American Express, the biggest U.S. credit card company by purchase volume, has joined other card issuers in showing its customers their FICO scores for free.
AmEx started providing the option to view your FICO score this month. AmEx cardholders will notice the option if they sign-in to the account online. The lender joins a growing list of large credit-card issuers, including Discover, Chase and Citi, that have been showing cardholders their scores for up to two years. Discover was the first to provide FICO scores on customers’ credit card statements.
The moves by the card issuers are tied to a program that Fair Isaac Corp., the creator of FICO scores, launched in late 2013. Before then, it was nearly impossible for consumers to check their scores — which are used in most consumer lending decisions — for free. The program has also helped FICO achieve broader name recognition, but it offers consumers a chance to keep track of their scores monthly. Any major shift in scores can signal identity theft or credit bureau errors affecting a customer’s credit worthiness rating.
There are currently 45 lenders in this program, according to FICO.
While there are many types of credit scores, FICO scores are used by the majority of lenders to decide whether to approve loan applicants and at what interest rates.
Some 65 million consumers had free access to their FICO scores as of June, according to FICO. That’s up from 32 million late last year.
American Express claims about 55 million card accounts, but that includes both consumer and business cards.
Here’s the message AmEx cardholders get online:
“Welcome to your new FICO® Score Summary, available to American Express Card Members online for free. The FICO Score we provide is calculated based on your Experian credit report, and it falls within a Range between 300 and 850. Lenders use the score to assess your credit worthiness.”
“Every time you visit your Online Account, you now can:
– Access your FICO® Score for free
– Compare your FICO® Score from the current and prior month
– Review key factors affecting your personal score
– View your score as often as you like – without affecting your credit report.”