We All Should Have Easier Access to Our Credit Scores

Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is urging credit companies to provide customers with their FICO credit scores for free on their monthly statements. The scores are used to determine our ability to access credit like taking out a loan for a house or car, and on our ability to get a desirable low interest rate on those loans. “Making consumers’ credit scores freely available on their monthly statement or online makes it easier for them to spot problems with their credit report,” Cordray said.

Where Did This Credit Score Come From?

Help, Billfold, I’m very confused. I just checked my credit score for the first time expecting, I don’t know, any empty dusty corner where a credit score might be (I just graduated college in the spring and had no credit card of my own or other means of credit-building). But I worked up the nerve to look as I will need it to find a new place to live and I mysteriously HAVE A CREDIT SCORE. It is in a range that Google tells me is actually a good credit score, which is where I started to get suspicious. Well, as it turns out, there is a note on the report that I have a certain amount of debt that I do not have, as well as a much larger line of credit that I have (well, would have, because I don’t have a line of credit right now). I’m guessing this is because for the semester I studied abroad, I got a credit card with my name but attached to my parents’ account. Otherwise I have no plausible explanation. How do I fix this? Do I fix this? Please help, I’m baffled. — K.

How Credit Scoring Has Changed Since the Recession

Last month, I talked about meeting with the team at Credit.com, and mentioned that I’d periodically link or post anything from them that I thought might be useful for our readers here. Here’s a piece discussing how our credit scores are determined, and how the scoring models have changed after the recession (your payment history, for example, is more important than ever before). This is our first time posting a piece like this. If there are any specific pieces about money you’re interested in seeing, feel free to email me and let me know, so I can keep an eye out for it in the future.