CapitalOne provides free credit scores for credit card holders through their CreditWise monitoring product. When you sign up for a credit card with CapitalOne, you get access to CreditWise as a free add-on service.
CreditWise uses TransUnion data to provide CapitalOne credit card holders with a credit score calculated using the VantageScore 3.0 credit score calculation, which has a credit scale ranging from 300-850. The credit score calculated by VantageScore 3.0 is similar to a FICO score, which is the most popular mechanism for assessing credit.
To access CreditWise information, CapitalOne credit card holders can login to their CapitalOne online account, where they will see their CreditWise score listed on the dashboard of their credit card account. Clicking on the score allows you to see the details of your CreditWise score, including factors that influence the score and how those have changed recently.
You probably know CapitalOne most from their commercials where they always ask, “What’s in your wallet?”
Well, it just so happens that I have a CapitalOne Sparks Business card in my wallet. I use it to purchase most of what we buy for our family’s vinyl decor business. After using a Chase credit card prior to that, I shopped for a card that had a better reward offer, and I liked that the Sparks Business card offered 2% cash back, twice what I was getting on my Chase card.
I’ve never been one to recommend getting a credit card for the purpose of collecting rewards points. I think that’s a bad idea, and simply doesn’t make sense. There are lots of personal finance and debt management experts who are adamantly opposed to using credit cards for any reason. The practice of going after credit card points and earning them with the intent of spending them on travel and other leisure items is especially criticized by Dave Ramsey, who argues that, “Credit card points are nothing but bad news—especially for people who don’t follow a budget and are tempted to overspend.”
If you are one of those millions of people who are not disciplined enough to spend your money with purpose, if you are kind of a sucker for “free” things that end up costing you much more than what you anticipated, getting a credit card is always a bad idea, no matter what the reason.
However, if you are among that group who use a budget, who spend according to their budget and who ensure that their spending habits are in alignment with their value system and financial goals, having a credit card can be a benefit to you.
Having a Sparks Business card doesn’t induce me at all to spend more money simply to earn more points, or to do so recklessly. Instead, I just keep the card on file with my suppliers, who charge it when we place orders for shipping boxes, vinyl material, and other things we use to fulfill customer orders. In fact, spending more using the card is an indication that my business is growing. So, you could say that I am inclined to spend more each month, but ultimately that extra spending is based on my business growth efforts. It’s a good thing. In a typical month, rather than getting $200 back, we get twice that amount. An extra $200+ per month in rewards is worth having and using a Sparks Business credit card instead of one that returns have the rewards percentage (1%) that is standard with the majority of personal and business credit cards.
CapitalOne’s CreditWise Service
After I set up my CapitalOne account, including registering for their online credit card management portal, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a section on my dashboard that showed my VantageScore number, and that allowed me to see how my financial activities were affecting that score.
CreditWise Mobile Apps
One of the benefits of using CapitalOne’s CreditWise credit monitoring service is that there are mobile apps available for use with both iOS and Android devices. If you’re the type who likes to be able to monitor your credit score and related activity directly from an app instead of logging in through a browser, these apps come in handy.
You can download the app that works for your device from either Apple’s App Store (for iOS powered devices) or from the Google Play store (for Android powered devices).
CreditWise Available Without CapitalOne Credit Card Account
Even though it’s great that CreditWise is a free service added on top of having a CapitalOne credit card, you can also access the service for free outside of even being required to be a CapitalOne cardholder. You can simply go to the CreditWise portal and sign up for the service without having to pay for it. You’ll be required to provide information that helps CapitalOne identify you, including your name, social security number, and some other information required to verify your identity, similar (not quite as extensive) to what you provide when purchasing a full credit report.
Using CreditWise Doesn’t Negatively Affect Your Credit
People often worry about checking their credit too often, having heard that doing so will damage your credit and negatively affect your score. A service like CreditWise (similar to the alternatives I’ll describe below) does not have that affect. CreditWise data is accessed using what’s called a soft credit pull or soft pull, meaning that the information is retrieved in a way that’s not connected with actually applying for more credit. When you’re actually submitting an application for a home loan, a car loan, a new credit card, or other types of credit, a full credit check is done using a hard credit pull or hard pull. These interactions between lenders and the credit bureaus signify that you’re actively seeking additional credit, and having too many of them is looked at negatively.
Soft pulls don’t show up on credit reports. Hard pulls typically do, and they pull down your overall score.
CreditWise Monitors Your Credit Based on Your Social Security Number
Besides simply providing a credit score and some advice on how to improve it, CreditWise actually monitors your social security number to keep you alerted in a situation where it shows up on the dark web or wherever else identify fraud could occur. If you have a CreditWise account, the service assertively checks the web and other venues where credit information transpires to see whether there is any activity associated with your social security number. You can set up alerts to be notified when CreditWise finds anything that could be related to your identity.
Alternatives to CapitalOne’s CreditWise Service
I have noticed that many of the credit card issuers are doing something similar. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve seen as I’ve been shopping for credit cards and setting up accounts with ones that work best for me and my personal and business needs.
Discover offers your FICO score for free with their Discover Credit Scorecard.
Citi provides a similar FICO score summary and details of what factors feed into the score when you have a Citi credit card. Citi’s Visa card is also the official credit card of Costco, which makes that card appealing to my family. We use this card to pay for most of our personal and family expenses because of its rewards benefits and because it also serves as the Costco membership card.
Using the various credit reporting and credit monitoring services available through credit card accounts can give you a better idea of what’s happening with your credit, including showing you what might be negatively affecting your overall score and providing details on how to improve your score.
CapitalOne’s CreditWise has been a perk for me as a business credit card user in addition to the extra rewards I receive when I make business purchases.