On November 13, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published two notices in the Federal Register seeking information related to consumers’ access to free credit scores. These notices highlight the Bureau’s continued focus on credit scoring and consumer understanding of credit scores as a priority area for the CFPB.
In the first notice, the CFPB’s Office of Financial Education requests information from consumers regarding their experiences with free access to credit scores. The Bureau also requests information from businesses, nonprofit credit and financial counseling providers, and any other interested members of the public. The stated goal is to identify educational content that is providing the most value to consumers, discover whether additional educational content could be developed to aid consumers’ understanding of credit scores and reports, and gain a broader understanding of industry practices that best support educating and empowering consumers. The deadline for submitting public comments is February 12, 2018.
The second notice announces the CFPB’s plans to update its list of companies that offer existing customers free access to their credit score. This updated list will further the CFPB’s goal of consumer awareness of companies that provide this service to consumers.
To compile its initial list, which was published in March 2017, the Bureau requested information on both credit card issuers and non-credit card companies, but only committed to publishing and only published information on credit card issuers. As with the Bureau’s initial request, both credit card issuers and non-credit card companies are invited to respond to this new request, provided they meet certain specified criteria, including offering (at least some) existing customers the ability to obtain a free credit score, offering the score on a continuous basis (as opposed to a time-limited or promotional basis), and offering periodic updates to the score. In keeping with past practice, the Bureau only commits to including on the list the credit card issuers that respond and meet the above criteria, while retaining discretion as to whether to publish information on non-credit card companies as part of the existing list or on a separate list. The CFPB further announced that it intends to supplement publication of the updated list with more content aimed at educating consumers about the availability of credit scores and credit reports. The deadline for submitting comments on the updated list is January 21, 2018.