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Ask an Expert: Will closing a credit card improve my score?

Dear reader, While closing a credit card may seem like a good way to improve your score, it could actually have the opposite effect. When you look at the factors that influence your credit score, the most important ones are the payment history (which accounts for 35% of your score) and the credit utilization ratio (30%), followed by the length of your credit history (15%), and your credit mix and …Read More

Ask an Expert: What’s a Good Credit Score?

Q. What’s a good credit score?   Dear reader, A “good” score is generally considered to be around 700 or above in a score range of 300–850. However, this number is more of a loose guideline than an actual rule. As you have probably noticed, depending on the credit bureau you consult, the website you use to view your score, or the lender evaluating your creditworthiness, your score will vary and …Read More

Ask an Expert: What can I do if I cosigned a car loan for a vehicle that is inoperable and repossessed?

Q. What are the options for someone who cosigned on a car loan for a vehicle that is now inoperable and repossessed?   A: Dear reader, A car repossession is one of those situations that requires fast action to mitigate the legal and financial impact.  An NFCC counselor can work with you to understand the financial implications of car repossession on your budget and credit.  However, you should also consider …Read More

Ask an Expert: Can I get my mortgage payments reported to my credit report to increase my credit score?

Q: Hi, my credit score is very low because of medical issues my family has been dealing with. Besides my own home, I own two other investment properties. On each of these properties, I have mortgages with friends, and I have been making my payments on time. I have been working hard on improving my score so I can refinance and lower my percentage rate. If we reported to the …Read More

Ask an Expert: How to Remove an Account From Your Credit Report

Q:  I am having trouble removing an account from my credit report. The account is not mine. Each time I dispute it and the credit bureau removes it; the account reappears about two months later. What can I do to get this off my report forever?   A: Dear reader, It’s easy to understand your frustration when it seems that you are doing all the things that should produce a final …Read More

Ask an Expert: When should you file bankruptcy?

Q: I am in over my head with medical bills and credit card payments, struggling to make ends meet each month. I’m several months past due. A friend mentioned that I should maybe consider bankruptcy. Where should I begin? A: Dear reader, You have taken a significant step to regain control of your situation by exploring possible solutions. As your friend mentioned, bankruptcy could be the only option for some people. …Read More

Ask an Expert: What Goes Into a Credit Score and How to Improve It

Q: I recently opened a couple of department store credit cards and noticed a drop in my credit score. Why did this happen? What goes into a credit score and how can I improve it? A: Dear reader, I appreciate your question because most of us overlook the long-term effects that opening new credit lines can have on our credit score. We usually think about the short-term benefits, such as …Read More

Ask an Expert: How does credit counseling affect my credit score?

  Q: How does credit counseling affect my credit score? A: Dear reader, I applaud you for recognizing the importance of a healthy credit score. A healthy credit rating can help lead to home ownership, auto financing and the lowest rates for credit cards. Working with a financial professional is a good way to learn ways that help you manage your debt to get the best results. Simply talking to …Read More

Understanding the Importance of a Credit Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) releases a yearly summary of complaints related to the financial service industry, which includes credit reporting agencies. Based on a tally of all complaints submitted to the CFPB website in 2016, the greatest portion were about credit reporting issues. By the numbers, that comes to more than 43,000, or about 23% of the total 186,000 complaints. While the CFPB doesn’t collect data about how …Read More

Prepared for the Ongoing Expenses that Come With Getting a Pet as a Gift?

There are all sorts of gifts that can leave a lasting impression. Your first bike, the nice sweater from your parents, a new set of golf clubs and the latest tech gadget are all examples of presents that remain etched in your memory. Pets can easily fit into that category as well, especially for one reason that might be surprising to some. While nearly everyone melts at the sight of …Read More