Credit Reports

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 Free Credit Report Site of 2014

Credit is a very important part of your adult life, yet it’s often neglected by any school curriculum while you’re learning the ins and outs of life. Every U.S. citizen who needs to be extended a line of credit, obtain a job, have a cell phone, and/or rent a dwelling needs to stay on top …

Best Credit Report Site of 2014

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 …

The Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2014

With identity theft on the rise, now is the time to find the best credit monitoring service so you can protect yourself before it happens. According to the most recent “Victims of Identity Theft” report published by the Bureau of Justice in 2013, approximately 16.6 million persons (7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or …

Categories: Credit Reports

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 …

How to Safely Build Your Credit History

I’ve heard from several high schoolers and early college students asking for advice on how to build up their credit history in a safe and responsible manner. One of them is “Jenna”: I’m currently a freshman at Washington University. I know I need to build up some good credit for the future, when I have …

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 …

Should You Cancel Your Unused Credit Cards or Not?

On a fairly regular basis, I suggest to my readers that they cancel unused credit cards except for their oldest one. In fact, I often suggest that you reduce your credit cards to one or two that you use for regular purchases and your oldest one – cancel the rest. This advice is often criticized, …

Access Credit Report and Credit Score Safely

Whenever you make a significant financial move today that requires financial assistance, it’s often accompanied by a check of your credit report and often a retrieval of your credit score. Lenders (and, quite frequently, other agencies like insurance companies) use this information to help determine a customized offer for you, so it’s quite useful to …

Considering Cancelling Credit Cards? Read Our Tips.

I often get notes from people who have a small mountain of credit cards. They’re trying to figure out which ones they should keep and which ones they should cancel for various reasons, and they’re (rightfully) concerned with their credit report when they do this. Obviously, a wallet full of credit cards can be a …

Building Credit Discussion: Cancel Cards Or Not?

In response to my two recent posts on building credit (getting credit without a credit card and building up credit), Konstantin writes in and says: I am following your blog daily and I found two conflicting ideas you suggest that I have a hard time reconciling them: “Another tip is that by canceling credit cards, …

Personal Finance 101: Getting Credit Without A Credit Card

Tips and Alternative Solutions to Building Credit Mark writes in and asks: I’m 18, and recently applied for a credit card at Citibank. They rejected me on the basis that I have no credit history. I’ve had a savings account at a local bank for nearly my whole life with all of my money in …

Personal Finance 101: Building Up Credit

Understanding Your Credit Score and Building Credit James wrote in and asked the following question: I just read your article: WHAT’S IN MY WALLET regarding credit cards. You mentioned that you pay your entire balance weekly. Would this work if you were trying to build credit also? How does building up credit work? Good question. …

Categories: Credit Reports

The Credit Check Situation

For the last week, there have been numerous reports of individuals who have opened Electric Orange checking accounts and after sixty days have had a credit check run on them. Here’s a typical example of such a report at Consumerism Commentary. In some cases, apparently, after this credit check, the Electric Orange account is closed. …

Categories: Banking, Credit Reports

A Reader On The Cusp Of A Great Credit Rating

A reader recently sent in this question about her boyfriend’s credit, which seems to be on the cusp of being quite good. My boyfriend was recently denied financing on a used upright piano because of poor credit. He actually has enough cash saved to buy it outright, but the fact that he couldn’t receive financing …

Personal Finance 101: What Is A Credit Score, And Why Is It Important?

Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score Recently, I received a lengthy email from a reader who had a ton of basic personal finance questions contained within. I thought it might be interesting to start an irregular “personal finance 101″ series to answer and explain some of her questions. Anyone who has tried to get a …