Turn Extra Halloween Candy Into Cash

by ‎10-31-2012 11:33 AM - edited ‎10-31-2012 11:51 AM

Candy-Corn.jpgMany adults are dreading the excess amounts of Halloween candy that will fill their homes come tomorrow morning. In addition to potentially sabotaging your own diet, most parents don't want their kids feasting on empty sugary calories for weeks on end.


Fear not! There's an alternative that puts extra cash in your pocket and gives you the chance to teach your kids a valuable financial lesson


What's the Profile of High Credit Scorers?

by ‎10-25-2012 11:17 AM - edited ‎10-25-2012 11:19 AM

infographic-thumb.jpgWe just released revealing new research on the habits of US consumers with the highest credit scores, specifically those with FICO® Scores greater than 785.


These FICO Score “high achievers” account for roughly 25% of scorable consumers, or more than 50 million individuals. Our research highlights a common thread within their credit behavior.


Overall, these high achievers consistently make payments on time, keep low revolving balances relative to their available credit and only apply for credit that they need. 



Thinking of Buying a Car?

by on ‎10-09-2012 02:22 PM

car.jpgIf you're thinking of buying a new car, it's best to know your FICO Score before you start comparison shopping. 


Everything You Need to Know about Your FICO Score

by ‎10-02-2012 03:39 PM - edited ‎10-02-2012 03:40 PM

brochure.PNGYou've heard of the FICO® Score, but do you really know what yours means? Understanding your FICO Score will put you in a better position to manage your credit wisely. Learn more in this free e-booklet, available exclusively from myFICO.


Is Growing Student Loan Debt Impacting FICO® Scores?

by ‎09-26-2012 12:08 PM - edited ‎09-26-2012 12:09 PM

As students incur more student loan debt, lenders and investors in student loans are asking how this is affecting US consumers’ FICO® Scores. New FICO research provides interesting insights.


With education costs rapidly outpacing inflation, more consumers are taking out student loans to pay for their education. Looking at a large data sample from a credit reporting agency, we found that 6.2% of US consumers had two or more open student loans on their credit report in 2005. By 2012, that number grew to roughly 11.8%.

Consumers also have a greater amount of student loan debt today. In 2005, consumers with an open student loan on file had an average student loan debt of $17,236. In 2012, that number increased 54% to $26,549. This has outpaced growth for other types of debt, as the chart below shows.



FICO Scores Reflect Slow Economic Recovery

by on ‎09-19-2012 09:42 AM



Our FICO Labs team has taken a fresh look at national distribution of FICO® 8 Scores. With a couple of interesting exceptions, we found that consumer scores are continuing their slow return to a pre-recession pattern.


The first two years of the recession (2008-2009) moved the scores for millions of people into the lowest (300-499) and the highest (800-850) segments of the FICO® Score range. Correspondingly fewer people had scores in the middle range (600-749).



Guest post from the FICO Analytics Blog.


It's official... the term "underwater"—as applied to a mortgage loan—has made this year’s list of new words added to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. It not only reflects a mainstream recognition of this unfortunate trend, but is also sobering reminder of today’s economic reality: homeowners’ equity has been halved since 2005, leaving more than 15 million consumers underwater on their mortgages, and more than 6.5 million of those 30% or more underwater.


Financial Lessons for Kids

by ‎09-04-2012 09:33 AM - edited ‎10-31-2012 11:40 AM

kids-finance-blog-thumbnail.pngIt’s never too early to start teaching your kids about good personal finance. A few key, simple lessons about money at even a very early age will create a strong foundation of good financial habits that will benefit them for years to come. Here are some quick tips for easy finance lessons at any age:





Food isn’t free. Take your children with you while you grocery shop and tell them what different items cost. Explain that you can only buy what you can afford.


Start a piggy bank. Give your child his or her own personal piggy bank and make rules about when it can be emptied.




What is "Alternative" Credit Data?

by ‎08-30-2012 02:50 PM - edited ‎09-05-2012 10:22 AM

Guest post from the FICO Banking Analytics Blog. 


When you stop to think about it, the term “alternative credit data” is a catch-all phrase to describe data that is not currently reported on mainstream credit reports. But what, in reality, is alternative about it?


