This Valentine’s Day, Tell Congress You’d Really Love Access To A Free, Reliable Credit Score

Knowing your accurate FICO score might be sweeter than chocolates.

Knowing your accurate FICO score might be sweeter than chocolates.

While the three major credit bureaus each allow you to access your credit report once a year at no charge through annualcreditreport.com, getting your actual credit score will likely cost you some money.

Sure, there are those sites that promise you a “free” score, but they generally require you to sign up for at least a short trial of some sort of subscription service.

And even then, that credit score you get from any of the bureaus may be quite different from the ones that lenders use to help decide your creditworthiness, as the ones you can purchase from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are dubbed “educational” scores and may not fully reflect the scores seen by lenders.

That’s why our colleagues at Consumers Union’s DefendYourDollars.org have created a letter-writing template that allows you to let your members of the House and Senate know how you feel on the topic.

The letter, which can be customized, reads:

Dear Member,

In this economy, it is more important than ever for me to take charge of my financial future. That’s why I urge you to support legislation to make sure my credit score is included free-of-charge in my annual credit report. I deserve to see the same scores lenders will use to decide whether I get credit, and for how much.

Lenders, banks, and other companies can look at my credit score to make big decisions about me. A higher score can determine whether I’m approved for a loan, and whether I’ll pay a fair interest rate.

Right now I can get a free copy of my credit report, thanks to a law passed in 2003. But if I want my credit score, I may wind up paying fees, handing over my credit card for sketchy “trial offers,” and not even get the scores that lenders use.

A credit score is a critical tool for me to know when I’m making decisions about my finances. By making a reliable score free-of-charge with my credit report, I can make the right choices to improve my score, and build a better financial future for myself and my family.

With a new Congressional session just getting started, this is the time to support new legislation to include free credit scores in my credit report, and to make sure that this is the same score that lenders see and use to make decisions about me.

You may also want to send a note to the folks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which recently gained oversight authority over the nation’s largest credit agencies.