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News Tips & Updates on Credit Score & Protection

Can a credit freeze protect you from identity theft?

Monday,15th December, 2014
Did you see "Identity Thief?" It was a 2013 movie in which an inoffensive businessman (played by Jason Bateman) sets about confronting wolf-in-sheep's-clothing criminal Diana (Melissa McCarthy). It really was very funny. Unfortunately, real-life identity thefts rarely raise a smile, which is a pity, considering how many there are. In 2012, 16.6 million people -- 7 percent of adult Americans -- were victims of this crime in one form or another, and 1.1 million of those saw fraudsters open new credit accounts in their names, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Unsurprisingly, it was those 1.1 million who .......

Credit score reforms could put better credit cards in your wallet

Tuesday,12th August, 2014
Christmas might come early this year for millions of Americans who stand to see their credit scores boosted -- without their having to lift a finger. This "gift," which could see them qualify for better credit cards and lower rates on mortgages and pretty much all other borrowing, is a result of two changes. The first involves a reform of the credit scoring system that is used in 90 percent of lending decisions. The second, so far introduced by two of the Big Three credit bureaus, sees home rental payments being counted when calculating scores. Reforms to FICO scores Aug. 9 saw .......

New role for credit card payments in credit scores

Monday,26th May, 2014
Up until now, it's not been hard for those with credit cards to understand how to avoid their plastic having a negative effect on their credit scores. All they had to remember was: Make every payment (at least the minimum due) every month on time. Keep balances below 30 percent of the cards' credit limits. The lower that percentage the better, but the difference 10 and 20 percent make to your score compared with 30 percent is minimal. Apply for new credit cards only when you need them. Having lots of recently opened accounts of any sort may be harmful. Observe those three rules, .......

More credit card companies providing free monthly credit scores

Monday,31st March, 2014
Ever since they were invented, credit cards and credit scores have had a close relationship. Manage your plastic well, and your score's likely to rise. Abuse it, and your score could be in trouble. But, over the last few months, a new relationship has developed between the two, as up to 30 million Americans have begun to receive their credit scores and other related information within their monthly card statements. Capital One revealed Tuesday that it was joining Barclaycard, First Bankcard and Discover in providing this service. Knowledge empowers All this became possible last November, when FICO, the company whose scoring technology .......

Target security breach rekindles credit-versus-debit debate

Monday,20th January, 2014
Will the Target debacle spell the demise of the debit card? This is the question posed by a recent San Francisco Business Times article, in which author Mark Calvey wonders if this massive breach of security might put people off paying with plastic. Calvey didn't explore the differences between debit and credit cards, but a glance at the Federal Trade Commission's guidance for consumers on lost and stolen cards and card numbers reveals a startling truth: If you're a victim of plastic fraud, you might be much better off if it's your credit card that's compromised. Credit cards' statutory protections better That's because the .......

Don't let credit report errors ruin your life

Monday,20th May, 2013
Last year, we told the story (in Credit where credit's due -- but only if you're lucky) of John G. Watts of Birmingham, Ala. The first time Mr. Watts knew he had an outstanding medical bill was when he was contacted by debt collectors. He immediately called the hospital, confirmed that the claimed $200 was -- in spite of his not having received an invoice -- legitimately owed, and the next day paid the collection agency in full. Credit report errors are serious Clearly someone had made a mistake, but, in spite of that, the collection company added a "paid collection account" .......

Identity theft: A Facebook poke -- in the eye

Monday,13th May, 2013
Why is it obligatory for all articles about identity theft to contain scary statistics? Maybe there's a law. Just in case, here are the latest (for 2010) from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, seemingly designed to have you hugging yourself in a corner, slowly rocking back and forth: That year, about 8.6 million American households contained at least one person over 11 years whose identity had been stolen. The total cost was $13.3 billion, and the average for each household that lost more than one dollar was $2,200. The unauthorized use of existing credit cards accounted for 54 percent of all identity thefts. .......

Is the best Valentine's Day gift a great credit score?

Monday,11th February, 2013
It's not just the CFO of Hallmark whose heart is likely to be beating a little faster at the prospect of Valentine's Day. In 2012, Time magazine reported that, each year, 10 percent of all marriage proposals are made on Feb. 14. But if you're thinking of popping the question -- or deciding how to to respond if the question's popped -- you probably ought to give some thought to the love-of-your-life's financial circumstances. In a recent press release from Chase, psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Michelle Callahan observed: Finances are one of the biggest reasons relationships fail. Being able to speak .......

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