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How FICO 9 May Increase Credit Scores

by Bill Nelson - Broker

How medical debt and other collection items are tallied in a credit score is changing, potentially increasing the credit scores of millions of people.

Called the FICO 9, the new credit score changes how medical collections are treated from non-medical changes, such as credit cards. A medical debt will now damage a credit score less than paying a credit card bill on time, for example.

FICO 9 came out in 2014, but the improved credit scores could just now be coming to fruition for many consumers because it can take a few years for banks and other lenders to implement the new system.

The new FICO 9 score should give responsible borrowers better access to credit and lower rates on existing credit once the changes are accepted by the industry.

Part of the thinking behind the changes is that for many people facing medical debt collections, it isn’t something they have a lot of control over. People get sick or are in an accident and can’t control how high their medical bills are, and may not even know that their medical debt is in collections.

More than 64 million Americans have some kind of medical collection record on their credit reports, according to Experian, a credit bureau. Almost all medical debts are reported to credit bureaus by collection agencies.

The FICO score is the most widely used credit score in the country, and is used by companies selling mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and more.

Another change with FICO 9 is that older collection items will have less impact on a credit score. Other types of debt that are sold to a collection agency—such as an unpaid utility bill or phone bill, school loan or rent—can still be reported to a credit bureau, but older collections will have less impact on a credit score. If the collection item is paid back, the score will improve.

I hope you found this real estate information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate needs today!

A Simple Way to Stop Using Your Credit Card So Much

by Bill Nelson

If you’ve got a problem with credit card debt, there might be a simple solution that’s already sitting in your wallet or purse — a $20 bill.

Having cash in your pocket may seem counterintuitive. If you’ve heard the phrase “burning a hole in my pocket,” then you know how enticing it can be to spend money you’re carrying around.

But having cash on hand can cause you to spend less money than you would with a credit card — at least for small purchases — researchers have found.

A study by the Urban Institute found that using cash when a purchase is under $20 left the consumer with $104 less in revolving debt, on average. That dropped their credit card balances 2 percent below their baseline average.

For young people, the $20 cash rule led to more savings. People under 40 who were reminded “don’t swipe the small stuff” and to use cash on purchases for less than $20 had $173 less in revolving debt.

Credit keeps charging
The group also sent reminders to credit union members that “credit keeps charging” and that using a credit card adds about 20 percent to the total cost of something.

People who received that reminder didn’t significantly change the amount of their credit card debt, the survey found, but younger people did charge less. People under 40 who received the reminder about the cost going up by 20 percent with a credit card had $160 less in credit card debt.

A swipe is easy
Swiping a credit card can seem a lot easier and cheaper than using cash because you’re not parting with anything tangible. Seeing a $20 bill leave your wallet feels more like spending money than using a plastic card to buy something. After all, a $6 drink doesn’t look too bad when compared to a $5,000 spending limit on your credit card.

Having cash on hand helps you refrain from making small impulse purchases, which quickly add up. Check your credit card statement – seeing is believing.

I hope you found this information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate needs today! 

Bill Nelson - Broker

Realty One Inc.

805.610.8552

What's in your Autoresponder?

by Bill Nelson

The automatic email response – aka, the autoresponder - has become a ubiquitous part of our tech-driven society. When we’re away or tied up in meetings, having the ability to instantly let people know we’re not available allows us to feel that we’re being attentive and responsible. However, not all autoresponders are created equal. If yours doesn’t have the following components, it may be doing more harm than good:

A pleasant greeting. Your autoresponder should be pleasant and reflect your personality. Thank people for writing and assure them they will be taken care of in your absence.

An indication of why you’re unavailable. If you’re on vacation, let people know – they’ll be more likely to respect your away time. If you’re at an important conference or industry event, consider mentioning that as well. Business associates may be at the same event and can seek you out while there.

A clear explanation of your availability. There’s a big difference between checking email a few times a day and not checking email at all – so let people know exactly if and when they can expect to hear from you.

An alternative. Give clear direction as to who people can contact in your absence. Be sure to provide a colleague’s email and phone number – don’t forget the extension.

A solution for urgent matters. Consider leaving your mobile number for those who need to reach you in an emergency.

A date when you’ll be back in action. Let people know the date or time when you’ll be back and able to manage your email again.  

When executed properly, autoresponders can be a great way to reflect your professionalism and commitment to those you deal with. Spend a little time and put some polish on your next one—and don’t forget to turn it off as soon as you’ve returned.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3