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Credit Scores & Reports

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How Do Tax Liens Affect Your Credit Score?

What’s worse than paying taxes? Being the recipient of a tax lien. The government can put a tax lien on your property if you fail to pay your taxes, allowing them to legally seize your assets – including your home. The good news is that since 2018, federal and state tax liens no longer appear...

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How Many Types of Accounts Should I Have on My Credit Reports?

There’s no question that paying your bills on time is the most important rule to follow when it comes to earning great credit. Yet even a flawless payment history won’t result in the perfect credit score. Believe it or not, 65% of your FICO® Score has nothing to do with whether you make your monthly...

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How To Check Your Free FICO® Score (and Every Other Free Credit Score) In Under 5 Minutes

You may have never heard of the Fair Isaac Corporation, but it’s heard of you. And it influences much of your life, from your mortgage’s interest rate to your ability to qualify for great credit cards. That’s because Fair Isaac invented the FICO® Score, a number used by lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. Since the...

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What Is an Excellent Credit Score?

When a lender wants to know how likely you are to repay your loan or credit card balance, it looks at one of your credit scores. This three-digit number represents whether you’re an excellent credit risk, a poor risk, or somewhere in-between. If you have an excellent credit score, credit card issuers and lenders are...

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What Is a Good Credit Score?

Your credit scores are important. They indicate how risky you are as a borrower of money (i.e., how likely you are to pay your bills). The most common scores range from 300 – 850. So what’s a “good” credit score? A good credit score typically refers to a score of at least 670 with FICO®...

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Monitoring Your Credit Reports

You can monitor your creditworthiness by checking your credit scores and reports every year. Some credit card companies and banks allow you to see your credit score daily. Credit score vs credit report A credit score indicates how you handle debt, while your credit report reveals details about your credit history. Credit reports provide personal...

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How Your Debt-to-Income Ratio Affects Your Eligibility for New Credit

Looking for a loan, but not sure if you’ll qualify? Wondering how you can look your best on the application and what lenders are looking for? When you apply to borrow money, lenders look at a number of factors as they decide whether to approve or deny your request. One factor, called your debt-to-income ratio,...

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FICO® Score 10: Everything You Need to Know

The year 2020 will be burned into our collective memory for many reasons. It was a year filled with headlines. So, if you missed it then, the financial news highlighted that FICO® released its newest credit score, the FICO® Score 10. Nonetheless, FICO®’s newest credit scoring system (the FICO® Score 10 Suite) is noteworthy in...

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What Does FICO® Stand For? The Answer Will Help Your Finances

So you’ve heard the word “FICO®” before. Maybe from your mom, who’s always telling you to “stay on top of your FICO® scores.” Or maybe from your prospective landlord, who wants to “check your FICO®” before he’ll let you live in his apartment. But what does FICO® stand for? And why is it so important?...

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What Is an Adverse Action Notice?

You were denied for that new credit card. Your interest rates went up unexpectedly. Or maybe your credit card account was closed altogether. It’s not a pleasant experience, but credit card issuers are well within their rights to take adverse actions like these — as long as they follow the rules. What Is an Adverse...

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My Credit Card Isn’t on My Credit Report – What Can I Do?

I have a credit card that is not appearing on my credit report. How can I get the account added? The short answer is that there isn’t much you can do to get an account added to your credit reports.  Creditors are not required to report credit card accounts on your credit reports. It’s their...

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Credit Reports, Explained: What’s a Credit Report and How Do You Read One?

Credit reports are records of your financial history. The information in your credit reports is used to calculate your credit scores. Positive information and demonstrating responsible financial behavior can improve your credit scores. Negative information, like late payments and collection accounts, can damage your credit scores. But what exactly is included in a credit report...

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FICO® Score vs. Credit Score: What’s the Difference?

Without googling it, could you tell us what this means: My FICO® Score 8 from TransUnion® is 712, but my VantageScore® 3.0 from Experian™ is 820. How’d you do? If the math wasn’t mathin’ for you, that’s pretty common in the personal finance space. We learn a lot in school, but we either all ignored...

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What’s The Best Credit Utilization Ratio for My Credit Scores? Does 0% Utilization Hurt My Scores?

