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American Express cardholders now have free access to a key metric to help them know where they stand with their credit: their FICO score.
The credit card issuer says it is giving all its personal and consumer charge card holders free access to their FICO scores. The announcement follows similar moves by issuers including Chase, Citi and Bank of America® in late 2014 and early 2015. It's a sign that the industry is becoming more invested in consumer credit education.
Free credit education for all
"Consumers love the transparency and the fact that the score helps them understand their financial health," says Elizabeth Crosta, vice president of public affairs for American Express. "They feel more empowered when making financial decisions."
This is certainly a step up from American Express's previous offering, which included free access to cardholders' Experian Plus score, an educational score that isn't used by lenders. "The FICO score we provide is the FICO Score 8 ... based on data from Experian," Crosta says. "This is the actual credit score used to manage card members’ accounts."
When logged into their accounts, cardholders will be able to compare their FICO score from the current month with the previous month's score, see what range they're in (excellent, good, poor, etc.), review two factors that are affecting their score and learn about actions they can take to improve those factors. Cardholders can also learn about what goes into a FICO score and how to get access to their credit reports.
What you can do
If you're already an American Express cardholder, log in to your online account to find out where your credit stands. As of September 2015, the feature is listed under the "Useful Links" menu. If you don't carry an American Express card, check out the Nerds' favorite American Express cards or see which other cards offer free FICO scores. With more and more issuers offering this benefit, it's a great opportunity for consumers to use these tools to evaluate their creditworthiness and find ways to develop better credit habits.