It's nice to see that you are actually interested in your finances, especially your credit score. Yes credit scores are equivalent to someone who does, will, or has had some debt in the past. Many people do not realize why credit is so important. Yes it's optimal to stay debt free and pay for everything in cash, but if you are financially responsible and can handle a credit card then credit can be your best friend. Also some companies even run a credit check of the employees they are about to hire. I know my company did, to see how I responsible of an individual I am. This happens more often than one may think. What they do is a soft inquiry rather than a hard inquiry. This is the same thing that Discover is doing. They are utilizing a soft inquiry so it doesnt affect your score and add to the number of credit inquiries reported. I would like to suggest that you also take advantage of the free annual credit report and see that everything matches to what you can see. Also be careful because Discover may only be utilizing one credit bureau and not all three. It is possible that you could have three different scores. What I mean by that is that it is possible that not all your financial institutions report to all 3 bureaus but only 2 or so on. There could be many reasons, also including discrepencaies on report from another bureau. It couldn't hurt to check these things too. Do yourself a favor and get a report from all 3 and compare them. This is something a lot of people do not know and wonder why when they go to try and open another card, finance or refinance on a secured debt that they may be denied. Why because one place may use Experian while another uses Transunion. They have a good score with Experian, but when the other company runs your score you may discover some discrepancies or other things on your report that are affecting your score and possibly lowering it.
If USAA decided to impliment something similar as Discovery Card whereby Members would get free FICO Scores they would in essence be NOT FREE.
1. All of the three major Credit Bureau's, that is Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion ALL CHARGE some amount to obtain the FICO Score for a particular individual.
2. Discover Card pays for the FICO Score (as a business expense) and passes this "cost" on to their consumers, hence it is NOT TRULY FREE.
3. USAA would essentially do the same thing, that is pass on the "cost" of obtaining an individuals FICO Score in the form of some "fee" or "higher interest rate" or some other method of recouping the "business expense".
USAA tries to provide the best "cost effective" products for their Members, such as low interest rates on their various Credit Cards, so as such I do not see USAA implimenting the free FICO Score "product" any time soon.
Just my thoughts (I have no connection with USAA other than being a Member).
USAA, just like all credit card issuers, does periodic soft pulls to keep track of any changes in the credit status of their cardholders. What Discover and other credit card issuers are doing (Barclays is another big one offering this), is to allow their card holders to see the raw score numbers that are supplied in these routine periodic soft pulls. If USAA was to impliment this, there would be no additional cost other than the programming change and maintenance to the website. They are already paying for periodic soft pulls for the score data.
These free scores are very useful and I'd like to see this from USAA as well. For these free scores, you are stuck with whatever frequency that your card issuer decides to soft pull and with whatever credit reporting agency they decide to use. Getting scores from more than one card issuer gives more data points more frequently. Good perk and very low cost for a credit card issuer to offer.