Improving Your Credit Score: Four Myths Consumers Should Ignore

How do consumers get the best deal on credit? Most people know that furnishers–the lenders that supply credit–look at consumers’ FICO scores. The higher the score, the better deal the consumer will get. That means a lower mortgage rate or a more favorable interest rate on a new car. But how can consumers increase their credit score? A recent article debunks some of the more common myths about how consumers’ credit scores can be affected. 1)Closing Accounts Do Not Help Your Credit Score! Credit scoring formulas look at the difference between consumers’ available credit and what they are using. So,...

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Consumer Credit: Five Reasons to Have a Good Credit Score

Your credit score basically predicts the possibility that you won’t pay your bills. Creditors figure that the higher your credit score, the less likely you are to miss payments. Most credit scores on based on the Fair, Isaac & Co. model, known as FICO scores. But why is your credit score important? A recent article by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine explains who relies on that score: 1) Lenders. Most people would expect lenders to look at their credit scores, and indeed they do. Your credit score affects the rate you pay on your mortgage, your car loan and your credit...

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Identity Thief Steals Bay Area Couple’s Tax Refund

Will and Gracie Tan suffered through identity theft, fake credit cards in their name, had their bank accounts raided and then learned that their tax refund was going to someone else, as Ken Garcia recently reported in the San Francisco Examiner. The Tans’ horrible experience illustrates how much damage sophisticated identity thieves can inflict upon consumers’ credit–and their bank accounts–with a few key items of identification. The Tans’ problems seems to have started last year, when they refinanced their mortgage. Garcia’s column doesn’t say who actually stole their identifying information, only that a ring of thieves in El Paso, Texas...

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Consumers’ Defaulted Subprime Home Loans Difficult to Restructure

Many thousands of California consumers have bought houses–or refinanced them–using “subprime” loans. Subprime loans are offered at higher than market rates to people with impaired credit. Often these loans are structured with little or no money down. Often the mortgage rate is adjustable, beginning with an attractively low interest rate that increases as the loan ages. Both the consumer and the lender essentially make a bet that house prices will continue to climb. If they win the bet, then the consumer builds equity in the house just because the house’s value increases, not because the consumer pays down the loan....

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