• Discounts and special offers
  • Subscriber-only articles and interviews
  • Breaking news and trending topics

Already a subscriber?

By signing up, you accept Moneywise's Terms of Use, Subscription Agreement, and Privacy Policy.

Not interested ?

What does this move mean?

Poor credit score report with pen and keyboard
Casper1774 Studio / Shutterstock

Credit scores and reports have long been used as a means of assessing an individual’s level of risk as a borrower.

Your lender reports your previous payment history, how much you carry on all your credit accounts, what mix of accounts you have and how long you’ve had them to the three credit bureaus and you’re issued a number between 300 and 850.

The higher your credit score, the less of a risk you pose to lenders. Higher scores can translate into a better chance of approval and better interest rates on those loans.

But whether you’re new to the country or never had an opportunity to build up credit, there are more than 50 million Americans who are credit invisible, based on data from Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind FICO scores.

Insiders told the Wall Street Journal that 10 banks have agreed to share information for this initiative.

Through programs like this, Americans can build their credit scores to qualify for a loan to buy a car, buy a home or to get other types of credit.

Discover the power of FreeCash – your ticket to easy money

Dive into a world of rewards at FreeCash where earning cash is as simple as a click. No gimmicks, just real cash for your time. Join the community of earners today and watch your wallet grow effortlessly.

Make Money Now

What other options are there for borrowers with poor credit?

Close of up of woman writing with a pen on a piece of paper, credit cards beside her.
Lin Xiu Xiu / Shutterstock

For a long time, if you had poor or no credit history at all, you may not have been able to find a credit card issuer willing to approve you for a card, or you’d be stuck with cards with punitively high interest rates.

Along with the major banks’ pilot project, some companies are now marketing cards that have looser restrictions and even some that have cash back or rewards programs for people with poor credit.

And there are also credit-building loans designed to help you get a leg up in building a good credit history.

What else you can do to improve as a prospective borrower

Close up of couple talking, looking at documents while sitting at a table.
Tijana Simic / Shutterstock

The major concern for both the banks and cardholders will be ensuring no one takes on debt they can’t manage. That could be both costly and create headaches for both parties.

It’s also entirely possible the banks will try out the initiative and determine it’s too risky or expensive on their end and cancel it.

If your credit score is less than impressive, to avoid relying too much on the existence of programs like this, you may want to explore some other options to rebuild your score.

If your credit is being weighed down by a number of balances on high-interest credit cards, another solid option here would be a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate to make clearing your debt more manageable.

Finally, set aside some time to review your credit reports. There’s always a chance your creditors have misreported late or missed payments and putting the time in to dispute those errors can pay off big.

Find a financial adviser in minutes

Are you confident in your retirement savings? Get advice on your investment portfolio from a certified professional through WiserAdvisor. It only takes 5 minutes to connect with an adviser who puts you first.

Get Started

Other ways to improve your financial standing

Close up of person holding cash in one hand, using a calculator with the other.
Syda Productions / Shutterstock

The pilot program doesn’t launch until this fall at the earliest and there’s no guarantee that your bank will participate in it.

So if you’re strapped for cash now and need more options to free up some funds in your budget, here are a few.

  • Slash your insurance premiums. When was the last time you looked around for a better price on your auto insurance? If it’s been a while, it may be costing you more than $1,000 extra every year. Shop around to ensure you’re paying the best possible rate. And while you’re at it, use the same technique to save hundreds on health insurance, too.

  • Get the best deals online. When you need to stock up on essentials, use a free browser extension that will scour websites for the best prices and coupons so you’ll never overpay again.

  • Turn your pennies into a portfolio. Investing doesn’t require huge sums of money, being fluent in Wall Street jargon or paying massive brokerage fees to see serious returns. Using a popular app, you can invest using "spare change" from everyday purchases without putting more stress on your budget.


Follow These Steps Once Your Portfolio Reaches $100K

If you've amassed a $100k+ portfolio, it's time to meet with a trusted advisor.Zoe Financial's elite network of fiduciary advisors offers personalized strategies to enhance your financial success. Experience exclusive investment opportunities and bespoke wealth management services. Trust Zoe Financial for unparalleled expertise and a commitment to your prosperity.

Sigrid Forberg Associate Editor

Sigrid’s is Moneywise.com's associate editor, and she has also worked as a reporter and staff writer on the Moneywise team.

Explore the latest articles

Best cash-back credit cards

Want to earn cash-back rewards on every purchase? Check out the best cash-back credit cards on the market.

Nicole Dieker Freelance Contributor


The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.