WASHINGTON Feb 27 The top U.S. consumer
watchdog said on Thursday he has called and written the heads of
big credit card companies to press them to offer free credit
scores to customers.
Richard Cordray, director of the U.S. Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau (CFPB), said consumers who monitor their
credit will be less likely to default. But borrowers have told
the bureau they do not always know how to obtain their score or
Some card companies such as Discover have already
said they would provide credit scores on customers' monthly
"I recently sent letters and followed up with phone calls to
the CEOs of the nation's top credit card companies strongly
encouraging them to consider making credit scores and
educational content freely available to their customers on a
regular basis," Cordray said in a statement.
Richard Hunt, head of the Consumer Bankers Association, a
trade group for retail banks, said banks support efforts to
better educate consumers but that providing credit scores might
not be the best way to do it.
"There are numerous factors considered in weighing a
consumer's credit portfolio - not just a credit score," Hunt
said in a statement on Thursday.
The consumer bureau, which was created by the 2010
Dodd-Frank law, has long had concerns about consumers' access to
accurate credit information. The CFPB began supervising credit
reporting agencies such as Equifax and Experian
The major nationwide credit-reporting companies are already
required to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit
report every year if they request it.
But borrowers often complain about errors on their credit
reports, the CFPB said. When they file disputes about the errors
with credit reporting agencies, the mistakes are not always
fixed, the bureau said.
In some cases, those complaints are passed along to
companies that collect and submit borrowers' data to reporting
agencies. The bureau found that those data providers do not
always notify the reporting agencies when they find errors but
instead delete the incorrect information.
That can lead credit reporting agencies to issue incorrect
scores, the bureau said. It warned on Thursday that data
providers must fully investigate customer disputes.