Frugal Feb: How to improve your credit rating
News from DollyMix:

For the majority of people, credit is a fact of life. Even if you never live beyond your means and prefer to avoid credit cards at all costs, everything from mobile phone contracts to mortgages require you to “get credit” and the higher your personal credit rating, the better the deals you’ll be offered.

If you’re new to credit, or are having difficulty being accepted for the product you want, you might be surprised by what lenders are looking for when providing it.

Read on for a few tips on how to get your credit record in excellent shape.

1. Get on the electoral roll

Have you moved house recently? If so, you are likely to have difficulty obtaining credit for one good reason: you won’t be registered to vote at that address yet. Local councils update their electoral roll at regular (but not always frequent) intervals, so they best way to avoid this problem is to register to vote as soon as you have details of your new address. Contact y…………… continues on DollyMix

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Mortgage myths keep some buyers from looking
News from Grand Junction Sentinel:

This home at 3140 Summit Meadows is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows for a 10 percent down payment. Jason Holm with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, three-bath home with 1,948 square feet, for $ 174,900.



Staff

This home at 3140 Summit Meadows is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows for a 10 percent down payment. Jason Holm with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, three-bath home with 1,948 square feet, for $ 174,900.

This home is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows buyer to put a 10 percent down payment instead of the traditional 20 percent. David Durham with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, two-bath home for $ 154,900.



Staff

This home is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows buyer to put a 10 percent down payment instead of the traditional 20 percent. David Durham with Bray Real Estate…………… continues on Grand Junction Sentinel

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How To Improve Your Credit Score

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Common Things That Improve And Lower Credit Scores
News from San Francisco Chronicle:

A credit score is a numeric expression that helps lenders evaluate a person’s credit report and estimate the risk of extending credit or loaning money to people. A person’s credit score is provided to lenders by the three major credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The most common credit score is the FICO score, named after software developer Fair Isaac and Corporation.

Since a person’s credit score affects his or her ability to qualify for different credit types and varying interest rates, it is in a person’s best interest to achieve the highest credit score possible. Understanding the factors that can negatively affect a credit score can help people work towards a more favorable score. This article will introduce how a FICO score is calculated, what factors are not included in a FICO score, and the common things that lower a person’s credit score.

How is the FICO Score Calculated?
It is helpful to understand what factors are considered when determining a person’s credit score. A FICO score is based on five factors:

  • 35%: payment history
  • 30%: amounts owed
  • 15%: length of credit history
  • continues on San Francisco Chronicle

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Realtors share the 10 top myths about credit scores
News from San Jose Mercury News:

Since lenders have tightened their loan requirements, there has been much concern about credit. Unfortunately, many borrowers do not have the correct information about how credit scores are evaluated, according to professional credit specialists.

“Certain facts about credit will affect you and any financial decision you make or are about to make, so it’s important to have the correct information,” says Julie Macc, a certified credit and identity theft specialist with the Century Law Group.

Macc notes your credit score is based on the following components: past delinquencies, 35 percent; debt ratio, 30 percent; average age of file, 15 percent; mix of credit, 10 percent; and inquiries, 10 percent. She asked members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors to share with their clients the following top myths about these components and how credit scores are evaluated.

Myth No. 1: It is good to pay your credit card balance in full. If you pay off a balance and leave a zero balance account, you will have no payment history. After six months, some companies look at it as an inactive account, which can be closed due to inactivity. It is best to leave a small balance every month (ideally 1 percent) to show you can pay on time.

Myth No. 2: I don’t need to check my credit because I pay my bil…………… continues on San Jose Mercury News

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What you can do to improve your credit score
News from ABC Action News:

If you have a bad credit score, the affects can be immediate – and harsh. A bad credit report can stop you from getting a job or renting an apartment.

A lot of you ask us how to raise your credit score, like Chris in Phoenix.

“Why does it take longer for your credit score numbers to improve after you pay off bills that are affecting your score?” he asked us.

We took his question to an expert, Mike Sullivan, the Director of Education with Take Charge America , a non-profit organization that teaches financial education.

He says a credit problem shows up on your report in 30 days tops. Then, it takes seven years to get rid of it.  

But, we have a few tricks to get the score up:

First, if you can, never use more than 20 percent of your available credit. If you’ve maxed out all of your credit cards, it’s a sign of financial distress, according to Sullivan.

Also, don’t close any accounts. Every time you do, Sullivan says, you lower your amount of available credit – and the percentage of it that you’re using goes up.

And be sure to check your credit score regularly. If there are mistakes, you can contest them with the credit bureaus.

And when you go to check that score, don’t be fooled by those business sites. Go to the only one that’s authorized by t…………… continues on ABC Action News

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Minimum Credit Score to Qualify for an FHA Loan
News from The Dough Roller:

My sister recently signed a contract to buy a home. Given the market and interest rates, she got a great deal. And she’s financing the purchase with an FHA loan. So it seemed timely to talk about the minimum credit score you need to qualify for an FHA mortgage.

