You may have noticed that more and more credit card companies are eagerly offering you a look at your credit scores, for free. These offers appear in statements, online pop-up ads, and even on your mobile devices.
Should you take the bait?
Not so fast. In Chapter Three of “The Credit Cleanup Book,” I mention 2014’s new FICO Score Open Access Program, which allows credit card companies to provide free FICO scores to their customers. Keep in mind that these FICO scores aren’t the same scores used by an insurance company or a lender to pre-qualify applicants for coverage or a loan, respectively.
And, with free mobile and online tools like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, you can receive the same approximate information without signing up for another subscription-based service that may include a future participation fee and more unnecessary credit offers. Once you agree to getting a credit score, you open yourself up to even more credit offers based on your credit score, and if you’re trying to improve your credit, you really shouldn’t be applying for new credit anyway. Stick to the existing tools at hand; they’re just as good.