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Credit Scores


  • Ask the Readers: How do you function with bad credit or no credit? (61 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Gina Bean wrote in about her friend’s credit situation. Her friend has a car loan with a $936 balance. She doesn’t have a credit card – because she only earns $21,000 a year and doesn’t want to go into debt. But she’s frustrated because she recently checked her credit score and it was 583. She recognizes that the late payment she made on the car loan would bring…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you monitor and improve your credit? (24 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Holly Johnson’s post (“The high cost of keeping up with the Joneses”) got me thinking about a number of things this week, but mostly about how people manage their credit. Obviously, if you’re intent on keeping up with the Joneses and you’re living above your means, that house of cards is going to fall, right? And the reality is that time and good behavior are what it will…

  • Ask the Readers: Is credit monitoring worth the money? (46 comments)

    Reader Bryce wrote to us this week with this question for the readers: “What are your thoughts on companies like freecreditreport.com, where they charge $16.95/month to have access to your Experian credit report? Is checking your credit weekly/monthly worth the $16.95/month?” First of all, you are legally entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the main credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get them via the government’s official…

  • What’s a Credit Score? An Intro to Credit Reports and Credit Scores (43 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. A good friend of mine recently asked me what a credit report is and how he could get his hands on his. My friend has a PhD. He’s a smart guy, and generally savvy about life. If he was asking me this question, he can’t be the only one wondering. So I…

  • Reader Story: How I Ruined My Credit Score, and How It Didn’t Ruin My Life (146 comments)

    This guest post from the redoubtable Tyler K is part of the new “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. Tyler is an active commenter at GRS, and never afraid to share his opinion! Like J.D., I once had a big problem with debt. Unlike J.D., I didn’t…

  • How Much Does Canceling Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score? (112 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker, whose own blog paid homage to the movie, Fight Club, with the post Tyler Durden’s Guide to Personal Finance. While I generally check my free credit report every 4 months or so, the last time I checked my credit score was November 2008. At that time, it was right at 740. Earlier this week, I checked my credit score again. I was pleasantly surprised to find out…

  • Your Secret Credit Scores (21 comments)

    During yesterday’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, Jim and I spoke with Liz Pulliam Weston, financial columnist and credit score expert. Weston provided background on how the credit scoring system works, and offered tips for how to maintain (and improve) your credit score. During the show, Weston mentioned a past MSN Money article in which she wrote about 8 secret scores that lenders keep. These lesser known (and confidential) scores are also a part…

  • What To Do About Stolen Mail? (105 comments)

    When I came home on Wednesday, there was no mail in our mailbox. That seemed strange, but it happens sometimes. I didn’t think much about it. Tonight, though, we realized we were missing our latest Netflix movies. We checked the web site, and sure enough — they should have arrived Wednesday. “Uh oh,” I said. “This could be trouble.” “We mostly get catalogs and personal finance magazines,” Kris said. “We don’t get checks in the…

  • An Imperfect Credit Score is Not the End of the World (13 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kim McGrigg of Money Management International, the nation’s largest nonprofit credit and debt counseling firm. I often warn consumers about the little things that can have a big impact on their credit score. Today, I’m in more of a “don’t sweat the small stuff” kind of a mood. It is apparent that some people take this credit reporting stuff very seriously. In fact, one consumer recently took time out…

  • Proper Care and Feeding of Your Credit Score (46 comments)

    Your credit score is like a pet monster under the bed. Feed it and care for it, and it will do your bidding. But if you neglect it, it will turn against you. But beware! Taking good care of it can bring you dangerously close to its sharp teeth. Your credit score determines the types of credit you can obtain, and how much you will be charged in interest. Last year I described the anatomy…

  • National Credit Score Index (1 comment)

    The National Score Index is a handy little web app that displays U.S. average credit scores by state (683 in Oregon) and for the entire country (677). Based on the most current data available in the industry, the Experian National Score Index provides the most up-to-date look at U.S. consumers’ credit and is a powerful indicator of the country’s overall financial health. The Experian National Score Index monitors several components of consumer credit behavior to…

  • Reader Question: Buying a House Without a Credit History? (3 comments)

    A reader e-mailed wondering if it were possible to obtain a mortgage without a credit history. I posed this question to Robb Severdia of Guarantee Mortgage in Portland. If a couple came to you with a combined income of $75,000/year, 20% saved for a down payment, but no credit history whatsoever (as unlikely as that might be), would you still loan them money? Does the system allow for personal evaluations in situations where no credit…

  • Anatomy of a Credit Score (21 comments)

    Your credit score plays an increasingly important role in your financial health. But what is it? And how does it affect what you pay for loans and credit cards? Your credit score is a single number that indicates your creditworthiness. This number is derived from various pieces of information contained in your credit report. Your credit report is accumulated by various credit agencies — credit card companies and banks and other financial institutions, who pass…