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A call to give consumers their credit scores free

Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, says the scores are essential to consumers.
Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, says the scores are essential to consumers.Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

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In its new role as consumer credit watchdog, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday urged credit card companies to give customers free copies of their credit scores — crucial pieces of financial information used to evaluate qualifications for mortgages, credit cards and even certain types of insurance and rental apartments.

While the agency is not requiring the companies to provide the information, it sent a letter to top executives at the nation’s largest credit card companies and asked them to make the scores available in customers’ monthly statements or online.

A few card issuers recently began providing the scores on their own — well before the agency’s call — and others are said to be in discussions to follow suit.

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