Credit scores play a vital role in everyday life. From purchasing a home to getting a new credit card, these key numbers help shape our financial lives. There are multiple services that can help you monitor your credit score’s health – but they often come at a cost. So, what’s the best way to keep an eye on your credit score without breaking the bank? Here are free credit score monitoring services offered from leading banks and card issuers.
At a Glance
- Most major credit card issuers provide complimentary access to your credit score each month.
- Accessing your FICO Score is more beneficial than your VantageScore, as FICO is the scoring model most used by credit card issuers.
- Free credit monitoring services are a great way to stay safe from fraud, missed payments, and more.
Table of Contents
Why Is Monitoring Your Credit Score So Important?
Keeping up to date with your credit score is essential for maintaining a healthy financial profile. Credit monitoring is even more critical for those rebuilding their credit because it helps instill confidence and reinforce the knowledge required to boost a bad credit score.
Other reasons to check credit scores regularly include:
- Protection from fraud
- Ensuring information on credit reports is accurate
- Seeing growth over time
- Understanding what types of credit card offers match a credit profile
What Information is On Your Credit Report?
Credit reports contain a huge amount of information. Your full credit report (regardless of whether it is provided by Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax, contains a huge amount of information, including public records, personal information, suspicious activity, and more.
Here is the information found on your credit report:
|Full name||Current accounts||Liens|
|Past names or aliases||Historic accounts||Bankruptcies|
|Addresses (current & past)||Balances||Civil judgments|
|Phone number||Payment history||Criminal judgments|
|Social Security Number||Inquiries|
Can Free Credit Score Monitoring Protect You From Fraud?
Just because your credit score and credit monitoring can be accessed for free does not mean they do not provide value and protection. Chase Freedom Journey, JPMorgan Chase’s free credit monitoring platform, offers 14 separate credit monitoring alert settings, providing a free-but-mighty tool for staying on top of credit card fraud.
Many free credit score features provide a lesser level of automation and control – but still offer insights into the information on your credit report. Additionally, these services can work in conjunction with other tools, such as Norton LifeLock.
How Do Credit Monitoring Services Work?
Free credit monitoring as a service allows you to check your basic credit score without any costs or impact to it. Some issuers provide access to TransUnion and VantageScore, while many offer FICO 8, FICO 9, or even FICO 10 access. FICO 8, the older version of the FICO Score formula, is the most commonly provided form of free credit score from banks.
Typically, free credit monitoring services are accessible on the bank or lender’s website or mobile app – as well as on the monthly credit card statement that is mailed to you (either via email or snail mail).
Credit monitoring services usually include a variety of information. This credit information is often more than just your credit score, including fraud alerts, factors impacting your score, and more.
Credit Score Services from Major Credit Card Issuers
Multiple credit card issuers and banks provide credit monitoring tools to their consumers. Here are some of the tools available from a number of leading lenders:
American Express offers a free credit monitoring and education service called MyCredit Guide. The guide is free to use and does not require an American Express credit card account to join.
The MyCredit Guide service is like others in that users can get their VantageScore credit score and receive alerts when there are changes to their credit report. The service also allows users to set “Score Goals” and monitor their progress towards those goals.
When a user opts into the Score Goals program, they:
- Choose their credit score goal.
- Receive personalized recommendations to help them reach their set credit goals.
- Track their progress with every login.
American Express also offers an optional credit and identity fraud monitoring tool called CreditSecure®. This service – previously $16.99 per month but now climbing to $19.99 monthly – helps protect you via identity monitoring tools, real-time alerts, and more. If your personal information is ever used without your consent, American Express’ dedicated fraud representatives are there to provide you with the support you need.
Enrolling in CreditSecure provides a monthly FICO® 8 score, monthly credit bureaus from all three bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), dark web monitoring, and more. Here is a rundown of current CreditSecure features from Amex:
|Online Privacy Manager||Scans and monitors your personal information on 30+ people-finder sites and facilitates the removal of personal information|
|Social Media Monitoring||Alerts you if your social media content could contain privacy and reputational risks, along with recommendations for how to reduce your security risks|
|Identity Theft Insurance||Provides coverage for up to $1,000,000 for certain out-of-pocket expenses associated with restoring your stolen identity|
|Financial Account Takeover||Alerts you in the event of financial account fraud and activity on your checking, savings, IRA, and CD accounts|
|Dormant Account Alerts||Alerts you when an account on your Experian® credit report becomes active after a six-month history of zero balance|
Bank of America
Bank of America provides a free FICO Score Program for eligible Bank of America credit cardholders and mobile banking customers. The FICO Score Program provides access to a once-monthly updated FICO score free of charge with eligible Bank of America credit cards, including the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card, and BankAmericard®.
Bank of America’s credit monitoring and educational tools include credit builder resources called Better Money Habits®. Better Money Habits helps you to answer any tough financial questions and get the information you need about your credit score. Here is everything you can expect from Bank of America and its credit monitoring tools:
Free FICO Score: Bank of America provides its credit card customers with free access to their FICO credit score, which is updated regularly.
Credit Education: The bank offers educational resources to help customers understand the factors affecting their FICO score and how to improve it.
Credit Report Access: While Bank of America primarily offers FICO score access, customers can also access their credit report, helping them review their credit history.
