Can you get a FICO credit score for free from American Express?
The simple answer: Yes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you need 3 credit scores and reports from all bureaus? Check out FreeScore360. You get instant access to your scores and reports online.
Thanks to the evolution of FICO’s Open Access program, over 150 million consumer credit and loan accounts in the US now provide FICO scores for free. This comes on the heels of a push for more credit and lending transparency over the last few years.
Several of the largest financial institutions in America have join in the effort. American Express is one of them.
The only catch is that you have to sign up for a credit card with them.
How to Get Free FICO scores from American Express
All you need is an Amex consumer credit or charge card in good standing.
American Express was one of the early adopters of the the FICO’s Open Access initiative. They began offering credit score benefits to some of their cardholders on a pilot basis in late 2014, and extended that offer to all Amex cardholders in early 2015.
If you have an existing account you can login here.
If you don’t yet have an American Express card, you’ll need to apply for one for access to your free scores. Because they offer both charge and credit cards, those with “Fair” scores and above have a chance at approval.
If you’d like to apply for an American Express card, you can do so here.
Once you have an account just look for the “My Free FICO Score” link to appear on the right hand side. New accounts may have to wait up to 30 days before their score becomes available.
Why Is My FICO Score Important?
90% of lenders across America use FICO Scores to determine credit worthiness.
This is a big reason why the FICO Open Access program (and the financial institutions that have adopted it) has received so much praise. Access to FICO scores allows consumers to gain a better understanding of how lenders view them.
Though there are other scoring models, the FICO model is considered the most reliable. More importantly, it is the most widely used. That’s why Bank of America, American Express, Discover, JP Morgan Chase, and others have all joined in.
If you’re thinking of getting an American Express charge or credit card or already have one, there are some things you should know about Amex’s free FICO score program.
American Express Free FICO Program Review
Amex cardholders receive a FICO Score 8 based on data from Experian, one of three major credit bureaus.
Different lenders use different scores based on different reports. Knowing your Experian FICO score is vital. But you also need to check your reports from Equifax and TransUnion in order to identify potential inconsistencies.
American Express updates and tracks your score on a monthly basis. In addition, they reveal insights regarding the five major variables affecting your credit score and how you can improve your score over time.
This experience is about on par with what most of the other financial institutions are offering.
Where Else to Get Free FICO Scores
A FICO 8 Score from Experian is nice.
But they are only one of the major bureaus. In order to gain access to your scores from TransUnion and Equifax, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
Luckily, there are plenty of financial institutions that offer free credit scores. This makes it pretty easy to track all three scores over time.
Most of these institutions require an eligible consumer credit card account, just like American Express. However, Discover offers their Scorecard credit monitoring dashboard to anyone who is willing to sign up. There is no cost and enrollment only takes a few minutes.
Like Amex, Discover offers a Experian score. For many, this no string attached option would be a better choice than applying for a charge or credit card just to have access to monthly credit scores. It all depends on your situation.
Just keep in mind that the key to personal finance education. The more informed your decisions, the better they tend to be.