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: June 18, 2014

FICO vs. FAKO–Does it Matter?

Recently a number of readers have dismissed free credit score services like Quizzle and Credit Sesame, noting that these services don’t provide you with your “official” FICO score. The argument goes like this. These FAKO scores, as they’re called, don’t show you the actual credit score that lenders will use. Therefore, the scores are worthless. […]

Published or Updated: April 3, 2014

Minimum Credit Score to Qualify for an FHA Loan

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 […]

Published or Updated: February 9, 2012

Cash or Credit – How Should You Pay?

Using Cash

Photo: Rareclass Trying to figure out the best way to manage your money takes some careful thought. One money management question we face everyday is deceptively simple–should you pay with cash or credit. On the surface the choice between paying with cash or using a credit card seems straightforward. Many of us make this decision […]

Published or Updated: January 17, 2012

Comparison of Layway Plans from 5 Major Retailers

Screen-Shot-2011-12-12-at-11.55.39-AM

Photo: Irargerch Is layaway smart? According to Senator Charles Schumer (NY) layaway programs are deceptive and misleading. Senator Schumer is prepared to take on layaway programs with the same force that he used to take on the credit card companies. Schumer is the one who put the legislation in place that now requires credit card […]

Published or Updated: December 16, 2011

Get A Totally Free Credit Score from Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame

It wasn’t until a few years ago that a consumer could obtain their credit score without entering their credit card information.  Most credit monitoring services would offer a “free trial”, ready to charge the day after the trial expires.  Now, anyone can obtain their  Experian credit score for free, without entering payment information by signing […]

Published or Updated: December 20, 2011

Credit Reports vs. Credit Scores: Do You Know the Difference?

Credit Report Versus Credit Score

Last week I helped a family member get a copy of their credit report and credit score. One thing they found confusing was just what the difference was between the two. Contrary to what many believe, a credit report and a credit score are not one and the same. While they are variations on your […]

Published or Updated: March 11, 2014

How an Unpaid Traffic Ticket Can Wreck Your Credit Score

Credit Score and Mortgage Rates

So you have an unpaid traffic ticket. That’s not the crime of the century. But based on an article I read this week in the Washington Post, it could have significant ramifications for your credit score. And yes, it could cost you $65,738 or more in extra interest payments. Here’s the deal. Ashley Halsey III […]

Published or Updated: November 2, 2011

Triple Credit Report and Score from Privacy Guard for $1

Privacy Guard Square

Free credit reports are nothing new. But as we’ve have written before, while you can get your free report at AnnualCreditReport.com, it won’t come with your credit score.  A company called Privacy Guard, however, just launched a 30-day trial for $1 that allows users to check their triple credit report and score. So I decided […]

Published or Updated: November 26, 2011