As a quick review, an FHA loan is a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (which is part of HUD). A big advantage of an FHA mortgage is that the required down payment is typically a lot lower than other mortgages. While the down payment does vary depending on the exact FHA program, 3.5% of the purchase price is common. And for our purposes today, the required credit score is also significantly lower than what most would consider to be a good score. The credit score requirements differ depending on several factors.

First, let’s consider the requirements for maximum FHA financing. The most that the FHA will finance is 96.5% of a home’s value. (In lender parlance, this is expressed as 96.5% loan to value ratio.) This means that an applicant will have to have 3.5% on hand to use for a down payment. In order to rece…………… continues on The Dough Roller

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What you can do to improve your credit score
News from ABC15.com (KNXV-TV):

PHOENIX – If you have a bad credit score, the affects can be immediate – and harsh. A bad credit report can stop you from getting a job or renting an apartment.

A lot of you ask us how to raise your credit score, like Chris in Phoenix.

“Why does it take longer for your credit score numbers to improve after you pay off bills that are affecting your score?” he asked us.

We took his question to an expert, Mike Sullivan, the Director of Education with Take Charge America , a non-profit organization that teaches financial education.

He says a credit problem shows up on your report in 30 days tops. Then, it takes seven years to get rid of it.  

But, we have a few tricks to get the score up:

First, if you can, never use more than 20 percent of your available credit. If you’ve maxed out all of your credit cards, it’s a sign of financial distress, according to Sullivan.

Also, don’t close any accounts. Every time you do, Sullivan says, you lower your amount of available credit – and the percentage of it that you’re using goes up.

And be sure to check your credit score regularly. If there are mistakes, you can contest them with the credit bureaus.

And when you go to check that score, don’t be fooled by those business sites. Go to the only one that’s autho…………… continues on ABC15.com (KNXV-TV)

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BBB Advises Consumers To Check Credit Reports Regularly With Credit Bureaus
News from STLtoday.com:

St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 7, 2012 – Keeping tabs on your credit report is an important part of staying fiscally fit, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises. However, consumers should avoid using some advertised services that promise “free” credit reports, credit scores or credit monitoring services.

 “Pulling your credit report on a regular basis is a smart way for consumers to stay on top of their financial health,” said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. “The reports also can help you figure out whether someone has stolen your identity or tried to commit financial fraud.”

Many advertisements on television or online claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores” or “free credit monitoring.” Often, the service is free only if you sign up for another service that isn’t free. In some cases, the advertisers may be attempting to steal your identity or sign you up for something that results in a monthly fee charged to a credit card.

The only way to get a truly free copy of a credit report is by using a service sponsored by the three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and Transunion. The service is available at

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Resolutions: 3 steps to improve your credit score
News from The Boston Globe:

You didn’t get into a credit mess overnight, so don’t expect to get out of it quickly. It will take time to bring your credit score up, but don’t let that deter you.

Credit scores are an integral part of life, yet the ratings remain a mystery to many. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a Visa Inc. survey incorrectly believed that employment history was factored in; almost 59 percent mistakenly thought the interest rates on their current debts played a role.

The most commonly used scoring system is produced by FICO Inc. and uses a range between 300 and 850. An individual can have several FICO scores. That’s because the company creates a separate formula for scoring various types of lending – mortgages, credit cards, auto loans – as well as other financial transactions, such as insurance.

All FICO scores weigh factors like payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, how much new credit a borrower has sought recently, and the types of credit used (mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and so forth).

These details are on your credit report, compiled by credit reporting agencies. There are three main ones; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

It’s important to know how the scores lenders use vary from the “educational’’ scores peddled by the credit reporting agencies and other companies, said Liz Weston, author…………… continues on The Boston Globe

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Soft checks for loans and credit cards: Avoid damaging your credit score
News from This is Money:

By Tara Evans

Last updated at 11:21 AM on 19th January 2012

Some comparison websites and lenders are offering customers ‘soft’ credit searches when applying for loans and credit cards. These promise to not leave a footprint on your credit rating – but how do they work? And are they reliable?

Whenever you make an application for a credit card or loan it leaves a mark on your credit score.

Applications typically make up about 10 per cent of your credit score – so making a large number of applications can have a negative impact on your rating.

Assured: Multiple applications for credit can damage your score – we explain how new ‘soft’ checks help you find the most suitable product.

James Jones of credit reference agency Experian says: ‘Every application that is made leaves a footprint on your credit report. If you’re making a lot of applications in a short space of time then this can have a negative impact on your score.’

However, some comparison sites and lenders have introduced a ‘soft’ check feature to give customers an indication if they’re likely to get accepted for a product.

The majority of fi…………… continues on This is Money

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How To Improve Your Credit Score
News from Consumer Affairs:

A common concern among people writing to ConsumerAffairs.com is their credit score. They often worry how some action will affect their credit.

“We were in financial hardship and were needing to short sell our condo,” Nicolette, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, told ConsumerAffairs.com. “We were told by CitiMortgage that we needed to be at least 60 days late on our mortgage payments in order to qualify for a short sell. We had excellent credit scores, and had never missed a payment on anything in our lives. But, in order to qualify for the short sale we stopped making payments and were 90 days late by the time the sale closed. Because of this misinformation, our credit scores have been ruined.”

