Almost 50% of Americans have now used a free credit score company to get their credit score in the last 12 months, and 14% have done so in the last 3 years, even though some studies have shown that Americans aren’t exactly up to snuff when it comes to their credit.
A recent survey from Bankrate Money Pulse shows that Americans are finally taking a little bit more interest in their credit because of the fact that they can get their credit score for free. That’s quite a bit different from an American Banker’s Association study in 2013 that found almost 60% of US consumers had no idea what their credit score actually was.
The big difference? The fact that consumers can now get their credit report, and find out their credit standing, for free. Bruce McClary, the vice president of public relations and external affairs with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, states that credit scores have become “far more accessible than they ever have been,”, and one of the main reasons for that is that consumers can now get their credit score at no cost.
In fact, over 40% of Americans recently surveyed said that their latest credit score was on their credit card statement, while another 15% used a credit score simulator online for free. 13% of consumers surveyed said that they had purchased their credit score from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus.
One of the big reasons that it’s now much easier to get a free credit score is because of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and an initiative that they launched in early 2014 call the “free credit score initiative”. This initiative was the key to encouraging most of America’s big financial institutions to provide consumers with their 3 digit credit score at on cost and, since starting, many of the nation’s biggest banks have also begun to provide them for free as well.
It was recently announced by FICO, one of the biggest credit scoring companies in the country, that they would also provide free versions of their credit score, a huge win for financially strapped consumers.
Still, the fact is that many Americans still completely ignore their credit and credit score until it gets out of hand. In fact, over a quarter of Americans have never checked their credit score and 35% have never checked to see their credit report to see if there were any errors or signs of fraud like identity theft.
Point being, now that it’s relatively easy to get your credit score, and get it absolutely free, there’s no reason to not get it and check to make sure that everything is correct, as well as that your score is as high as it can be.
In fact, experts recommend getting it 3 times a year, staggering your requests across the various credit reporting bureaus as you go.