Friday March 7, 2014
It's a given that certain businesses will check your credit report as part of the application process. Creditors and lenders, obviously, check your credit before approving your credit card or loan application. Insurance companies check your credit to help set your rates. Utility and cable providers check your credit too, to decide whether you should pay a security deposit.
Having good credit is becoming more important as more businesses rely on your credit report to decide whether to approve your applications and how much to charge you. Creditors, lenders, and other businesses check your credit to determine the likelihood that you're going to repay on time. You can prepare for a credit check by checking your own credit first, to be sure that the information is accurate and to clear up any errors before making your application.
Thursday March 6, 2014
It's an awful situation to find yourself in: more bills than you can afford to pay. You'll find yourself stressing over which bills to pay and which bills to delay. Can you put off some bills until next month? Will that just make the situation worse?
Don't struggle unnecessarily with too many bills. You have more control over your bills than you probably realize. For example, you may be reluctant to disconnect some services that you'd actually be comfortable living without. There may be viable ways of making extra money that you've disregarded. Give them another thought.
Here's some advice on what to do when you have too many bills so you can reduce your stress and fulfill all your financial obligations.
Related: 7 Ways to Live Within Your Means | Free Budget Worksheets | 40 Things You Shouldn't Do When You're Broke
Monday March 3, 2014
Millions of consumers have an error on their credit reports - errors that could affect their credit scores and even the ability to get approved for a credit card or loan. Disputing errors is much easier when you have proof of the error, for example, a cancelled check showing your payment was received on time.
Last week, the CFPB announced that consumers now have the ability to upload, mail, or fax documents to support a credit report dispute with the three major credit bureaus. The credit bureau is required to forward this information along to the information furnisher who must investigate and update your record with the credit report if there is indeed a credit report error.
The CFPB has received more than 10,000 complaints about credit reporting (as of August 2013) since it began taking complaints in October 2012. Of those complaints, about 45% were related to some type of credit report inaccuracy - inaccurately reported account statuses and accounts listed that did not actually belong to the consumer. Being able to provide proof of credit report errors should make it easier for consumers have those errors cleared up.
More on Credit Reports
Saturday March 1, 2014
The CFPB is urging top credit card issuers to make credit scores available to their cardholders. Last month, Rich Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wrote a letter to several credit card issuers asking that credit scores be made available to consumers in hopes that the information would prompt more consumers to check their annual credit reports.
Currently, fewer than one in five consumers checks their credit reports in any year, according the to the CFPB, despite the fact that credit reports are available for free through AnnualCreditReport.com.
A few credit card issuers have already made credit scores available to consumers and actually started the trend several months before the CFPB made its request to other credit card issuers. Discover, BarclayCard, and First National Bank of Omaha cardholders now receive a copy of their recent FICO scores on their credit card statements, either paper or online depending on the card issuer.
More credit card issuers making credit scores available would certainly empower consumers by giving them information about one of the most important pieces of financial information. Credit scores influence interest rates, credit card and loan approval, and insurance rates. The underlying data on which a credit score is based also affects a persons ability to get a job.
However, credit scores made available through credit card issuers could get confusing, especially if cardholders who hold multiple credit cards receive a different credit score on each of their statements. It would also mean that credit card issuers have to begin answering questions and dealing with inevitable complaints from consumers about their credit scores.
In the meantime, consumers can still purchase their FICO scores through myFICO.com or any of the three credit bureaus. Credit scores are also available for free through CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com, and Quizzle.com.
More on Credit Scores