Consumers must agree to all of the above just so they can see their credit score. But there is even a problem with that. Consumers don’t have just one credit score, but dozens, Ejaz says. Four of the CR applications reviewed reveal only one score, and “that score is unlikely to be the same score that lenders or banks use to decide whether or not you qualify for a loan or credit card.” , he said.
Experian and myFICO give you access to other scores, perhaps more useful, but they require you to pay for the privilege.
With the exception of Credit Karma, the free apps also charge consumers a fee to access their credit report. This is the file maintained by the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – that lists your credit card, mortgage, and other loan and financial history, and on which your score is based. But you can check your credit reports for free via AnnualCreditReport.com, a website operated by these credit bureaus in accordance with Federal law. Until April 2022, you can do this every week; after that you can do it once a year.
Overall, using a credit app is a compromise that could do more harm than good, says Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the Federal Consumer Program at the US Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group. consumers, who has not been involved in the reviews of the apps and is also a member of the board of directors of CR. âYou give up a huge amount of information and allow these companies to collect a large amount of information so that they can provide it to you for free or, worse yet, sell you a credit score that is not used in the real world âhe says.
But the fact that these companies see a financial opportunity by making credit scores available to consumers is in itself problematic, Ejaz says. âThe only reason credit apps exist is that consumers don’t have the right to access the kind of credit scores that really matter,â he says. âThis is why CR supports the Protecting Your Credit Score Act, 2021, which would establish a secure portal where consumers could access their credit reports and ratings for free and an unlimited number of times. ”
The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, DN.J.
CR surveyed the five companies about their privacy, data collection and data sharing practices. They emphasized that they take consumer privacy very seriously and that consumer trust is paramount to their business.