In the past, consumers had the right to get a free credit report, but not a free credit score. The actual credit score had been kept hidden by the credit bureaus unless you were willing to pay up to $15.00 just to see your score. The credit bureaus made millions of dollars from this hidden score over the year. However, this has now changed (in some cases), because of a new law which took effect January 1, 2011.
The new law requires credit card issuers and other lenders to provide many applicants with the reason why they got the interest rate which was assigned by the creditor. This rule applies to anyone who is assigned an interest rate higher than the best rate offered to other consumers. (So if you have A1 credit, the new law may not help you obtain a free score).
Most creditors will comply with this new law by providing fee access to your FICO scores.
The FICO score is the main indicator of your creditworthiness, and is principally utilized by lender's to set your interest rate or deny you credit. The new law is expected to result in millions of people receiving their FICO scores from creditors. However it is important to note that you will NOT receive a free credit score if you are turned down entirely for a new credit card or other loan. Only if you are granted credit and provided with a higher interest rate, will you be entitled to the free score.
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. It is critical to know your score and increase your score, because the higher your score, the lower your interest rate and the higher your ability to get offered credit at all.
The new law, which is related to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003, is in effect immediately. So be sure to exercise your right to a free credit score from now on if you apply for credit and are charged an interest rate which is higher than anyone with A1 credit. If any lender fails to provide you with your free report, you should immediately file a complaint with your State's attorney general office or contact an experienced consumer protection attorney. You can find one at www.naca.net