For a long time now, consumers have been able to get a free copy of their own credit report one time each year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experion and Equifax.
And that has led some consumers to mistakenly believe that they are also entitled to a free credit score. But that is not true. Necessarily.
But now there are some changes. A new rule that just went into effect in January requires lenders to inform consumers if a poor credit score resulted in less favorable terms for the loan, such as a higher interest rate or a higher down payment.
Another rule will take effect this summer that will require lenders to give more borrowers free copies of their credit scores.
Under the rule that went into effect in January, the lenders will have two options to disclose and inform the consumer. One of these options is to provide the borrower with a copy of the credit score that was used to make the decision. If a credit score is given, further information should also be included that will explain the range of possible credit scores so the consumer can see where they rank on a National level according to their credit score.
The lender will also be required to disclose which one of the three credit bureaus, Experion, TransUnion or Equifax, provided the score.
The other option that the lenders have now does not require the disclosure of the actual score but rather a letter stating that the borrower was given less than the most favorable rate or terms because of their lower credit score. While this letter need not include the actual credit score, it must still disclose the credit bureau that provided the credit report and the credit score.
However, on July 21, 2011 that loophole will be closed and the lenders will be required to disclose the credit score if the low credit score was used to deny the credit or loan or if it was used to give the consumer less favorable terms than someone with a higher credit score. After July 21, the consumer should always receive a free copy of the credit score if it caused them a problem in obtaining the loan or if they obtained the loan but at less favorable terms.
So if you have been denied credit or if you have been given less favorable terms you can get a free copy of your credit score.
But if not, you will still have to pay for it.