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J.P. Morgan Chase Offers Consumers Free Credit Scores

Credit Journey provides a VantageScore to customers as well as to those who don’t bank with the company

By Robin Sidel
The Wall Street Journal

The mystery about credit scores is getting easier to solve.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s credit-card unit said Wednesday that it is launching a new website that will provide consumers with their credit score and allow them to see how certain financial actions will affect it.

The website, which is open to customers and non-customers of the bank, is the latest move by credit-card issuers to give consumers a better understanding of how credit scores work. Many consumers have long been bewildered by the nature of credit scores that can affect the ability to borrow and be hurt by a wide range of factors, including if a credit-card account is closed or if a shopper applies for too many cards.

More card companies, including Discover Financial Services and Capital One Financial Corp., now provide credit scores. In some cases, the scores are available only to customers with certain cards.

“Knowing your credit score is the first step on your financial journey,” said Pam Codispoti, president of Chase’s branded-card business.

The free Chase service, called Credit Journey, provides a VantageScore, a credit rating that was launched a decade ago by credit-reporting firms Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It competes with Fair Issac, known as FICO, which is the score used by most lenders in deciding whether to extend credit.

Like FICO, the VantageScore provides a range of 300 to 850, with higher credit scores representing a more creditworthy borrower. The score is refreshed weekly and calculated based on a number of factors, including payment history, age and type of credit as well as credit use. The two scores are generally similar, though can diverge in some circumstances.

The Chase service has a score simulator that shows how certain actions could affect the credit score. It also gives users a summary of their total credit balance, credit-utilization rate and information about late payments.

Customers of Chase’s Slate credit card already have access to their monthly FICO score. Slate is an introductory credit card that is best known for its balance-transfer offers meant to help consumers consolidate their debt.

Write to Robin Sidel at robin.sidel@wsj.com

Read the original article here.

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