Can you get a FICO credit score for free from Citibank?
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 as a result 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. Citibank is one of them.
The only catch is that you have to have a credit card with them.
How To Get Free FICO Scores From Citibank
Free FICO Scores accompany all Citi branded credit cards.
All you need to do is log in. Existing cardholders can log in here.
You’ll need to apply for a Citibank credit card if you don’t already have one. You’ll need at least “Good” credit to qualify for most Citi cards—or more likely, “Excellent”.
If your credit isn’t that strong, the Citi Secured MasterCard is the only way you’ll be able to access your FICO score for free from Citibank. If you’d like to apply for a Citi credit card, you can do so here.
Once you’re logged in, click through to the Card Benefits tab, then select the FICO Score link.
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 Citibank, Bank of America, American Express, Discover, and others have all joined in.
Whether you’re already a Citibank customer or are considering applying for one of their credit cards, there are a few things you should know about the scores Citi provides.
Citi Free FICO Score Program Review
Citibank provides its cardholders with a single credit score based on their Equifax credit report.
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—TransUnion and Experian—in order to eliminate possible inconsistencies.
There are plenty of places you can get credit scores for free. And honestly, Citibank doesn’t compare with many of them favorably.
Of all the places you can get free scores from, Citi provides one of the least least popular experiences.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, Citibank provides you with your FICO Bankcard Score 8. It has a range from 250 to 900 instead of the 300 to 850 range that most people are used to.
Many expect to receive the more common FICO Score 8. Instead, Citi provides the score they actually use to judge your credit worthiness and manage your credit card accounts.
Secondly, Citi’s free FICO score program provides little else. It does not provide historical data or any sort of tracking. They pretty much just give you a score with the last time they updated it and the standard analysis of the five factors that affect credit the most.
It may also a few months for your score to show up inside your Citi account. You can access your score (or your entire credit report) in seconds from other places online.
Now it’s not all bad:
They do have an app for both iOS and Android. And if you already have access to your FICO Score 8 from Equifax, the Bankcard Score 8 can provide you with more information on which to make financial decisions.
However, if you simply want to monitor your FICO credit scores, signing up for a new Citibank credit card is certainly not the most effective way to do so.
Where Else to Get Free FICO Scores
If you’re looking for a more mainstream FICO score, you’re in luck.
There are plenty of financial institutions offering free credit score. This makes it pretty easy to gain access to FICO scores from all three bureaus.
Most of these institutions require an eligible consumer credit card account, like Citi does.
However, Discover offers their Scorecard credit monitoring dashboard with no strings attached. For many, this option is much better than applying for a consumer credit card for access to credit scores.
Still, you should look to gain access to scores from the TransUnion and Equifax in addition to the Experian score you can get from Discover.
Whatever you choose, the key is education. The more informed your decisions, the better they tend to be.