Jun 13 2011

Smart Score: Getting Credit Score and Related Education to Consumers


“F-R-E-E, that spells ‘free,’ credit report dot com, baby…”

We’ve all seen the commercials—seemingly benevolent offers of free credit score information, followed by “oh, by the way” disclosures that by receiving these scores you are agreeing to purchase an expensive subscription to a credit monitoring service. Consumers can, alternatively, go straight to the major credit bureaus where they should expect to pay $8 – $12 for access to their credit scores.

As important as credit scores have become to consumers’ financial lives, it can be frustrating how expensive access to this information can be. Worse, understanding the precise calculations that determine these scores is impossible due to proprietary nature of the associated algorithms.

A new innovation brief by Denise Gabel and Matt Davis, called Smart Score: Getting Credit Score and Related Education to Consumers, explores the landscape of credit score accessibility and education, how consumers benefit from understanding their scores, and how credit unions can affordably provide this information to members. The brief also examines Credit Karma, a dot-com dedicated to getting credit scores in the hands of consumers.

Matt Davis
Innovation Director
Filene Research Institute
Report Number 238