No More Credit Score Secrets

Lenders can no longer deny you credit or offer you credit at less than favorable rates without telling you why.

Starting on July 21, 2011, they’re required to provide you with a letter explaining the reason for their decision, and to include the credit score they used.

This law was enacted in cooperation between the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to create more transparency in the lending market. And indeed, it will prevent disreputable credit issuers from falsely putting consumers into high-interest loans when their scores don’t warrant such treatment.

Still, it’s better to be prepared and to know your credit scores before you go shopping for a car, a student loan, a small business loan, or a credit card. Extra inquiries on your credit report serve to lower scores, so find out how you stand ahead of time.

You can access your own credit scores in several ways – and checking your own credit doesn’t count as an “inquiry” to lower your scores.

If you want to learn your FICO score, which is the one used by most lenders, you can go to and order your full credit report from either Equifax or TransUnion. This comes at a cost of about $20, and includes a report telling you the positive and negative factors that are affecting your credit score.

To get an approximation of your credit scores, you can use a free mobile application called myFICO that gives you a score based on your answers to questions. This one is not absolutely accurate, because you don’t give your Social Security number. That means anything negative that you don’t know about or don’t reveal won’t be considered.

For a score that’s very close to the FICO score but at no cost, make your request at a site such as Here you can get a full credit report with scores from all 3 bureaus. You’ll be signing up for monthly credit monitoring at a fee, but you can cancel before the first billing if you don’t want to pay for monitoring.

Lastly, if you belong to a credit union, you may be entitled to free access to your credit scores on a regular basis. Some banks also offer this service to preferred checking customers.

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.