More Than 50M Consumers Have Free Access to Credit Scores, But Some Don’t Know What To Do With Them

Last year the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began an initiative urging credit card issues to provide consumers with free credit scores on their monthly bills. Since then, a number of financial institutions have begun providing the information, leading more than 50 million consumers to have free and regular access to their scores.

The CFPB reported today that while more than a dozen major credit card issuers now provide free access to credit scores, a new study indicates that many consumers still have questions and confusion over the number and its importance.

According to the CFPB [PDF], consumers reported being confused and frustrated about how to check credit reports and scores, what information these include, and how to improve them.

Additionally, consumers said that they often lack information to take action to improve their credit histories.

“Consumers reported that they often do not feel empowered to take action to improve their credit histories and that they rarely apply credit information in their daily lives, such as using their credit reports and scores to negotiate better credit terms,” writes the CFPB.

The report suggests that credit reporting companies could offer more assistance to consumers, making it easier for to access and interpret their reports.

Officials with the CFPB have long maintained that regularly available credit scores may prompt consumers to review their credit standing and pull their free annual report.

“Consumers’ credit information is the foundation of their financial lives,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.

The CFPB says that research shows that when consumers become familiar with their credit reports, their credit scores often improve.

Credit scores are used by bankers, lenders, and others to determine a consumers’ creditworthiness and the rates they will pay for services. In the past, consumers have had to pay for credit scores or sign up for trial offers that may have hidden costs.

CFPB Reports That More Than 50 Million Credit Card Consumers Have Access to Free Credit Scores [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]

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