Equifax http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9645/all en-US What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-credit-card-Dollarphotoclub_43166272.jpg" alt="couple credit card" title="couple credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>FICO, the company that provides information to the three major credit bureaus, has made changes that could potentially lead to higher credit scores for millions of Americans.</p> <p>The changes <a href="http://www.fico.com/en/about-us/newsroom/news-releases/fico-score-9-introduces-refined-analysis-medical-collections/">announced in August from Fair Isaac (FICO)</a> could help those dealing with medical debt, and will also give a boost to people who were dinged with collections but paid off the related debts.</p> <p>Here's a look at what the changes mean for you.</p> <h2>Medical Bills Won't Hurt You as Much</h2> <p>FICO said that if you are someone whose only negative references are for medical collections, your score will rise an average of 25 points. FICO said it will use a &quot;more sophisticated treatment&quot; to determine the difference between medical and non-medical collections. In essence, FICO learned that many borrowers have medical debt, but that it's not necessarily an indicator that they won't pay back other monies owed. Critics of previous rules said penalizing people for medical debt was unfair, because patients often don't know what they owe hospitals and doctors and high medical fees combined with limited insurance coverage can be catastrophic to people's budgets.</p> <h2>Collections Won't Be Viewed Badly, as Long as You Eventually Paid</h2> <p>Under previous rules, borrowers saw their credit scores go down if there was any record of a collection &mdash; even if they eventually paid the debt off in full. In fact, those collections stayed on a person's record as long as seven years, even if they had no other unpaid debts. Now, getting a visit from a collection agency won't hurt you, as long as you pay whatever was owed. The Wall Street Journal reports that <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/totalreturn/2014/10/17/millions-of-consumers-to-gain-access-to-credit-scores/">about one in ten people who had a collection</a> now have no balance at all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal">Best Secured Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit</a>)</p> <h2>Borrowing Should Be Easier</h2> <p>In general, these changes should cause credit scores to go up for most people. That means more people could qualify for loans and credit cards, and those who could already borrow will now get access to lower interest rates. But be careful: Just because you're eligible to borrow more money doesn't mean it's necessarily wise to do so.</p> <p>In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, one lawyer specializing in consumer protection warned of the possible negative consequences.</p> <p>&quot;A lot of people really just can't handle credit &mdash; you're not really helping them by allowing them to dig themselves into debt,&quot; Howard Strong, a lawyer in Tarzana, California, told the newspaper. &quot;It's like a sharp knife &mdash; if you don't know how to use it, you can cut yourself.&quot;</p> <h2>For Those With a Thin Credit History, It Could Go Either Way</h2> <p>If you're just starting to build your credit, you have what FICO refers to as a &quot;thin file.&quot; Previously, those with &quot;thin files&quot; were judged in absolute terms &mdash; you either paid your bills or you didn't. Now, FICO has the ability to analyze new borrowers in a more nuanced way. Depending on your payment history, this could improve your score or cause it to go down. If you've been great about paying your bills, even if you have a thin file, you'll probably be unaffected. On the flipside, you probably won't see your score improve if you've missed a lot of payments. It's those folks in the middle that may see an adjustment.</p> <h2>It May Not Impact Anything Right Away</h2> <p>FICO is hoping all three credit bureaus adopt the new scores this year. But it will take some time for lenders to adjust their policies. FICO said it will begin educating lenders now in the hopes they will be on board with the changes later in 2015.</p> <h2>It's Still up to the Lender</h2> <p>The FICO Score 9 is not the only score that lenders can look at. The Wall Street Journal reported that <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/totalreturn/2014/10/17/millions-of-consumers-to-gain-access-to-credit-scores/">there are about 45 different kinds of scores</a> that lenders can look at, depending on the type of loan a borrower may be seeking. And even if they do look at the new FICO score and like what they see, they might still deny your loan for other reasons.</p> <h2>None of This Matters If You're Awesome</h2> <p>These changes to FICO scores could have an enormous positive impact for those with debt. But if you use credit responsibly by paying bills in full and on time, you probably already have great credit and won't notice much of a change.</p> <p><em>Do you expect the new FICO formula to change your credit score? Or are you already awesome?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-unused-credit-cards-may-be-costing-you">How Your Unused Credit Cards May Be Costing You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range">What Is a Good Credit Score and Why Is It Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards borrowing credit history credit score Equifax Experian fico lending TransUnion Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1270234 at http://www.wisebread.com Google Yourself Challenge: How Much Can People Learn About You Online? http://www.wisebread.com/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child-staring-at-laptop.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article is made possible by our underwriter </em><a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?r=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fclk%3B255963740%3B79617016%3Br&amp;k4=3395&amp;k5={banner_id}"><em>Equifax</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>By now, we&rsquo;re all familiar with the concept of Googling someone. If you&rsquo;re not (seriously, where have you been?), it&rsquo;s the act of typing a person&rsquo;s name into the search engine to learn more about them. You can find lots of information about an individual through Google, such as where they live, where they work, their level of education, and if they have a criminal past.