A Simple Plan to Establish Credit for the First Time

As my children move into adulthood, the question of establishing credit for the first time is arising. Does a bank account affect your credit? Will a prepaid debit card establish credit? Should I get a credit card? As I work through these issues with my children, it seems like a good time to cover this […]

Published or Updated: March 13, 2014

A DIY Guide to Rebuilding Your Credit Score

You can rebuild your credit score by following a few simple steps Photo: 401(K) 2012 A reader named Amber e-mailed me recently and asked the following question about repairing her credit: I just settled all of my debt and got my credit score (not good) and printed off my credit reports. They all show that […]

Published or Updated: December 20, 2012

Free Credit Report – Sometimes You Get What You Pay For

Sometimes I think Google has a sense of humor. I don’t know if the sense of humor is programmed into its search algorithm, added by Google’s search engineers, or just a fluke, but it’s definitely there. And a good example of it can be found if you search on the term “free credit report.” When […]

Published or Updated: October 13, 2012

How to Get Your Free Credit Score (with no credit card)

Not too long ago, the only way to get your free credit score was to sign up for a seven or 30-day trial. You had to enter your credit card, and if you forgot to cancel the membership, they started charging your card. Today there are several ways to get your credit score for free […]

Published or Updated: August 21, 2015

What Happens To Your Credit After a Divorce?

Divorce is painful. In addition to the emotional and familial challenges, divorce can also affect your finances. And that brings us to a question I’ve heard from a number of people: How does divorce affect your credit? First the good news. Divorce itself does not have a direct effect on your credit, credit history or […]

Published or Updated: August 3, 2012

Reader Question: Can You Refinance a Mortgage with Bad Credit

In the world of personal finance, there are easy questions and not so easy questions. Today’s reader question from Debra falls into the latter category: I would like to know if and where it is possible to refinance your mortgage from 5.25% down to the current low with bad credit and $70,000 equity. Don’t qualify […]

Published or Updated: June 18, 2014

Credit Scores and Fannie Mae–What You Need to Know

Here are three facts about mortgage applications that at first glance are difficult to reconcile: Fact 1: Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Fact 2: Real Estate prices have fallen substantially over the past few years. Fact 3: The number of mortgage applications over the past 2 months are DOWN. So what’s going on here? […]

Published or Updated: October 28, 2012

A Rare Glimpse Inside the FICO Credit Score Formula

Like the formula for Coca-Cola , the FICO credit scoring formula is a closely guarded secret. The Fair Isaac Corporation, however, does give us a glimpse into the secret sauce from time to time. For example, Fair Isaac has disclosed what factors go into its scoring model and the weight to be given each factor: […]

Published or Updated: April 30, 2012

Which FICO Scores Do Mortgage Lenders Use?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on a refinancing binge. My wife and I have refinanced our home twice in the last 12 months, and my business partner and I are doing the same with three rental properties. With mortgage rates at an all time low, these deals were just too good to pass up. […]

Published or Updated: October 2, 2015

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