Credit Scores Should be Free!

Karen Blumenthal of the Wall Street Journal asks why consumers have to pay get credit scores. As important as credit scores are to consumers, they currently have to pay fees to Experian, Equifax, Trans Union or others to get their own scores. The report states this could change. In March, bills were introduced in both the House and Senate that would give consumers access to free credit scores once a year. The report points out that credit bureaus sell dozens of different credit scores, some intended only as “educational” for consumers, some generic ones for lenders and some tailored for...

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Debt Collectors & Banks Scheme to Revive Old Debts

The WSJ reports that debt collectors are teaming up with some banks to offer a credit card to consumers who have old credit card debts. The old debts are barred by the statute of limitations. The debt collectors send misleading letters to the consumers stating that upon payment of a few hundred dollars on the old debts, the bank will issue a credit card. What the solicitations do not make clear is that the payment will revive the old debts. In other words, payment starts the statute of limitations running again. In California, the statute of limitations is four years...

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Debt Collectors Target Relatives of Deceased Persons

Debt collectors are harassing individuals to pay the debts of deceased family members. Many of the targeted survivors are elderly. A WSJ article gives an example of a debt collector retained by Bank of America to collect $16K on a credit card debt from a retired 68 year widow. She received up to 10 calls a day from West Asset Management, Omaha, NE about the debt. The widow was not legally responsible for the debt, but that did not stop the debt collector. The WSJ article has two recorded calls between the harassed widow and the debt collector. The caller...

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Medical Errors Trip up Consumers Trying to Refinance

Today, the WSJ reports that consumer’s medical bills, even disputed ones, are hurting their credit scores. One example is a woman in Texas had two erroneous $11 doctor bills on her credit reports that stopped her from refinancing her home. The bills had been sent to a collection agency. Her credit score dropped from 757 to 680. The lender said she would have to pay an additional $14,000 to get a 5.5% interest rate. A mortgage bank calls medical debt the single biggest roadblock for would-be refinancers. “People have no idea that they still owe small amounts which later end...

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Credit Bureaus Gathering More Info on Consumers to Sell to Lenders

The WSJ reports that credit bureaus and Fair Isaac are beginning to sell new types of financial information to banks for purposes of evaluating credit applications. The bureaus are offering to report on your rent and utility payments, income, home’s value, and evaluate your banking activities. Fair Isaac, who invented the FICO credit score will report on customers’ bank deposits, balances, and withdrawals. The credit bureaus are estimating customers’ income something the Federal Reserve allows lenders to do in order to satisfy new requirements that credit-card applicants show the ability to pay their debts. The bureaus look at your credit...

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