</p> <p>While others may Google you, however, it&rsquo;s just as important for you to Google yourself. Why? Because the pictures, videos, and other personal information about you online will affect you at some point in your life &ndash; whether you know it or not.</p> <h3>Who Is Searching for Your Information?<b><br /> </b></h3> <p>Several types of people might try to find out about you online. Here are a few types to be especially aware of.</p> <p><b>1. Employers</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>It used to be that the only background information an employer had on you was the resume and references you provided. Then came the Internet. While your resume and references are still helpful to employers, they&rsquo;re secondary to the online research that potential employers conduct about you. Employers aren't stupid. They know that anyone can fake a resume and coach their references on what to say. But Google doesn't lie. Not only will employers check your name on Google to verify facts, but they&rsquo;ll dig deep to make sure you don&rsquo;t have anything in your past that will reflect unfavorably upon the company.</p> <p><b>2.</b> <b>Creditors/Financial Services</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>In the past, to get a loan you had to sit down with a loan broker and hand over your financial standing on paper. The problem with that was there was a lot of room for fudgery &ndash; paper can be copied, modified, and even forged. Nowadays your credit score is stored in an online database, which is accessible to anyone in a position of power to give you money.</p> <p><b>3. Stalkers</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Stalkers can learn about you on Google, but they can also follow your every move through your social networks. Have you heard those horror stories about people getting robbed blind while they&rsquo;re not home because they posted about how they&rsquo;re enjoying their glorious vacation all over Facebook? It happens &ndash; but that is the least of your worries. What if a stalker showed up at your job or followed you around based on the information you&rsquo;ve posted and shared? It&rsquo;s tragic and frightening.</p> <p><b>4. ID Thieves</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Shopping online is easy and fun &ndash; until your identity is stolen. You&rsquo;re setting yourself up for potential disaster by storing your credit card info on the sites from which you purchase frequently, but you&rsquo;re still not completely safe even if you avoid this practice. In fact, keeping a credit card at all sets you up for identity theft because credit card companies store all of their users&rsquo; information digitally. When a security breach occurs, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/security-breach-puts-50000-credit-card-holders-at-risk">the one at Global Payments recently</a>, your card is compromised along with your peace of mind.</p> <h3>What Tools Will They Use?<b><br /> </b></h3> <p>There&rsquo;s more to this than Googling &ndash; here are the tools people are most likely to use to get information on you.</p> <p><b>1. Google</b></p> <p>Google is the number one way for any of us to find information on someone we search. Literally. It&rsquo;s the most visited website in the world. Most of us search for information about other people for benign reasons, but there are bad apples everywhere.</p> <p><b>2. Facebook</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Know what the number two most-visited site in the world is? Yep, it&rsquo;s Facebook. While we don&rsquo;t have a lot of control regarding what lands on Google about us, we have absolute control about what people can discover about us on Facebook. If someone wants to know what you&rsquo;re up to, you can bet they&rsquo;re browsing your profile.</p> <p><b>3. Online Police/Sex Offender Registries</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>If you think your past won&rsquo;t come back to haunt you, you&rsquo;re wrong. Employers especially use these sites to make sure you&rsquo;re telling the truth when you check that box saying that you&rsquo;ve never been convicted of a felony. It&rsquo;s better to be up front about your indiscretions than fib about it and get caught. At that point, you look like a criminal <i>and</i> a liar.</p> <p><b>4. Ancestry.com</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Ancestry.com is intriguing and interesting because it&rsquo;s an incredible way to learn about your family history. But like any other tidbits of information about you that appear on the web, the information on Ancestry can inadvertently cause you more stress than you signed up for.</p> <h3>How to Protect Yourself<b><br /> </b></h3> <p>You could stop using the internet entirely&hellip;just kidding. Follow these steps.<b><br /> </b></p> <p><b>1. Research Privacy Settings and Set Privacy at Maximum</b></p> <p>Every social network you join has privacy settings. If you don&rsquo;t manually change them, you&rsquo;ll receive the default settings. Those default settings are rather loose, because it <i>is</i> a social network after all, and the whole point is for you to share with the community. Sharing doesn&rsquo;t have to mean putting yourself at risk, however. Check your privacy settings and configure them accordingly. On Facebook, for example, you can choose to have your profile public or private. Keeping your profile private will only grant those who you personally allow to have access to it, greatly reducing your chances of someone from accessing your information for nefarious purposes.</p> <p><b>2. Use Google Alerts</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just celebrities whose names and likenesses are all over the web &ndash; you are, too. To keep track about what&rsquo;s posted about online as soon as it appears, set up a <a href="http://www.google.com/alerts">Google Alerts account</a>. The service will send you a message whenever it comes across any web-based material featuring your name or selected keywords.