For millions of people, it may not be alternative data but the only credit record they have. For these consumers, it would seem it is primary data. Especially if that data can help them qualify for their first mainstream credit or loan. For everyone else, such data might be considered supplemental. It can be matched with an applicant’s traditional credit bureau file to provide a richer credit profile and lead to better lending decisions.


Personal Finance for Artists

by ‎08-21-2012 12:19 PM - edited ‎08-21-2012 12:44 PM


Two_dancers.jpgWhen I was in high school, I dreamed of a career on the stage. I threw myself into intensive dance and singing lessons every night after school, and spent hours in studios rehearsing musicals. I envisioned myself on a Broadway stage, rehearsed my Tony acceptance speech in the mirror, and practiced my signature for the day fans would ask for my autograph.


 Senior year, college decisions forced me to think about the logistics of my future, and suddenly my idealized vision of starring on Broadway clashed with real, pressing decisions about money, college, and my career. Understanding the harsh reality of “making it” as an actor, while also feeling the immense weight of a lifelong dream on my shoulders, I was torn. I began considering other possible careers and grappled with the idea of not spending my life on the stage.

Around that time, a director of mine asked about my plans for college.


“I’m deciding between musical theatre and environmental science,” I explained.


To my shock, he quickly responded, “Go with environmental science.”




The Hidden Costs of College

by ‎08-09-2012 10:27 AM - edited ‎08-09-2012 10:29 AM

With all the recent buzz about student loans, the skyrocketing price of higher education is a hot topic – but the financial impact of college goes far beyond just tuition. Plenty of secondary expenses aren’t factored into college "sticker prices," and many of them don’t become apparent until after students get to campus. From parking to Greek life, students should take note of these expenses when figuring out a sustainable budget for the school year:


Dorm Room: Most college dorm rooms come with a bed, a desk, and a few drawers. Students are responsible for providing everything else: lamps, rugs, pillows, bedding, hangers, etc. Take advantage of back-to-school sales and reach out to your roommate/s to split the cost of shared items. Go to your school’s Facebook page and see if upperclassmen on your campus have listed old furniture and dorm items for sale. Check Craigslist and thrift stores for gently used furniture and appliances.


Textbooks: Buying brand new books from the school bookstore can cost hundreds of dollars easily. Luckily, there are many resources for used books. Sites like Chegg.com and CampusBookRenatals.com offer used books at a much more affordable price, and rent out books at an even cheaper rate. These sites, and many others, will also buy back your books at the end of the semester. Also, reach out to upperclassmen and recent grads to see if they’re selling or giving away their books. Your school bookstore may also offer a rental program; some will rent books at half price provided they are returned in good condition at the end of the term.


Is US Consumer Credit Availability About to Expand?

by ‎08-01-2012 01:04 PM - edited ‎08-01-2012 01:06 PM

The following guest post by Andrew Jennings was originally published on the FICO Banking Analytics Blog.



Lately I’ve been examining the results of our latest quarterly survey of US bank risk managers. One item of note was regarding the outlook for credit availability.  In a positive sign, our survey found that lenders expected the supply of credit to satisfy demand for all types of consumer loans in the second half of this year. It’s a change from last quarter when survey respondents expected the credit supply for residential mortgages to fall short of demand.


Watch Out for 6 Signs of Identity Theft

by ‎07-24-2012 12:33 PM - edited ‎07-24-2012 12:42 PM

main-image-idt-jul-lp.jpgIdentity theft can have a devastating impact on your life, affecting far more than just your pocketbook. Keep an eye out for these 6 warning signs that could mean your identity has been stolen. 


College Students: Study These Tips to Build Good Credit

by ‎07-16-2012 04:12 PM - edited ‎07-16-2012 04:17 PM



Is a friend or someone in your family going off to college soon?


Here's some credit advice to pass along to the college-aged loved ones in your life. 



One card is enough.

Students should establish a responsible credit history before adding additional cards. Browse good choices for student cards.







