Don’t Risk Your Credit Score In Retirement – WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

Cancelling infrequently used credit cards may seem like a good strategy, but your credit score may be adversely affected. Adam Carroll, Founder and Chief Education Officer of National Financial Educators, explains: “When you have a long-standing trade line, which is what a credit card is considered on your credit report, and you cancel that card for whatever reason, your score will actually go down as a result because one of the main impacts on your credit score is the length of credit history.” A shorter credit history translates to higher risk in the eyes of lenders.

Sean McQuay, Credit and Banking Expert at NerdWallet, agrees but includes another reason to keep older cards, noting that closing a card account results in “decreasing your overall credit line, which basically signals that a bank trusts you less.”

In addition to decreasing your overall credit line, closing an infrequently used account raises your credit utilization your total credit in use compared to your cumulative credit line. High credit utilization suggests a greater chance of falling behind on payments and/or defaulting on debts.

To avoid these pitfalls, make periodic small purchases on all your open credit cards to keep them active and pay the balances in full at the end of each billing period. By keeping credit spending low, you can still address debts while getting the full benefits of your credit account.

It’s okay to concentrate most of your credit spending in one account to maximize rewards. Just use alternate accounts often enough to keep them from being closed for lack of activity.

Source: Don’t Risk Your Credit Score In Retirement – WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

Wells Fargo Ends Personal Lines of Credit: What It Means for Consumers

“How your credit score could be affected

The effect of a Wells Fargo line of credit depends on your unique credit profile, said Tommy Lee, principal scientist for the FICO data and credit scoring company, in an emailed statement.

Several factors affect your credit score, and your available credit compared to credit used has a big influence. If you have multiple open credit cards with high limits and low balances, then the impact should be low. But if your other accounts have low limits and high balances, it could hurt.

“When a line of credit is closed, some of your available credit is off the table,” Lee said. ”The lower your ratio of balances to your total credit limits, the better with respect to your FICO score.”

Closing an account also reduces your average age of accounts and your number of accounts, both of which have a smaller influence on your score…” See complete article from Waco Tribune-Herald

OUCH! This triple whammy will hurt many, many folks FICO Scores.

Does Settling Credit Card Debt Affect Your Credit Score?

The following article from US News and World Reports is factual although overly dramatic in the damage to your credit caused by bankruptcy. The words of caution on debt settlement, on the other hand, are a little mild. Debt settlement almost always fails.

“…Even worse for the credit card company, you might file for bankruptcy, making it highly unlikely that the company will recoup any of the money you owe,” Latham says.

However, the option of debt settlement isn’t available to just anyone. There needs to be evidence that you realistically can’t afford to pay your debt. “Typically, they will only do this if you default on your credit card debt, meaning you have missed your payments six months in a row,” says Katie Ross, executive vice president of American Consumer Credit Counseling.

Settling a debt might sound like a Get Out of Jail Free card, but there are consequences if you go this route. Namely, your credit will take a major hit.

How Debt Settlement Affects Your Credit…”

If you are considering debt settlement vs bankruptcy you’ll wish to read this article.

Financially Speaking™ James Spray, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | June 19, 2021

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may use this information in whole and not in part providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

8 things you should know about credit

Diana Billstrom wanted to rebuild her credit score, but she wasn’t sure where to start.

Though she knew the basics, Billstrom wanted to learn more.

“I think we all need financial education, no matter our age or neighborhood,” she said.

When she heard that Walnut Way Conservation Corp. was offering a webinar in February on credit scores called “Keeping Score: Everything You Never Knew About Credit,” she signed up.

Jackie Carter, the director of economic empowerment at YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, led the workshop, which was made possible through a grant from the Zilber Family Foundation.

Source: 8 things you should know about credit | Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

How to Make Sense of Your (Dozens of) Credit Scores – Consumer Reports

“Focusing On the Scores That Matter

Given these various brands and scoring formulas, it’s unlikely that a consumer will ever see the exact same score that the lender is using to make a credit decision.

“Even if you both are looking at the same formula and brand, your credit data is likely to vary from day to day, producing a different score,” says Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy at Experian.

Some of the biggest differences may crop up when comparing your base FICO 8 score to a FICO mortgage score. Mortgage lenders use older FICO formulas, which are required for mortgages sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that purchase most residential home mortgage loans.