</p> <p><b>3. Don't Share Your Password</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Never, ever give your password to anyone &ndash; even the employer who thinks it&rsquo;s OK to ask for it. Outside of the office, keep your password guarded even more closely. Pick strong passwords that are easy to remember with this great tip from Mozilla (via <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5667944/how-to-choose-and-remember-great-passwords-that-live-in-your-head-video-edition">Lifehacker</a>):</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/COU5T-Wafa4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><b>4. Stay Completely Anonymous</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>Unless it is absolutely necessary, don&rsquo;t use any personal information when creating online accounts or leaving comment on websites. Also avoid using the same account name on all the websites you visit. Doing so will allow stalkers to look through all your comments and figure out your real identity.<b><br /> </b></p> <p><b>5. Just Be SMART!</b><b><br /> </b></p> <p>You can&rsquo;t stay offline forever&mdash;and even if you do, other parties will still store your information online without your permission. Your only real option is to be as informed as possible about your online privacy so you can make the best decisions regarding your safety. If you don&rsquo;t want something online, don&rsquo;t put it there.</p> <p><i>It&rsquo;s time to open up this discussion. Have you Googled yourself? What are your thoughts about online privacy? Have you been a victim of hacking or stalking? Has your employer asked for your password? We want to hear about your experience with this subject in the comments below.</i></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-must-immediately-do-after-losing-your-smartphone">8 Things You Must Immediately Do After Losing Your Smartphone</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology Equifax Google identity theft Mon, 16 Apr 2012 10:36:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 918806 at http://www.wisebread.com Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You? http://www.wisebread.com/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit reporting.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Anybody who has had their <a href="/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen" target="_blank">identity stolen</a> is usually willing to pay good money to ensure it never happens again. Weeks upon weeks upon months of tiresome paperwork, changing bank accounts, switching automatic payments, and in some cases pleading a case for wrongly damaged credit is among the giant task list of nightmarish to-dos when you’re picking up the pieces after the fact. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So what is it worth to you to try and avoid this problem altogether? Obviously, exercising due caution is easy enough to do and prudent to say the least. Don’t use a credit card or do banking over an unsecured wireless network. Be careful with your bank card and entering in PIN numbers in public places. Avoid using the same password for everything that also happens to be the name of your pet. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In this day and age, most of these techniques are relatively commonplace. But what else can you do? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Credit Reporting and Monitoring Services</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Most credit agencies like <a href="http://www.equifax.com" target="_blank">Equifax</a>, <a href="http://www.experian.com" target="_blank">Experian</a>, and <a href="http://www.transunion.com" target="_blank">TransUnion</a> have a credit reporting service you can subscribe to. For between $10 and $15 per month for example, the <a href="http://www.equifax.com/credit-product-list/" target="_blank">Equifax Credit Watch program</a> will alert you to any changes in your credit such as:</p> <ul> <li>Somebody trying to open an account in your name</li> <li>Credit inquiries made on your accounts</li> <li>Changes in your account balance beyond user-set parameters</li> <li>Even $20,000 in Identity Theft Insurance</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Experian and TransUnion have similar programs <a href="http://www.experian.com/consumer_online_products/triple_advantage.html" target="_blank">here</a> and <a href="http://www.truecredit.com/?cb=TransUnion&amp;loc=2091" target="_blank">here</a>. Most programs encompass monitoring of all three credit bureau activities, but before you race out and sign up it would be prudent to double check. Paying a monthly fee for a service that monitors only one third of your credit history is, well, only one third as good. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Initially, it seems like a good deal, worth considering – especially for those who were once bitten and now twice shy.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But upon further consideration, I begin to question the value in the name of frugality. </p> <ul> <li>Can I not hop online and check my credit balances daily (or every other day), scanning for erroneous charges? </li> <li>If somebody does a credit check on me I’d like to know, but what if instead of subscribing, I periodically order a free credit report? Each of the three credit agencies usually allow one free report per year: if I timed it right I could check my credit activity every four months. </li> <li>And although the Identity Theft insurance sounds handy, with a little bit of elbow grease, I shouldn’t have to pay any erroneous charges to my credit cards or account change fees once we’ve established the identity theft as the cause. </li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3>Then again…</h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">There’s no denying the fact that simply paying the monthly fee could be easier, and may give you some more <a href="/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses" target="_blank">free time</a> and well-deserved peace of mind. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3>Then again…</h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">$10 here and $10 there, and you’ve blown your <a href="/the-retirement-latte" target="_blank">Latte Budget</a> before even getting one drop of caffeine into your system. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So what is your credit security worth to you in this world of ever-increasing identity theft and credit crime? And what are you prepared to do about it?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what">You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-and-low-cost-ways-to-protect-your-credit">7 Free and Low Cost Ways To Protect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit card fraud credit monitoring credit reporting credit score Equifax Experian identity theft TransUnion Sat, 23 Aug 2008 01:16:25 +0000 Nora Dunn 2359 at http://www.wisebread.com