Many Americans have long known little or nothing about their credit score’s impact on their lives. And Wells Fargo wants to help change that.
Earlier in March, the company began introducing free, ongoing access to FICO® Credit Scores along with in-depth, personalized Wells Fargo credit tips for eligible customers. The goals: Help demystify the number and give customers confidence moving forward.
The program is different from other programs out there in two ways, says Shelley Freeman, head of Consumer Credit Solutions for Wells Fargo.
“First, we will offer this to more customers than other financial institutions. We’ve just rolled it out to millions of our credit card customers and by the end of the year, 30 million eligible consumer credit customers will have access to their free FICO® score,” she says. “Second, for all of these customers, we’re giving them the personalized information they need to better understand the major factors affecting their score and the steps they can take to address their financial health.”
With the newly introduced functionality, customers with a Wells Fargo credit card can view their FICO® Credit Score on their smartphones and tablets.* In the coming months, the free program will be offered through the Wells Fargo mobile app to customers who have student loans, direct auto loans, personal loans and lines of credit, mortgages, and home equity lines of credit. Later this year, they will also be able to access it via desktop or laptop. A link will automatically appear on a customer’s account summary page when the service becomes available to them and will also remind them when a new score is available.
All credit customers
Although some of the largest U.S. financial institutions have made limited free credit-score promotions available to certain customers, Wells Fargo is committed to providing FICO® scores and supporting information to its entire eligible consumer credit customer base, Shelley says.
Eligibility is defined as an account holder of a Wells Fargo consumer credit product with a FICO® score on record. (FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corp., the organization behind the historically dominant measure for consumer creditworthiness.)
Susan Keating, president and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling — the largest credit counseling organizations in the U.S. — says providing personalized credit score tips, tools, and other assistance puts Wells Fargo at the forefront of the industry.
“After the financial crisis, we know many consumers didn’t understand the loans they had and didn’t know how to rebuild their financial lives,” she says. “Now, we have so many who still need this kind of help, even though we are years after the Great Recession. The fact that Wells Fargo is taking such a strong leadership position in providing this service to so many customers is commendable.”
In past promotional offers, Wells Fargo has provided free credit scores to more than a million customers and team members — many of them through a program that began in 2012.
The company drew from that experience, FICO® company data, and other research in creating a program that is easy to access, navigate, understand, and translate into practical action, says Jason Reiter, a Consumer Credit Solutions marketing manager and program lead for the FICO® Credit Score program rollout.
The customer and team member feedback about earlier programs was positive, encouraging, and instructive, says Nancy Cech, a marketing program manager who worked on Jason’s team.
“There’s a lot of emotion packed up in a person’s credit score,” she says. “They can wear it as a badge or be incredibly embarrassed by it. A lot of people get very frustrated with how to manage their credit and improve it. We want to demystify it for people and empower them with information.”
*Mobile carrier rates may apply. FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.