Barclaycard is one of the first large credit card issuers to give its customers access to a real FICO score. While I’m a fan of free online estimators like CreditKarma and Credit Sesame, they are certainly limited and don’t provide much in the way of “real” information. I look at them more as relative measures of my own creditworthiness. Am I doing better than three months ago? Okay, maybe I can apply for a new card, but only because I know from other sources I was already in a good place three months ago. There is not actually much difference between great credit and good credit.
The ability to freely access a true FICO score means you can better monitor your creditworthiness, your chances at successfully applying for new credit, and perhaps even notice mistakes on your record if it takes a sudden dip. However, the score is not live and only updates when Barclaycard gets new information, which could be up to 60 days.
Barclaycard is providing a few extra features beyond just showing you your score:
- E-mail alerts when the score changes
- Top factors impacting your score
- Historical trends, beginning after three months
It’s important to note that not all Barclaycard-issued cards are eligible to receive this perk, though I hope the rest are added eventually. Those that participate now are the Barclaycard Arrival, Frontier Airlines, Carnival, Barclaycard Ring, Barclaycard Rewards, and Juniper cards. Personally, I would like to see more of the travel-associated cards included in that list, like the Priceline Rewards, Miles & More, and US Airways cards.
Of the participating cards, I only recommend the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, and in fact it’s one of the top cards I recommend to travelers who aren’t loyal to a single airline. This FICO perk alone isn’t a reason to get it.
Every purchase earns two miles per dollar, and the annual fee is waived the first year. You also get 10% of your miles back when you redeem them for a travel purchase, with no restrictions on how you redeem your rewards since all you need to do is call up Barclaycard and ask for a statement credit after you buy your ticket. All-in-all it’s nice to see a good card getting even better.