Can you get a FICO credit score for free from Bank of America?
The simple answer: Yes.
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. Bank of America is one of them.
The only catch is that you have to be a Bank of America credit card customer.
How to Get Free FICO scores from Bank of America
Bank of America started offering free FICO scores to select cardholders in late 2015 and in March 2016 extended the offer to all eligible cardholders.
Basically, if your consumer credit card account is in good standing, all you have to do is enroll in the program to access your scores.
Existing cardholders can log in here.
You’ll need to apply for a Bank of America credit card if you don’t already have one. They generally require a “Good” or “Excellent” rating for approval.
If your credit history isn’t strong, the BankAmericard Secured is probably the only way you’ll be able to access a FICO score for free from BoA. You can shop BankAmericards here.
Once you have your card, you still have to enroll in the FICO Score program. Go to the Tools & Investing tab once you’re logged into your BoA dashboard and click the “Learn About Credit Scores” link. From there, click “Enroll Now” and accept the terms.
You can now access your score from Bank of America Online or the Mobile Banking app. For new credit accounts, it may take up to a month before anything shows up.
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.
Whether you’re already a Bank of America credit card customer or are considering applying, there are a few things you should know about the BoA Fico Score Program.
Bank of America FICO Score Program Review
Bank of America provides its credit customers with a free FICO Score 8 from TransUnion, one of three major credit bureaus.
Different lenders use different scores based on different reports. Therefore, it is important that you also take a look at your credit reports and scores from the other two credit bureaus—Equifax and Experian—in order to eliminate any inconsistencies.
Still, their free service is a great value-add to a consumer credit account.
Not only does it give your most current standard FICO score, their credit monitoring dashboard shows an analysis of the five major factors that impact your score. They also provide historical data, tracking, and national averages.
Another factor that makes Bank of America unique is it’s Better Money Habits project. Better Money Habits is a joint effort between Bank of America and the nonprofit Kahn Academy that aims to provide knowledge and tools to help people make more informed financial decisions.
The credit monitoring and education that BoA provides certainly has value. However, applying for a consumer credit card just for their FICO Score Program probably isn’t necessarily the best choice.
Where Else to Get Free FICO Scores
Getting your score from TransUnion is important.
Yet they are only one of three major bureaus. You should also try to track your Equifax and Experian credit scores and reports.
To help you diversify, here’s a list of other financial institutions that offer free credit score. Mix and match to get the full picture of your credit worthiness.
Like Bank of America, most of institutions require an eligible consumer credit card account. However, you can get completely free access to Discover Scorecard credit monitoring without being a Discover customer.
Discover Scorecard offers a Experian score. For many, this no-string-attached dashboard is a much better choice than applying for a new consumer credit card. It really just come down to your financial situation.
Just always remember that education is the key to managing your finances. The more informed your decisions, the better they tend to be.