Free Credit Scores Coming To Banks

01.16.09 | FL News Team

Americans are already able to get free credit reports from each of the three major reporting agencies but the all important credit score has been nearly impossible to come by without paying a fee. That is about to change.

Fair Isaac Corp, creator of the FICO credit score used by many lenders to determine whether a would-be borrower is a good or poor risk is inking deals to make those numbers available.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports Fair Isaac signed off on a deal with the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union Thursday making credit scores available to the estimated 200-thousand members of that institution.

Select Washington Mutual credit-card customers have been able to retrieve their FICO scores free for awhile now. Fair ISAAC CEO Michael Campbell says "we're in talks with a lot of our major customers now."  The intent is to make the score available to everyone.

FICO scores are used by virtually all lenders and many landlords to determine whether an applicant is a responsible person. The score has a huge effect on interest and insurance rates, sometimes it means the difference in getting a job or not.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Most lenders consider a score above 700 as good, anything below 600 is considered high risk. Until now businesses offering credit reports have charged, sometimes nearly 50 dollars to provide a FICO number for a customer at all three credit reporting agencies.

Straight credit reports without the FICO score are available to all Americans once a year from the three major credit-reporting bureaus at annualcreditreport.com