Black marks fall off credit reports in July

Starting July 1, the credit scores of up to 14 million people could begin to rise as credit reports are scrubbed of nearly all civil judgments and many tax liens.

Consumer advocates hail the data’s deletion as a long-overdue victory for people whose scores were unfairly dinged by inaccurate information. Others worry the changes could inflate the scores of risky borrowers and have a catastrophic impact on lenders.

People shouldn’t expect an immediate jump in their scores, however.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how the process will work and when you can expect to see changes.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

shutterstock_101159917Today’s top story: When and how much a Fed rate hike will cost you. Also in the news: The art of lowering your bills, how to become Social Security savvy, and why you should check your credit report after getting married.

Fed Rate Hike: When and How Much It Will Cost You
What to expect when the Fed pulls the trigger.

Ace the Art of Lowering Your Bills
Treat it like a science.

Are You Social Security Savvy?
What you know and don’t know.

Check Your Credit Report for Inquires After You Get Married
Checking for changes.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Credit report with score on a desk

Credit report with score on a desk

Today’s top story: Understanding your credit card’s free FICO score. Also in the news: The difference between a soft inquiry and a hard inquiry, surviving Social Security with a minor cost of living adjustment, and how apps can both help and hurt your finances.

To Understand Your Credit Card’s Free FICO Score, Get Your Credit Report
How your credit card use factors into scores.

What’s the Difference Between a Soft Inquiry and a Hard Inquiry on My Credit Report?
Which ones affect your credit score?

Social Security survival strategies with COLA only at 0.2%
Surving a stagnant cost of living increase adjustment.

How Apps Can Help (and Hurt) Your Finances
Could your apps lead you to spend more?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

1436536219414Today’s top story: Time to give your financial goals a midyear checkup. Also in the news: The statute of limitations on debt, how to save on child care, and financial concepts to teach your teen.

Give Your Financial Goals a Midyear Checkup
Checking your progress.

The Difference Between a Debt’s “Statute of Limitations” and Your Credit History
The debts that will not die.

7 Ways to Save on Child Care
Saving where you can.

5 Financial Concepts To Teach Your Teen Before High School Graduation
Get them on the right path before they leave for college.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: Why debt-to-income ratio matter when buying a house. Also in the news: Crucial insurance changed to make after divorce, how to manage your finances when you’re separated, and a bill in congress that would remove credit report strikes after four years.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Matters When You’re Buying a House
How to improve your DTI.

5 Crucial Insurance Changes After Divorce
Things to address immediately.

Managing Your Finances When You’re Separated
You may be apart, but your money is still together.

This Bill in Congress Would Remove Credit Report Strikes After Four Years
Significant changes could be ahead.

Q&A: Taking out a loan to boost credit scores

Dear Liz: I have little to no information — good or bad — in my credit reports. I am considering obtaining a secured loan from my credit union to establish better credit. Does it make any difference to my credit score if the credit union reports the loan as “secured”?

Answer: Credit scores don’t treat installment loans differently based on whether they’re unsecured, with just your promise to repay, or secured, which means backed by an asset such as an amount on deposit with the credit union.

What matters is how you pay off the loan (every payment should be on time) and whether the account will be reported to all three credit bureaus, so that you’re building scores at all three. Call and ask, because not all credit unions report to all three bureaus.

You also might want to consider a secured credit card, because having both types of credit accounts — installment and revolving — can boost your scores. Again, it’s important that you pay on time and that the card is reported to all three bureaus. You should use the card lightly but regularly and pay the balance in full each month for best results.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Credit report with score on a desk

Credit report with score on a desk

Today’s top story: Why students missed out on nearly $3 billion dollars in financial aid. Also in the news: Things on your credit report that look like errors, but might not be, how to protect your loved ones from financial elder abuse, and how to protect inherited IRA assets from creditors via a trust.

3 Things on Your Credit Report That Look Like Errors, But Might Not Be
Analyzing your report.

Why students missed out on $2.7 billion in financial aid last year
The FAFSA is essential.

How to Protect Your Loved Ones (and Yourself) From Financial Elder Abuse
Protecting their assets.

Protect Inherited IRA Assets From Creditors With a Trust
Keeping your inheritance.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Last-minute tax moves to make on December 31st. Also in the news: How to tell if your financial advisor is giving you good advice, why you should consider freezing your credit reports, and the top 6 financial resolutions for the new year.

4 Last-Minute Tax Moves You Can Make on Dec. 31
Tick tock!

How To Tell If You’re Receiving Good Advice From Your Advisor
Making sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Why you should consider freezing your credit reports
Preventing identity theft.

Top 6 financial New Year’s resolutions and how to fulfill them
Making resolutions that last.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

o-CREDIT-REPORT-facebookToday’s top story: The secrets of boosting your credit score. Also in the news: A 3-step retirement plan for 20-somethings, where the U.S. ranks on basic money smarts, and money steps to take before your 70th birthday.

A 3-step retirement savings plan for 20-somethings
How to get started on the path to retirement.

The Secrets Of Boosting Your Credit Score
A nudge in the right direction.

How the U.S. Stacks Up on Basic Money Smarts
Room for improvement.

10 Money Steps to Take Before Your 70th Birthday
Managing your accumulated assets.

Can I Be Fired for Bad Credit?
The answer may surprise you.

Q&A: Free credit report

Dear Liz: I was trying to get my free credit report as you suggested in a recent column. I was asked to pay $1, which made me very uneasy. Why do they do this?

Answer: The fact that you were asked to pay for your free credit report — even a nominal amount such as $1 — shows that you went to the wrong site.

That can happen if you typed the correct site, www.annualcreditreport.com, into a search engine, rather than into your browser address bar, and didn’t carefully review the options before you clicked.

These look-alike sites are supposed to disclose that they’re not the real thing, but sometimes those disclosures are easy to miss.

The real site notes that it’s the only site for free credit reports and is authorized by federal law. You don’t need to provide a debit or credit card to get your reports, although you will have to provide identifying information such as your Social Security number.