DR 112: 7 Things that Cause Your Credit Score to Fluctuate from Month-to-Month

Changes in FICO Score

Have you ever paid off a debt only to find that it caused your credit score to drop? That’s exactly what happened to Lakisher, a listener who graciously sent me the following email: “I have a question. I think I know the basics of my credit and credit report but I recently paid off my […]

Published or Updated: October 3, 2014

Should You Consolidate Debt with LendingClub or Prosper?

Debt Consolidation Top Purpose for Loans

LendingClub recently launched a new section of its website that lists statistics about borrowers and lenders. One data point that caught my eye is that about 50% of all LendingClub loans are for debt consolidation. Actually, at one point nearly 60% of all borrowers reported that they intended to use the loan to consolidate debt, […]

Published or Updated: August 18, 2014

DR 097: 3 Key Changes Just Made to the FICO Credit Scoring Formula

FICO 9

The Fair Isaac Corp., better known as FICO, has introduced three major changes to its secret credit scoring formula. The changes relate to items referred to collections, medical debt, and consumers with limited credit history.  Believe it or not, these changes may result in higher scores for many consumers. Here are details on the three […]

Published or Updated: August 10, 2014

DR 080: How to Build Credit When You Are Just Starting Out (the Smart Way)

How to Build Credit for the First Time

It’s official. Credit scores are the most confusing aspect of personal finance. The FICO formula remains largely a mystery. And don’t get me started on the multiple versions of credit scores out there. By one account, you may have 49 different FICO scores, not to mention dozens of credit scores calculated using non-FICO formulas. So […]

Published or Updated: June 24, 2014

DR 072: What Credit Score do You Need to Buy a Home?

FICO 9

When it comes to mortgages and credit scores, there are two really important questions to ask: What credit score do I need to qualify for a mortgage? What credit score do I need to get the lowest interest rate on a mortgage? These different but related questions are important if you are looking to buy […]

Published or Updated: June 3, 2014

How To Get Your REAL Credit Score – The One That Lenders See

Real Credit Score

A reader recently wrote in asking about credit scores. She wanted to understand why the credit score she received from the credit bureaus was different than the score used by her bank. Here’s her question: Q: I enjoy reading your blog. I have one question regarding the credit scores. I checked my credit scores with […]

Published or Updated: April 24, 2014

5 Factors to Consider Before Using a HELOC for Your Emergency Fund

A reader named Brian asks whether it’s a sound move to use a home equity line of credit as an emergency fund: Rob, I enjoy your podcast, and I have great respect for your approach to personal finance. The 31-Day Money Challenge actually had me looking forward to my daily commute. I have a simple […]

Published or Updated: April 15, 2014

Credit Score Piggybacking Survival Guide

Credit Score Piggybacking

Getting the ball rolling when building (or rebuilding) credit is a classic catch-22. You need credit to build credit. If you have absolutely no credit history – or if you have a bottomed-out credit score – then lenders are less likely to extend the credit you need to start building your FICO score. You may […]

Published or Updated: March 17, 2014

DR 042: A Complete Guide to Hard and Soft Pull Credit Inquiries

how to use an HSA

The formula thet generates a FICO credit score is made up of several components. Some of these components you would expect to see, such as paying your bills on time. But there is one component that takes a lot of people by surprise: credit inquires. A credit inquiry is a record of every time somebody […]

Published or Updated: April 1, 2014