FreeCreditScore.com, which is probably the best-known “free” faker now charges $1 despite the name, so that it does not have to follow the FTC’s rule:
[W]ebsites offering free credit reports must have a disclosure, with links to AnnualCreditReport.com and FTC.gov, that appears across the top of each page that mentions free credit reports. Violators are subject to legal action that can result in penalties of up to $3,500 per violation.
Getting rejected sucks, but at least in the future you will know why, which means you can work to fix the problem.
LifeLock has had its troubles, but its main tool—putting a fraud alert on your account every 90 days—does not hurt your credit score. It does, however, make it more difficult to get credit, because lenders have to jump through more hoops before approving a credit application.
So if you are not planning to try to obtain credit in the next 90 days, go ahead and use a fraud alert. Otherwise, know that placing a fraud alert on your credit files will make it more difficult to get credit.
All the information out there on credit scores can be confusing. At the heart is the FICO score, which is what lenders use to determine your riskiness as a borrower.
Here are the main elements of the FICO score:
There are also some “soft factors” based on your other borrowing behavior, such as judgments against you, late or missed payments, and more. Queercents has a great post detailing what you need to know about your credit score.
FICO 101 | Queercents
Nobody likes to talk about their debt. Not me, not you, not anybody. But your debts do not like to be ignored. As I wrote in my column for Consumerist yesterday , if you let your debts go into default and do nothing, it could end up hurting.
Credit card companies in particular want you to ignore your debts. While you do, they and the buyers of their debt will add bucketloads of fees and interest. Then, in a few years, someone will sue you for twice the original balance (or more).
Negative information may remain on your credit reports for seven years, ruining your credit and making everything you buy on credit more expensive.While you may be able to win your lawsuit if the original creditor or a debt buyer sues you at some point, that costs more money.
Even if you think you are judgment proof, think hard before deciding to do nothing. Judgments are good for ten years, and may be renewed indefinitely. While your creditors may have a hard time actually collecting, you may spend a lot of time fending them off.
Ignoring your debts is not a real option, even though it is the option most consumers seem to take.
(photo: Andres Rueda)
February brings two big changes to FICO credit scores. First, FICO credit scores are calculated differently as of yesterday. Second, as of February 14th, Experian will no longer give consumers access to their Experian credit score, although lenders will still have access to the number.
First, the changes to the way FICO scores are calculated. Consumerist has a rundown of the changes, which include different weighting of factors like debts less than $100 that end up in collections, and a new emphasis on the “total picture,” whatever that means.
Second, Experian, for some reason, has decided to pull out of the consumer credit scoring party. Nobody really understands why Experian is doing this, and it is not clear whether consumers will ever be able to see their Experian-based FICO score when the change goes into effect.
You have the right to get a free credit report once a year, but that does not include your credit score, the actual number that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness.
Kara McGuire recently compared her actual FICO score, and says Credit Karma’s prediction (788—go Kara!) was in line with the real thing.
Free credit score? But is it any good? | Ka-Blog!