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Feds push for free credit scores for consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun to urge credit card companies to provide credit scores for customers for free. This would be a major change from the way that most people access their credit information, through paid services or on free sites with strings attached. At this point there is no requirement for credit card companies to provide the information, but the industry is taking steps to voluntarily do so, with some taking action even before the recommendation.

As many people are aware, bankruptcy can take a major toll on a person’s credit score and after going through the bankruptcy process it may take a long time to rebuild an get a better rating. Being aware of one’s credit score and being able to access it from a reliable, secure source is very important. For borrowers who are seeking to repair their credit and start over after financial difficulties this can be an incredibly helpful tool.

One other big issue is errors on credit reports, which plague many borrowers who have had their identity mixed up with another person with a similar name. A plummeting credit score can also be associated with an identity theft. These issues can be difficult to detect if a person only sees their credit score once every few years or when they are applying for a major loan. Federal regulators hope that exposing borrowers to their score on a more regular basis will help them detect patterns and spot potential irregularities that could speak to a mistake or an identity theft. 

Source: New York Times, “A Call to Give Consumers Their Credit Scores Free,” Tara Siegel Bernard, Feb. 27, 2014. 

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