If you already know what credit utilization is, you’re probably on the way to building great credit. It’s the percentage of your available credit that you’re using, and it’s a major factor in most credit scoring models. You may have also heard it called the “debt-to-limit” ratio. Credit scoring models usually see lower credit utilization as better…...

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Lines of Credit – How They Work and How They Affect Your Credit Scores

A line of credit is a type of financing that’s essentially a hybrid between a loan and a credit card. Similar to a credit card, a line of credit lets you borrow money repeatedly — up to a limit. Yet like a loan, the interest rates on a line of credit can potentially be more...

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How to Remove a Late Payment from Your Credit Reports

Late payments can have a major negative effect on your credit scores. They’ll remain on your credit reports for seven years, so you should do your best to avoid them at all costs. If there are any late payments on your reports that don’t belong there, you can dispute them and their removal may improve...

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How Does the Credit Utilization Percentage Impact My Credit Score?

Credit utilization is one of the most important factors in the calculation of credit scores. But many people don’t understand what it actually means. In this article, we dive into the nitty-gritty of credit utilization. We’ll answer all your questions, including: What is credit utilization? How do you calculate credit utilization? How does credit utilization...

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How Do Public Records Impact My Credit? Bankruptcy, Judgments, and Tax Liens

Public records are information that’s on file with a court. These might include: Bankruptcies Judgments Tax liens Arrest records Divorces You don’t have rights to privacy when it comes to public records. They are – as the name suggests – public. Some public records might even appear on your credit reports. When they do, they’re...

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How To Dispute Errors and Mistakes in Your Credit Reports

You may think that your credit reports perfectly reflect an accurate picture of your credit history. But that might not always be true. Mistakes and inaccuracies appear on credit reports more often than many people believe. Some mistakes may be minor, like misspellings of names, addresses, or other personal information. Other mistakes, such as incorrect...

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Credit Report Inquiries

When someone – a potential lender, employer, landlord, insurer, or you – needs to see your credit report, that party makes an inquiry to one of the three credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian™, or TransUnion®). Sometimes, these inquiries are referred to as credit pulls because someone is pulling information about you from the credit bureaus’ files....

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How To Get A Collection Removed From Your Credit Reports

“There are 3 collection accounts on my credit reports. I’m working to improve my credit and I was wondering, what is the best way to get the accounts removed from my reports? If I pay the accounts in full, will they be erased?” The question above is a very common concern for consumers who are...

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What Is a Credit Bureau or Credit Reporting Agency?

In a world where credit has an impact on much of your financial life, credit bureaus play an important role. You’ve probably heard of Equifax®, Experian™, and TransUnion®. But that doesn’t mean you understand what they do. Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at the three major credit bureaus. While you’re learning more about these...

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Credit Scores Defined: What Are Credit Scores and What Affects Them?

What Is a Credit Score? A credit score is a number that measures how risky you are as a borrower of money. In other words, it’s a measure of your creditworthiness, or how much financial institutions should trust you. Credit scores are calculated based on your past behavior with loans, credit cards, and other financial products....

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How Often Do Credit Scores Update?

Working to improve your credit is a wise use of your time. But when you’re trying to boost your credit scores because you want to qualify for something specific, like a credit card or a car loan, the process can feel like it drags on forever. How soon will the actions you’re taking change your...

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What Is a Tax Lien? State Tax Liens, Federal Tax Liens, and How They Affect You

In the days of yore, public records, such as tax liens and judgments, would show up on personal credit reports and could deal direct damage to your credit scores. But in an effort to keep credit reporting errors to a minimum, policies have since been changed. As a result, certain public records no longer play...

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What Is a Credit Limit and How Does It Affect Your Credit Scores?

When you take out a traditional installment loan, the lender decides upfront how much money it will loan you. You then pay the loan back, generally at a fixed rate over a fixed period of time. Credit cards, on the other hand, work very differently. With a credit card account you can borrow money, pay...

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How and Where To Get Your Free Credit Reports

Did you know that you have the right to free credit reports every year? Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can request one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax®, Experian™, and TransUnion®. This is an important ability for consumers, giving you a free way...

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How To Freeze Your Credit Reports

What Is a Credit Freeze? A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, prevents the credit bureau from sharing your credit report with any person or entity without your permission (it prevents hard credit inquiries). Without a credit report pull, no one can obtain credit and open a new account in your name — in...

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