equifax. The decision to offer credit scores is one that will allow Citibank to more directly compete with other banks, as more banks will be likely to offer this service in the near future.
While it is great for cardholders to have access to their credit score on a regular basis, this is not the only solution for preventing credit problems. Those who use credit cards must learn to do so responsibly, and avoid building up debt that is impossible to pay off. Understanding what factors go into a credit score, and having some awareness of how it is calculated can help consumers take control of their credit and keep things in control.
Citibank is offering access to the credit score, but not the credit report. Consumers should also be periodically checking their credit report to ensure that it is accurate and that there are no fraudulent entries.
When offering credit scores, Citibank will be getting information directly from FICO, which is usually the most accurate credit score information and the number that is primarily used when customers apply for credit. Credit scores can vary among the different credit bureaus, but should generally be within 20-40 points of one another. Small changes from month to month are also common. Customers should act quickly if they notice that their credit score changes drastically within a short period of time, with no known reason.
With Citibank and Discover now offering credit scores to their customers for free, the possibility of customers being misled by scams promising their credit score and stealing their identity is lessened. Chase and Bank of America are likely to be the next to offer this feature for customers.