Last updated on September 1st, 2023
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. What’s the best way to monitor your credit score without breaking the bank? Here are free credit score monitoring services offered from leading banks and card issuers you should consider using.
At a Glance
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 if it is FICO, VantageScore, or another credit bureau, contains a huge amount of information , including public records, personal information, suspicious activity, and more.
Here is the information found on your credit report:
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Social Security Number (SSN)
Credit Account Information
Lenders report the following information to credit bureaus and reporting agencies:
- Date of account opening
- Credit limits
- Loan amount
- Payment history
- Account balances
- Credit inquiries
Can Free Credit Score Monitoring Protect You From Fraud?
Just because your credit score and credit monitoring are free does not mean they do not provide value and protection. Chase Freedom Journey, JP Morgan 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 FICO or VantageScore credit report. Additionally, these services can work in conjunction with other services, such as Norton LifeLock.
How Do Credit Monitoring Services Work?
Free credit monitoring is a service allow you to check your basic credit score without any costs or impact to your credit score. 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 available to 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 Amex guide is free to use and does not require an American Express charge or credit card to join.
The MyCredit Guide service is like other services 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 MyCredit Guide also provides personalized Amex credit card offers.
Bank of America
Bank of America provides the free FICO Score Program for eligible BoA 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®.
The Capital One credit service, CreditWise, bears many similarities to Amex’s My Credit 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, like Credit Journey, allows users to see the impact of specific changes to their spending or credit repayment habits.
Credit Journey is the free credit score service by JPMorgan Chase. The program allows both Chase and non-Chase cardholders to check their VantageScore 3.0 credit score, as well as 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.
Citibank does not provide a custom service like American Express or Chase, but does provide free FICO Score access for its banking and credit card customers. Citi’s credit score is FICO 8 – a lightly older version than the current FICO Score model – FICO Score 9/10. Despite being an older FICO Score, 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.
U.S. Bank offers something called CreditView Dashboard. The bank provides free access to VantageScore from TransUnion through this dashboard on its credit cards, debit cards, and mobile banking.
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.