Barclaycard has come up with a free bonafide FICO score for its members. That’s great news! Since many of us carry at least one of their best Barclaycard Arrival or US Air credit cards, we are eligible.
To see what I consider the best Barclays credit card and one of the best travel reward cards in general, navigate here and see number 7 at the very bottom of the list. As a reminder, I do not receive affiliate commissions for any of the credit cards I list on my site.
The only other credit card I know of that provide this kind of benefit is Discover WalMart featured in one of our posts in September. Discover Walmart, however, is no match to either of these cards. First of all, there is no award program with the Walmart card, second of all, the sign up bonus is $20 (no, I didn’t forget another zero), and third of all… do you really need the third reason?
Well, if I do, then Barclaycard FICO score is better anyway. While both Discover and Barclays utilize Transunion FICO score, Discover gives you the access once a month, while Barclay’s FICO is open to the members 24/7.
It’s important to understand that the number from Barclays is not your immediate score. Your score can be up to two-month old (the date of my score is Sep 3rd). However, when your score changes, they will send you an email notification. And that beats Discover with a long pole. It makes it more than just a number; that’s monitoring service, and a credit monitoring service like this can cost hundreds of dollars a year. Myfico, for example, costs $14.99 a month.
If you needed yet another reason to keep at least one Barclays card on an ongoing basis (I suggest Arrival for the low annual fee among other goodies), then you’re out of excuses. Kudos to Barclays for striking a deal with the Scores of FICO to provide this service for its members.
According to Barclays disclaimer, “to view your FICO® Score, your account with us must be open and active (having activity within the past 150 days)”.
Now, why is it important to know your real FICO score in the first place?
Well, we do have two free credit monitoring services: Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, and I still highly recommend both! When or if things go wrong, they will catch it and notify you about the changes. However, what they use is not a real FICO score. It’s what we call FACO score, which is a score calculated by a particular company and which is not a real thing used by your real-life creditors.
One thing you have to keep in mind though, is that the score you’re getting from Barclays is the more innovative 08 model that might be different from other FICO score methodologies developed back in the 90-s. Those are still being used by other major league players, such as Citi and Chase. In my example, the difference between my Barclays and Experian FICO scores is astonishing 55 points (809 vs 754). Ironically, my real Experian FICO score is closer to my Transunion Credit Karma FACO number then the Transunion number from Barclays. It is, however, going to be different to different people.
Hopefully, other credit card issuers will follow suit. I would love to see true FICO scores from Experian and Equifax since these two bureaus get pulled by every other major bank, at least in my neck of the wood, and our prayers might be answered soon. According to CNN Money, “FICO is already in talks with additional lenders, and it expects at least 25 million customers to have access to free scores by the end of the year”. I find it surprising that FICO would undercut their own myfico.com subscription service that they sell for $14.99 a month, but perhaps FICO is a little sick of having to compete with the surge of fake FACO scores that have flooded the market in the recent years. In any case, this is a terrific development for consumers who won’t have to dole out a lot of money for the vital information that had been kept away from them for decades.