Credit Reports

Can Alternative Credit Scoring Help You Get a Mortgage?

By Peter Miller Lenders have an ongoing problem: No matter how many loans they create, they want to make even more. And that brings us to the 67 million people who lack the credit needed to borrow in today’s tough lending environment. What if we changed credit standards so that more people could qualify for …

What Is a Good Credit Score?

What is a good credit score, and why is this three-digit number so important? Can it really affect your everyday life, and what kind of control do you have over it? In this guide, I’ll tackle all of these questions. We’ll take a look at what your credit score means, how many people have good …

How to Build Credit

When people ask how to build credit, the “chicken or the egg” conundrum often comes up. Having a solid credit history and credit score are important parts of your financial future. Here’s the problem: To get a loan for a house or car, you need to show a history of responsible use and payment of …

Best Free Credit Report Site of 2015

If you’re interested in proactively safeguarding your personal information, understanding your credit report can help you keep tabs on how your data is being used. Luckily, there are a lot of different tools out there to help you obtain a free credit report. Worries about identity theft are well-founded. In 2012, more than 16.6 million …

Seven Things to Know When Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is often seen as a scary but necessary option. But it’s important to know that even when you’re facing what seems like financial ruin, you have choices. Bankruptcy laws have changed over the past few years and offer benefits as well as drawbacks to filing. If you’ve talked with a lawyer about …

Five Simple Steps to Improve Your Credit

A good credit score and solid credit history are the cornerstone of any lucrative credit card rewards strategy. So if you’re lacking in that department, you might find that it’s difficult to qualify for more than one popular rewards card – or that you can’t qualify at all. If you find yourself in that boat, you’re …

Honey, I Wrecked Your Credit

My husband and I were both in our mid-30s when we married. He was a couple of years into a psychiatric practice, and I had more than a decade of magazine experience under my belt. Each of us had been financially independent for quite some time (although as a freelance writer, my independence was of …

The Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2015

Now is the time to find the best credit monitoring service so you can protect yourself from identity theft. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 18% of adults had some form of personal data stolen last year — up from 11% in 2013. The year was also marked by a number of …

Categories: Credit Reports

It’s Never Too Soon to Protect Your Child’s Credit

Legendary bank robber Willie Sutton is often quoted as saying he robbed banks because that’s where they keep the money. Modern criminals in search of easy cash are more likely to use other means to separate you from your money. In 2011, for example, bank robbers took about $38 million from U.S. banks. That same year, …

The Importance of Your Personal Credit

Even if you have a love-hate relationship with it, credit plays an important role in our lives and economy. It allows us to reach financial, personal, and professional milestones that we might not otherwise be able to achieve. Here’s why you need to take your personal credit seriously, and a complete guide to establishing, building, …

How Student Loans Affect Your Credit

Whether you’re making your payments on time, paying extra every month, or struggling to pay the debt, student loans impact your credit report and score – for the good and the bad. Here’s how: Accentuate the Negative Any time you fail to make a student loan payment on time, this is going to have a …

The Unregulated World of Identity Theft ‘Insurance’

It’s all over the news: celebrity photo hacking scandals, digital security breaches at major retailers, and banks that have misplaced unencrypted backups of confidential customer data. More than 13 million consumers suffered from identity fraud in 2013, according to a study by financial services research firm Javelin Strategy & Research. This is second only to 2012, when …

How to Handle Debt in Collections and Pay Less Than You Owe

Debt collectors often make an already stressful situation — feeling stalked by past debts — a lot worse if you give them the chance. They can be merciless, overbearing, and sometimes downright abusive when it comes to interacting with you about your financial history. But you have rights, and you have options! Before hurriedly sending off a …

Best Credit Report Site of 2015

The Simple Dollar team and I dedicated an extensive amount of time researching credit reporting agencies, credit sites, consumer reviews, national surveys, and other published research to determine the best credit report sites that suit a variety of individual needs and life circumstances. When you’re choosing which credit monitoring company is the best fit for …

How to Fix Your Credit Properly

Sometimes, it seems like you can scarcely turn on your television or radio or web browser without seeing someone offering you a great solution to your credit woes or proper protection against credit worries. Pretty much anything involving the word “credit” is a hot commodity. There are thousands of businesses out there who want to …

Review: Your Credit Score

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. I was about to review the third edition of Liz Pulliam Weston’s Your Credit Score several months ago when …

Personal Finance 101: Why Do I Need Credit At All?

Samantha writes in: I don’t understand why I need credit at all. Credit just gets you into debt and you wind up paying interest to other companies. What’s the point of throwing my money away like that? Samantha asks a really good question here – and in some respects, she’s spot on. Poor use of …

Credit Reports, Credit Scores, and Hard & Soft Pulls

Over the last few days, I’ve received a ton of questions about so-called “hard pulls” and “soft pulls” on your credit report and how they affect your credit score. In order to get the full scoop, I did some extensive research on the subject, and here’s the best information I can find. Let’s start off …

Identity Theft and Family

A reader sent me this heartbreaking story that I feel I need to share with you all. I’m writing on behalf of a friend who just graduated from college two years ago and is trying to get on her financial feet. When she was young her mother used her identity several times to get loans …

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