The Capital One credit service, CreditWise, bears many similarities to Amex’s MyCredit Guide. Like Amex, Capital One allows anyone to check their credit score, keep up with changes to their credit report, and monitor their credit information for fraud.
CreditWise also provides a simulator, which allows users to see the impact of specific changes to their spending or credit repayment habits.
Here’s everything you can expect from CreditWise from Capital One:
Free Credit Score: CreditWise provides customers’ VantageScore 3.0 credit score, updated weekly.
Credit Report Monitoring: CreditWise monitors customers’ TransUnion credit report for any significant changes. They’ll receive alerts if there are new accounts opened in their name or if there are inquiries on their credit report.
Credit Factors Analysis: It provides insights into the factors influencing one’s credit score, helping to understand how financial behaviors affect one’s credit.
Simulator Tools: CreditWise offers simulators that allow users to see how specific credit actions, such as paying down debt or opening new credit accounts, may impact their credit score.
Dark Web Monitoring: CreditWise scans the dark web for users’ Social Security Number to alert them if it’s found in a compromised location.
Chase’s “My Credit Journey” is a free credit score service by JPMorgan Chase. The program allows both Chase and non-Chase cardholders to check their VantageScore 3.0 credit score and monitor any changes to their report. Users can also increase their credit knowledge through Chase’s credit resources and see what card offers might be available for Chase’s credit profile.
Here’s how it works:
Customers with an eligible Chase account can access it online or through the Chase mobile app. Upon accessing the tool, you’ll see your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, updated weekly and giving you a snapshot of your credit health. You can access many impressive features to promote financial welling from there. These features include:
|Summary snapshot||My Credit Journey provides a summary of your credit health, highlighting key factors that are affecting your credit score. This feature helps you understand what’s contributing to your credit score trends, such as payment history, credit utilization, and more.|
|Score Simulator||Chase’s Score Simulator allows you to experiment with different financial scenarios. For example, you can see how paying off a certain amount of debt or opening a new credit account might impact your credit score.|
|Credit monitoring||Chase’s program won’t provide complete credit monitoring per se, but it does notify you of significant changes in your credit report, such as new accounts or inquiries.|
|Resources||Chase My Credit Journey provides helpful articles and tips to help you improve your credit health and better understand the factors that affect your credit score.|
Based on your credit profile, Chase may provide personalized recommendations and tips on how to improve your credit score.
Citibank does not provide a custom service like American Express or Chase, but it does provide free FICO Score access for its banking and credit card customers. Citi’s credit score service users FICO 8, and despite it being an older FICO Score model, the information is essentially the same, meaning Ciit credit cardholders enjoy the same basic credit monitoring services as customers from other banks.
Credit Scorecard is Discover’s monitoring and credit education tool. Like the others, Discover Credit Scorecard doesn’t require a Discover card to join. It also provides a user’s FICO Score and a wealth of credit score informational resources. Discover Credit Score shows you a range of information for free, including your revolving credit utilization, average age of credit, inquiries, missed payments, and more. The Scorecard is available to all Discover credit cardholders.
It’s worth noting that you may not see your Credit Scorecard, including your FICO® Score if:
- You have mismatched or missing information, like an address change that hasn’t been updated with Discover or TransUnion®.
- Your account status is abandoned, bankrupt, fraud, lost or stolen, closed, revoked or charged off.
- You have a foreign address.
- Your credit history is too new.
- You have opted out.
- You’ve had no account activity for 180 days.
U.S. Bank offers a service called CreditView Dashboard. The bank provides free access to users’ VantageScore from TransUnion through this dashboard on its credit cards, debit cards, and mobile banking.
The CreditView Dashboard is designed for personalization towards your credit goals, with features designed to help you better understand the key aspects of financial and credit well-being, timely information to keep you informed about the information you need to stay financially healthy, and more:
|Personalization||TransUnion and U.S. Bank's CreditView offer the ability to personalize the dashboard to your needs, including the tools and color palette that suits you.|
|Credit education||The service offers a huge assortment of credit education resources to help improve your financial and credit literacy and steer you towards a brighter financial future.|
|Credit alerts||Credit alerts notify you if there are missed payments, credit inquiries, and other critical account information.|
|Credit score||Monthly access provided to view your updated VanatgeScore 3.0 credit score.|
|National comparison||CreditWise provides a unique tool that shows you how your current credit profile compares to the national average. This feature can help boost your confidence as you watch your score climb.|
|Monthly trends||CreditWise provides a quick snapshot of your latest credit score trends, highlighting what you are doing right – and where there is room for improvement.|
|Score simulator||The score simulator tool lets you test how specific actions would impact your credit score.|
Wells Fargo offers a free monthly FICO score to its customers. To be eligible, you must have a deposit account, loan, or credit card with the bank. Credit Close-Up is complimentary to Wells Fargo online customers and is accessible via the mobile app or the Wells Fargo website.
The Wells Fargo Credit Close-up program provides helpful tools to keep you safe. These include:
- FICO Score access: Enrolled members enjoy complimentary access to their FICO® Score 9 from Experian® each month.
- Credit alerts: Personalized credit monitoring alerts if Experian® detects an event that may impact your credit score.
- Credit report access: Credit Close-Up provides access to your Experian® credit report, giving you an in-depth look at your credit.
- Personalized tips: The service provides personalized score insights and credit tips to help you maintain or improve your score.
Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.