Are Financial Advisors Worth It? Insider Tips You Should Know
Are Financial Advisors Worth It? Insider Tips You Should Know
Stay up-to-date on the latest changes to consumer credit reports.
Credit cards are powerful tools that can help you build excellent credit — but they can also sink your finances.
Some credit myths are just that – myths, and they do more harm to your credit than good.
Late payments have the greatest impact on credit scores.
If you spend just a few minutes, you can save a lot of money.
Nothing in credit lasts forever — good or bad.
And what you can do to outsmart them. (Hint: Ignore their rewards.)
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Make money instead.
The new season of Mythbusters starts tomorrow. Debt.com’s Money Mythbusters bust these common money myths today.
Nearly 9 in 10 Hispanics have checked their scores because they’re actively looking to buy a home or get a loan. More Hispanics are checking up on their credit than Americans overall.
They’re also more likely to want to learn about credit.
Crippling debt can totally kill our credit history, which makes buying a home or car or even getting a credit card nearly impossible. But some new changes to reporting are going to seriously boost your credit score.
A bad credit score could make dating more difficult
Low-income consumers are 240 percent more likely to start their credit history with negative records, like a debt collection.
This month, Debt.com answers all your questions – in under a minute.
Watch out, this little bill can have big consequences.
Don’t go into 2017 making financial mistakes. Give yourself the gift of financial freedom.
All three credit bureaus will soon have to cut some bad information from credit reports, which could give a huge boost to many consumers.
The Big 3 have your credit reports, but they also ask lots of interesting questions. Here are the recent results.
The best part: None of them are very difficult or time-consuming.
It’s not depression. Or happiness. Or love. Or hate.
The three credit bureaus aren’t the same. They all operate a little differently.
You probably know what a credit score is. You might even know your number. But here’s what you don’t know.
More places — from websites to banks — are offering free credit checks. Here’s why you need to take advantage of that.
These 7 reforms will help protect consumers, but they were overdue — and don’t go far enough.
Millions of Americans will have free access to their credit score in 2015, thanks to pressure from the White House.
But it could happen sooner with your help.
I couldn’t get a credit card because I’m such a good person. But I figured a way around that.
Credit scores are complicated, and some people mix you up on purpose. We break it down for you in plain English.
Time to unmask 10 lies, delusions, and half-truths about credit.
By law, every consumer can receive a free copy of each of their credit bureau reports once every twelve months. That’s a specific stipulation in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. There’s actually a government website where you can download your reports for free, no strings attached. Just visit annualcreditreport.com, answer a few questions to verify your identity and download your reports.
Then, look for these issues…
Most people skip over the personal information section at the top of each report. You just verified your identity, so why does it matter? One word: aliases.
Your credit report lists all the aliases that the credit bureau recognizes as you. So, if your name is John Smith, your aliases may be John K. Smith or Jonathan Smith or any number of combinations. Basically, it’s all the “as your name appears on the card” variations.
What you want to look for is aliases that don’t appear on any of your loan agreements or credit cards. For instance, in the example above, maybe one alias is John Kenneth Smith, but your middle name is Kevin. This means you’ve been confused with another credit user, which can be extremely bad.
If this happens, contact the credit bureau directly to ask them to remove the incorrect alias. You don’t want someone else’s bad credit habits appearing on your report!
Billing issues can turn into bad remarks on your report, which can drag down your score. A payment missed by more than 30 days becomes a negative remark that sticks around for seven years.
Make sure all your missed payments were truly missed. For example, let’s say your mortgage lender requires hazard insurance and your insurer doesn’t send the paperwork promptly. The lender may assess a higher payment and if you have Auto Pay set up, you may miss the increase. The lender reports a missed payment, even though you paid on time. Once you get the insurance worked out, any missed payment should be removed. Make sure they are.
The credit bureaus also keep track of the status of your account. If you’re behind with your bills or the account is charged off, it’s reflect in your credit report. If you get into financial distress and then recover, make sure your account statuses are up to date. Your report should list your accounts as open and current,
Sometimes errors occur in credit reporting that duplicate an existing account. So, instead of one mortgage account, your report lists two identical loans. This does not appear as a negative remark on your credit profile. However, it does affect your ability to qualify for new credit and loans. Duplicated accounts throw off your debt-to-income ratio, making it harder to get approved.
If you see a loan or a credit card that you don’t recognize, it could be a sign of Social Security identity theft. It often reveals that someone used your Social Security number to open a new account in your name. Any account opened in your name without your authorization can be closed with a call to the creditor or lender. Then, you may want to place a fraud alert on your report, in case the thieves open any other accounts.
This often relates to mistaken aliases mentioned in the first tip. Collection agencies often have little information to go on as they hunt down debtors who don’t want to be found. This often leads to a collector assigning a debt to a credit user, even if it’s not theirs.
Make sure that any collection accounts listed in your report are yours. Otherwise, you will need to contact the collector to inform them that they have the wrong person. Once you correct the mistake with the collector, make sure they reported the account removal to the credit bureaus.
If you owe court fines, alimony, child support or any other court-ordered settlement, it will appear in your profile. Just make sure that all public records assigned to you are yours and legitimately owed. If not, you may need to head to the Clerk of Courts to get the information corrected.
Accounts can be closed because there are issues with it or because you let it be inactive for too long. Account closures happen when there’s issues with theft, when you pay the debt off and close the account or for other reasons. In some cases, you simply waited too long to make a charge and the creditor closed the account because you never use it.
Make sure you are aware of all account closures and that they are correct.
When creditors and lenders run credit checks during applications or underwriting, it creates a hard inquiry in your profile. Too many hard inquiries within a six-month period can decrease your credit score.
Make sure that you authorized all hard inquiries made on your report. Soft inquiries for things like preapproved credit offers don’t count. A number of hard inquiries in your name that you didn’t request could be a sign of ID theft, too.
Negative information can only stay in your report for set amounts of time. Positive or neutral information sticks around forever. It also offsets the bad stuff. In fact, the “weight” of a negative item decreases over time, even before the penalty clock expires. So, positive actions that you take now can quickly offset negative items that occurred last year or years prior.
Review all the good stuff in your credit report to make sure you’re on track. If you see you don’t have much good to offset the bad, take steps to rebuild your credit.
This website is intended for informational purposes and as a reference tool to match consumers with companies that may be able to assist them. View our Advertising Disclosures here.