Once your credit score has been damaged, is there any way to restore it? Fortunately, there is.

Arm yourself with information

For starters, pull your credit reports using

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Your Credit Score, Your Money, & What`s at Stake (Paperback)


Today, a good credit score is essential for getting decent terms on credit–or for getting credit at all. But that's just the beginning: You're now being judged on your credit score by everyone from employers to cellphone carriers. Now, MSNBC/L.A. Times journalist Liz Weston has thoroughly updated her best-selling guide to credit scores, with crucial new information for protecting (or rebuilding) yours. Your Credit Score, Fourth Edition thoroughly covers brand-new laws changing everything from how your credit score can be used to how you can communicate with collectors. This edition also adds simple graphics revealing exactly how much skipped payments, bankruptcies, and other actions will lower your scores, and how long it takes to rebound. You'll find new information on "FAKO" alternative scores… expanded coverage of short sales, foreclosures, the new FICO 8 Mortgage Score, and when to "walk away" from a mortgage… guidance on protecting yourself against new credit risks from social networking and mobile banking… expanded coverage of credit scoring by insurers… and an all-new chapter on safeguarding against unethical or illegal use of credit scores by employers. Weston updates her expert guidance on using FICO 08 to raise your score… fighting lower limits and higher rates… maintaining the right mix of cards and balances… bouncing back from bad credit… choosing credit "solutions" that help, not hurt… and much more!
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How to improve your credit score
News from Business Insider:

Here’s something that you’ll almost never see on a financial TV show:

Consider 2 people…

  • One has great credit
  • The other has poor credit

In their 30s, they decide to buy houses of similar prices.

How much do you think they pay?

Simply by virtue of having different credit scores, the person with poor credit will pay over $ 68,000 more than the person with excellent credit.

Source: MyFico.com. Data calculated in October 2011.

Over $ 68,000. How many lattes is that worth?

THAT is the power of having a great credit score. Yet most “experts” will either (1) continue yammering on about lattes and clipping coupons, or (2) give worthless, high-level advice like “Improve your credit!” (Okay…how? Jackass.)

They do this because lattes and coupons are…………… continues on Business Insider
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Tips On Transferring Your Credit Card Balance To Another Issuer
News from Forbes:

Many credit card consumers are once again being flooded with attractive offers to transfer their existing balance to another issuer. Several issuers are now offering 0% interest rates for over a year on balance transfers and purchases. Most of these offers are going to cardholders with good or excellent credit scores since they represent less risk of defaulting.

If you have good credit and your credit card APR is currently above 15%, this may be a good time to consider transferring your balance to a credit card with a lower rate. Transferring your balance to a card with a 0% introductory rate can save a consumer a significant amount of money. If you currently have a balance of $ 5,000 and an APR of 15%, a 0% rate for a year will save $ 750 in interest payments.

But there are several tips for consumers when considering a balance transfer:

continues on Forbes
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The Credit Video “Fundamentals”

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How to improve your credit score
News from Christian Science Monitor:

Whenever you have a tangible way of keeping “score” on something, there are fundamental techniques that you can use to improve that “score.” This isn’t just true for your credit.

Given that an article entitled “Improving Your Score” appears on The Simple Dollar, most readers might assume that the tips that follow are going to deal with improving their credit score.

Skip to next paragraph

Trent Hamm

The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds –…………… continues on Christian Science Monitor

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How to Check and Improve Your Credit Score
News from Lifehacker:

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Do you need to improve your credit score?
News from Belleville News Democrat:

It’s time to improve your credit score. A higher score can help you grab a lower interest rate on loans and credit cards. T. Rowe Price, an investment management company with a Boca Raton, Fla., office, reported that consumers with high credit scores can save as much as $ 300 a month in a lower house payment on a $ 300,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. That’s because good credit risks are rewarded with a lower interest rate — in some cases more than 1.5 percent less. Here are five ways to improve your score, according to T. Rowe Price:

1. Get into a habit of paying down debt. And don’t think you have solved your debt problem by moving it around. Moving balances can actually hurt your score.

2. Make interest payments on time. Lenders like to see a history of responsible paying. You might want to consider automatic payments if you forget about those monthly bills.

3. D…………… continues on Belleville News Democrat

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Homebuyer Reality Check: It’s a buyer’s market
News from News-Herald.com:

Why are so few people buying houses? One of the key reasons is falling prices.

Although lower prices encourage true bargain hunters to look for deals, they can also scare off homebuyers who fear the bottom has yet to come. And, between the two, anxiety is winning.

This spring, home prices in major cities were back to the same levels reported in the summer of 2003. Although prices in several locations are beginning to rise again, even with the increases, housing remains the weakest part of the U.S. economy. Prices won’t fully recover until the glut of foreclosures for sale is reduced, companies start hiring in greater numbers, banks ease lending rules and more people get comfortable again with buying a house.

Laura Young and her husband, Andre Gjerde, wrestled with whether a weak housing market was a great opportunity or a serious risk.

“We were keepin…………… continues on News-Herald.com

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Credit Scores and Credit Reports 3rd ed: How The System Really Works, What You Can Do (Credit Scores & Credit Reports: How the System Really Works,)
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