These older FICO scores used in mortgage lending will weigh some factors more heavily or lightly than the newer scores. For example, if you have debt collection accounts with zero balances, they won’t be counted by more recent scoring formulas. But under the mortgage score formulas, they will be considered…”

Source: How to Make Sense of Your (Dozens of) Credit Scores – Consumer Reports

Consumer complaints continue to hit all-time highs at the CFPB

“You can generally see your credit report for free, especially during the pandemic. You’ll need to file disputes with both the credit bureau(s) at fault and the company that made the alleged mistake,” Mierzwinski told ConsumerAffairs.

“If you also file a complaint with the CFPB, you’ll have a better chance of getting action to resolve your problem. The CFPB doesn’t take over your complaint, but it requires followup by both the credit bureau(s) and the company, and that means you’ve gotten their attention.”

Source: Consumer complaints continue to hit all-time highs at the CFPB

One Side Effect of the Virus: Free Credit Reports Each Week – The New York Times

“…You can now get free copies of your credit report from the three big credit bureaus each week. That’s right: weekly.

That’s an improvement over the one-free-report-a-year quota that prevailed before the pandemic. And while it won’t fix the potential credit woes that consumers are facing as millions lose their jobs or get pay cuts, it can be a helpful tool to stay on top of your finances.

“Checking your credit report is very important,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

A brief refresher about your credit report: It is a summary of your debts and your payment record, as reported by lenders to the three bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. ..”

Misconceptions thwart successful retirements | Pacific Coast Business Times

Just The Facts

“…Home equity is the largest asset of American families. Both retirees and their financial advisers may not understand that a reverse mortgage is a retirement strategy. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage is the Federal Housing Administration’s reverse mortgage program that allows qualified retirees to stay in their own home by withdrawing some of the home equity. My study found that it improved 10 percent of the couples’ households and 9 percent of singles’ households in California. In California, 64 percent of couples’ households and 53 percent of singles’ households are eligible for HECM.”

Source: Misconceptions thwart successful retirements | Pacific Coast Business Times

 

 

Financially Speaking™ James Spray, RMLO | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | February 18, 2020

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your situation. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may reproduce this information in whole and not in part, providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

New FICO Score 10 Suite May Impact Your Credit Score

Coming Summer 2020

New FICO Score 10 Suite May Impact Your Credit Score Among other enhancements, including trended credit, “...FICO Score 10’s backward compatibility to previous FICO Score versions ensures continuity, ease of use and stability for lenders and investors. Lenders can more easily transition to FICO Score 10 since it includes standard FICO reason codes, a similar odds-to-score relationship as prior versions and consistent score ranges…” 

The FICO Press Release January 23, 2020: FICO Introduces New FICO Score 10 Suite

The following column was published by Steve Altonian, The Credit Cowboy, on January 29, 2020. His insights and research on the new FICO Score 10 Suite are quite valuable.

