How does American Express work? Michael writes that Experian doesn’t seem to understand how the company’s credit limits work. His card technically has no limit, and this confuses Experian. They coped with the confusion by showing that instead of having theoretically infinite available credit, he had $0, making his pristine record look pretty bad to potential lenders.
Usually very closed-mouth about how it calculates scores, FICO released a whole bunch of data about how being late on your mortgage payments affects your credit score. For instance, being 30 days later on a mortgage payment can chop your 780 credit score down to 670. And a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure will hurt your score just as bad as a foreclosure if the service reports it as having a deficiency amount or an unpaid balance. Yikes! Here’s some sexy tables with more details:
If you applied for a loan and got denied or received a higher interest rate than other borrowers with better credit scores, starting July 21st, the lender has to send you a free copy of your credit score.
Michael wanted to pay a copy of his Transunion credit report. In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem: he gives Transunion money, they give him a credit report. If only it worked that way. It turns out that just buying a single copy of your report from Transunion is like trying to buy a mobile phone in America from a retail store: you can get it for “free” with a subscription to monitoring service, or as part of a package deal with other services, but you can’t just hand over cash for a credit report.
Gerard, now 26, has spent his entire adult life fighting with Capital One. No, we are not exaggerating: he got his first credit card with the company at age 18, and they have been causing him payment and credit-report headaches ever since.
We’ve been getting a few emails about a new kind of rental scam where they try to lure you into giving over your credit card and personal information to a “free credit score” site. One was from Reader Benjamin, who was looking for a house to rent when he and his wife stumbled across a too good to be true deal, a fully-furnished 3-bedroom house in Maryland for only $1200. Seeing as they had nothing to lose, they emailed the lister, just to see what would happen.
Todd’s subject line to us was, “Verizon FiOS hates me,” and maybe he’s right. Each time he tries to sign up for their package deal, they check his credit score, proceed with the sign-up process, then cancel everything at the last minute due to a “technical glitch.” They say he can try a third time if he wants.
A writer for Slate shares the tell of her trying to convince Experian and Transunion that she is not deceased, as being dead is a bit of a problem when you’re trying to buy an apartment. Transunion only took one phone call and one fax to Lazarus her, but Experian was an abyss of despair, until, out of the darkness, a ray of hope emerged…
Ed and his wife successfully filed a chargeback against Expedia for a canceled trip earlier this year. Now he’s being dunned by a collection agency for the amount that Amex refunded him.
One of our readers is looking to buy a house and his mortgage broker suggested that he open up about four credit cards to establish some credit history. Should he?
Before the recession hit, roughly 15% of Americans had FICO credit scores below 600. But after the past couple of years of late payments, defaults, and foreclosures, that number has grown to 25%, or about 43 million people. At the same time, the number of people with excellent scores (800 to 850) has increased nearly 5% from pre-recession average, which the Associated Press says is partly a result of people cutting spending and working to pay off loans more quickly.
Over 80% of credit reports have errors on them, errors which could be lowering your credit score and keeping you from getting credit or paying more for it than you should. Here’s how to fix them:
Enrollment in for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, DeVry University, and Kaplan University–Gawker calls them fake colleges–tripled in the past decade, and has become such a fast-growing segment of the education market that some members of Congress think it needs better oversight.
Now that everyone is so obsessed with their credit reports and FICO scores, credit monitoring services have popped up everywhere. For a modest recurring fee–one that easily adds up to over $100 a year–you can have a company constantly watch your credit report and alert you of any changes in it, so you can always be on top of your creditworthiness. But should you bother? The consumer director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups federation (U.S. PIRG) tells BusinessWeek that credit monitoring is a “protection racket” that turns people into “financial hypochondriacs… who are scared of their own financial shadows.”
New answers pried from the secretive FICO corporation that overlords our credit scores kill a longstanding myth. It turns out that cancelling your credit cards won’t destroy your credit score.
Some HR departments use credit checks to help determine whether to hire an applicant. The practice has always had critics, since credit histories can have errors that are hard to correct, and since there’s no strong correlation between credit history and job performance. But in this economy the practice may be even less fair, notes MSNBC, even though more organizations are relying on it.