When applying for a loan, mortgage or credit card, we’re always advised to learn what’s on our credit report to avoid any unexpected surprises that can detain the process or result in a denial. Unfortunately, receiving our credit report and learning our credit scores can be not only complicated but can also cost us money. A topic of conversation for a long time has been if consumers should continue to have to pay for their credit scores. See what one expert has to say on the subject. 

Credit Scores for Free?

Generally, if an individual is interested in getting a copy of their credit report, they can get one free copy per year from Although a few credit card issuers may offer free credit reports to customers, you generally have to pay for this service. If Richard Cordray, the nation’s top financial consumer protection regulator AND the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has any say in the matter, this would change in the future. In February 2014, Cordray sent letters to bank CEOs explaining the importance of creditors having free access to their credit reports and requested that they consider offering them for free along with educational material. 

How Free Access to Credit Reports Can Be Beneficial to All

Mr. Cordray, in his letter to the banks, also indicated that having free access to their credit reports would be beneficial not only to the consumers but also to the banks and other creditors. As unfortunate as it may be, many consumers aren’t even aware that they have poor credit until it’s too late and they’re denied credit, an apartment or even a job. In some instances, the poor credit is not even the consumers fault but may be an instance of identity theft, which is becoming a huge problem in America.

Errors on credit reports have been responsible for many low credit scores. Other instances may include a paid debt that is still listing as unpaid and delinquent or credit information that may actually belong to an individual with the same name. Many of these discrepancies are not noticed until the consumer is denied credit. If consumers had free access to their credit reports, they may be more apt to get regular reports and monitor their credit and become credit-conscious. More credit-conscious consumers would also bode well with creditors because it could result in fewer late payments and delinquencies. This could be a real boost to the credit industry. 

Free Credit Reports to All – What are the Chances?

The fact that Cordray’s letter to the banks went public could raise awareness to both creditors and consumers throughout the nation. However, another credit expert felt that creditors probably wouldn’t be in favor of providing free credit reports because it would cost them more money and also increase the demand for more and better customer service. 

Another group that did not look favorably on the idea of providing customers with free credit reports was the American Bankers Association, who felt that it was not a practice that should be enforced on every creditor. The fact that credit reports are regulated by nondisclosure agreements was also brought up as a possible concern. There were concerns that credit reports can’t just be freely sent to everyone by a large group of creditors. 

Lastly, was the fact that there are three different credit reporting agency and they all provide different scores. Which score is the most accurate and which report would they provide? Some experts questioned what good was a free credit score if it wasn’t the most accurate? Until the three agencies all start using the same factors when issuing the numbers, there’s not going to be one consistent credit report. So, until more creditors and credit experts are in agreement, free credit reports may be only a hope for the future.