Consumer experience with access to free credit scores sought; free access list to be updated

Consumer experience in access to free credit scores – and the performance of organizations, including companies and non-profits, in offering access to the scores – is the subject of a request for information announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The bureau is also updating its public list of companies that offer customers free access to a credit score, and seeking comments.

In a Federal Register notice to be published next week, the consumer bureau said it wants input about consumer experiences, knowledge of industry practices that best support educating and empowering consumers, and educational content that is providing the most value to consumers about access to free credit scores. The bureau said it is looking for responses from consumers and their advocacy groups, but also from credit card companies and other lenders, credit and financial counseling providers, and the general public.

The CFPB listed 15 specific questions for commenters to consider, which include:

  • How are companies, and nonprofit credit and financial counseling providers, offering existing customers and the general public free access to credit scores?
  • What sources are consumers using to access free credit scores?
  • How have consumers benefitted from having increased free regular access to one of their credit scores? Are there ways in which consumers have been hurt from having this access? What are examples of the ways in which consumers have benefitted or been hurt from having increased free regular access to one of their credit scores?
  • What have been the benefits and costs to companies for providing consumers with increased free regular access to one of their credit scores (including examples)?
  • How is access to free credit scores and/or frequency and duration of use of this service related to observed changes in consumers’ credit standing or credit behavior?

Responses to the bureau’s request for information will be due over a 90-day period, beginning next week.

Additionally, the bureau said it is updating its list of free credit score access providers (first published in March 2017); organizations may submit responses (or updates, if they have provided information for the first publication) over a 60-day period (also beginning next week). If a company was included in the March 2017 list, and wants to be included in the updated list, the company must submit a new entry.

“The Bureau will leverage this updated list to bring consumer attention to the topic of consumers’ credit standing, of which their credit score is a valuable indicator,” the agency stated. “The Bureau will follow up the publication of this updated list with content to educate consumers about the availability of credit scores and credit reports and how this information can be used effectively.”

Request for Information Regarding Consumers’ Experience with Free Access to Credit Scores

Update to the Public List of Companies that Offer Customers Free Access to a Credit Score