Your credit score — that all-important passport within the financial world — is about to change. And it won’t necessarily be because of anything you did or didn’t do.
The Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that creates the widely used three-digit FICO score, is tweaking its formula. Consumers in good financial standing should see their scores bounce a bit higher. But millions of people already in financial distress may experience a fall — meaning they’ll have more trouble getting loans or will pay more for them. Initial projections are consumers with a 680 plus FICO should get a 20 point increase….600 & below a 20 point decrease.
The changes don’t alter the main ingredients of your score, but they do take a more finely tuned view of certain financial behaviors that indicate signs of financial weakness.
For example, consumers who consolidate their credit card debt into a personal loan and then run up the balance on their cards again will be judged more severely.
“The new scores reflect nuanced changes in consumer credit trends that we observed from our analysis of millions of credit files,” said Dave Shellenberger, vice president of product management at FICO, whose scores generally range from 300 to 850 (the higher, the better).
What’s changing?
Some of the changes, like carrying a personal loan as well as credit-card debt, affects both new scores. But there are more substantial changes involving the FICO 10 T version. The biggest shift, however, concerns the amount of debt you carry, experts said. In the past, people trying to polish their scores right before applying for loans were told to pay off their credit cards or get the balances as low as possible a month or two before submitting an application. That won’t work as well now.
1. Trended Data– Instead of looking at just a static month of your balances, FICO 10 T will look at the past two years or more, which will give lenders more insight into how you’re managing your credit over time. That should mean your scores will better reflect the trajectory of your behavior. This also means late payments will now have a bigger increase on the scoring model. (Incidentally, VantageScore, a lesser-known score provider that is a joint venture of the three big credit-reporting companies, has already incorporated this into its formula.) I am wondering if this will close the scoring gap between a “soft-pull” & a “hard-pull”. Say, for example Credit Karma. It seems to me that gap may close point-wise. We shall see….
Trended data gives lenders a different view of borrowers
FICO 10T will use trended data to show lenders something different about borrowers from their traditional information. Trended data gives prospective lenders borrowers’ key balance and payment data for the past 24 months, which enables them to see consumers’ behavior trends and determine if they’re carrying balances, consolidating or paying off their balances each month. “Many lenders want to leverage the most comprehensive data possible to make precise lending decisions,” Jim Wehmann, executive vice president for scores at FICO, said in a news release. “By offering a score that taps further into trended data, we’re able to give lenders greater flexibility and predictive power, as well as ease of integration.”
A high credit utilization ratio (the percentage of total debt you’re carrying compared to total available credit) isn’t a new red flag for lenders, but the FICO 10 T score gives that statistic even more weight if credit card balances hover close to set spending limits for an extended period of time. It’ll also look at how your debt balances have changed—and if they’ve been climbing over time.
“Previously we have only really looked at the most recent balance for that important information,” Shellenberger said. “Whatever has been reported by the credit card company is what that score is based on. But now we can look at how that has trended over the past 24 months. It looks at averages rather than one or two points in time where your balances were higher.”
Paying off your card a month or two before you apply for a Mortgage loan? That’s not the best advice anymore, & The Credit Cowboy has been giving that advice to his clients for years. Now, my advice is changing: You want to get your credit card balances down multiple months in advance, or at least have them trending down for months in a row and then have balances at a low before you apply. You need to plan ahead, whereas before you did not. THE FUNNY THING IS: When I first got into the credit repair business as a young man, I erroneously believed they used TRENDED DATA at the time. I stopped telling people that about 8 years ago, and now today that is EXACTLY the scoring model we have in place….I just made sense to see a trend than to allow someone to all of a sudden pay down a credit card and all is good.
2. Installment loans carry LESS weight on the FICO model
This is the first time a FICO scoring model looks closely at how consumers are using personal loans to see if there is reason to penalize a borrower. 
“We are now able to distinguish personal loans from other credit obligations, so we can look at personal loans along with everything else that’s going on in your credit profile,” Shellenberger said. 
For example, if you transfer credit card debt to a new personal loan account but then use your freed-up spending limits to accumulate even more debt, that may ding your FICO 10 T score.
“The FICO score has always taken balance-type information into account and that’s still a critical component.” 
Why change scores now?
FICO adjusts its scores every few years, drawing on consumer behavior and patterns that emerge from the vast trove of data it tracks. This time, the company is offering two new scores, FICO 10 and FICO 10 T, and both differ from the previous formula.
Given the strength of the job market and other factors, many consumers are managing their credit well. Late payment rates across all household debts are at their lowest levels since at least 2005, according to a recent analysis from Moody’s Analytics, and credit scores have been trending higher
Even so, a significant number of lower- and middle-income Americans are struggling, and consumer debt levels are quite high. And lenders are always trying to shield themselves from losses, should economic conditions deteriorate. FICO says the new scores will make it easier for lenders to gauge a borrower’s risk.
How and when will the changes affect me?
Most consumers, or 110 million people, will see modest swings, if they see any change at all, according to FICO. But about 40 million people who already have favorable scores are expected to gain about 20 points, while another 40 million with lower scores will probably see a drop.
But not every lender will use the new scores right away.
People applying for most mortgages will not be affected, at least for now. That’s because home loans guaranteed or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which include the vast majority of mortgages, are still required to use older versions of the FICO score.
Many other lenders are also using older FICO formulas, and it remains to be seen how quickly they adopt the new scoring method — or if they will decide to change.
The big credit-reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — will all offer the updated scores by the end of the year. Equifax will be first
How can I improve my score?
Because the FICO 10 T calculation has a longer field of vision, it pays to get your financial life in shape as early as possible before applying for a loan.
You still want to review your credit reports, which contain the raw data that power your scores, at each of the three big reporting companies. But now you should plan further ahead and check them even earlier, because an error about a missed payment can hurt you more, and correcting the mistake can take time.

Image attribution

Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | January 25, 2020

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your situation. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may reproduce this information in whole and not in part, providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

How Credit Actions Impact FICO Scores – FICO

How much does missing a payment impact a FICO® Score? What about reducing credit card balances? New FICO research simulated how different credit events may impact FICO® Score 9 for five different credit profiles, as seen in Figure 1 below. These representative profiles were selected because they had credit characteristics (payment history, utilization, etc.) that were generally typical of the five scores shown below.

Source: How Credit Actions Impact FICO Scores – FICO

Image Credit

Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | July 9, 2019

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your situation. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may reproduce this information in whole and not in part, providing you give full attribution to James Spray