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News: FICO Signs Deal to Provide Free Credit Scores -

Have you ever wondered what your credit score really looks like? Not the credit report you can request for free from the credit reporting agency once a year that lists your accounts, but the actual number the bank gets when you apply for a credit card or a loan.

People who have a Barclays or First Bankcard credit card can now access their credit scores for free directly from their accounts. Cardholders can now receive the same scores that that banks and lenders buy from FICO when determining how financially fit a potential customer is when applying for a loan or a credit card.

How the score was calculated

Customers will also be able to see what factors were used to determine their score, and they can receive information on how to improve it. The system also allows cardholders to monitor changes in their credit score over time. Scores are updated every month.

Five cards in the Barclays US portfolio are currently eligible for free credit scores, including Barclaycard Ring, Barclaycard Arrival, Barclaycard Rewards, Juniper, Frontier and Carnival. Cardholders need to opt into the program to receive the benefit. Barclays plans on increasing the number of cards included early next year.

First Bankcard members with a First National Bank of Omaha card in their wallet will be getting their credit scores first. Individuals with one of their co-branded cards will also be included in the program, and begin receiving their scores in the first quarter of 2014. New customers will be able to see their scores within 90 days.

Educational materials designed to give folks a better understanding of the role their credit score plays in their financial lives are also a part of the overall package.

More to come?

While this initiative is limited to Barclays US and First Bankcard customers, FICO said it is available to all financial services companies that request scores to determine creditworthiness as part of the FICO® Score Open Access program.

"In 2012 approximately 10 billion FICO Scores were bought by lenders for risk management purposes and we are prepared to allow all of them to be shared with bank customers without any additional score fee charged by FICO to lenders," said a FICO representative.