Celebrate Financial Independence

by ‎07-03-2012 10:49 AM - edited ‎07-11-2012 12:54 PM

 The Fourth of July means barbecues, the beach, fireworks and family – but take a moment this holiday to contemplate your financial freedom. Having a great credit score makes it easier to pursue the American dream, so follow these four easy steps towards cultivating a strong FICO Score and long-term financial health.




5 Things Mom Was Right About

by ‎05-11-2012 03:27 PM - edited ‎05-16-2012 04:02 PM

We all remember our favorite Mom-isms, ranging from “if you keep making that face it’ll stick that way” to “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” However, some of those classic Mom-isms can be applied to good personal finance management. In honor of Mother’s Day and the Moms we love, here are the top 5 Mom-isms that also translate to important financial lessons.


More consumers nearing perfect FICO® Scores, but are scores improving?

by ‎05-01-2012 05:26 PM - edited ‎07-11-2012 12:55 PM

"It’s clear that there’s been a shift at both ends of the score distribution. Many consumers have moved into the top tier of the FICO® Score range by redoubling their efforts to maintain an excellent credit profile. Others have fallen into lower tiers, most likely due to the financial stress felt by many households."


Spend Your Tax Return Wisely

by ‎04-05-2012 02:24 PM - edited ‎04-05-2012 02:29 PM



Are you expecting a big tax return and dreaming of spending it on a sunny tropical vacation or a new wardrobe? Think twice. Although it may not be as glamorous as a week on the beach, using your return to pay down your credit card debt will do far more to contribute to your long-term dreams.


A survey conducted by Capitol One revealed that 33 percent of Americans planned to spend part or all of their tax refund this year.


“Most people are not factoring their annual return into their overall financial plan and long-term objectives,” says Mickey Konson, Managing Vice President for Retail Banking at Capital One Bank.  “A tax refund is often seen as free money, which makes it very tempting to spend it right away, but it’s important to remember that the refund you’re getting back is your own money. Tax season is a good opportunity for people to plan ahead, with an eye toward their future goals and financial health.”


Q&A: FICO Fitness Challenge for 2012

by ‎02-03-2012 03:51 PM - edited ‎02-03-2012 03:51 PM


Q:  What is the FICO Fitness Challenge?

A:  Now in our third year, the FICO Fitness Challenge is an annual proclamation by myFICO Forums members, declaring where they want to see their FICO scores in the coming year.  FICO Fitness Challengers announce their starting FICO scores, current scores, goal scores, and how they intend to reach their FICO goals.  Over the past couple of years, more than a thousand myFICO Forums members have found the FICO Fitness Challenge to be a great way to hold themselves personally accountable and stay on course toward better financial health.


Will your wedding cost you your credit score?

by JulieDegnan ‎06-07-2011 05:37 PM - edited ‎06-07-2011 05:41 PM

Your wedding will be one of the most important days of your life… and the most expensive. Many times, the cost of an extravagant engagement ring, followed by a blow-out wedding and a five star honeymoon can cost more than just money. 


Couples who choose to spend more on these items are also often opting to charge their expenses on credit cards. Unfortunately, if you’re not able to pay the resulting bills on time, your credit score will suffer. With a lower credit score, you can count on higher mortgage rates, interest rates and other long term financial effects. So, is it worth it?


Again this year, myFICO conducted a Valentine’s Day survey of more than three thousand myFICO customers, revealing many of their attitudes about relationships and money.  I've highlighted some of the results:


  • 34% of couples don’t discuss finances or FICO scores until well into the relationship, while almost 12% keep their income, financial standing and FICO scores entirely to themselves. 
  • 18%-22% claim to be complete opposites on the spending spectrum, or at least drastically different in their spending habits.
  • 41% keep finances separate, with another 36% of couples holding both joint and individual credit obligations.
  • 13% would quit dating someone if, within the first six months, they found out their partner was in debt and/or had a low FICO score.
  • 9% said a good FICO score is the characteristic they find most important in a date, while 82% voted for personality.

An important new amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, known as the Risk-Based Pricing Rule, went into effect on January 1, 2011. Now, lenders are required to notify a consumer when a lending decision, based on their credit score or credit report, results in credit terms that are less favorable than those offered to other borrowers.  Less favorable terms may include a higher interest rate or larger down payment requirement. Notification by the lender will be in the form of a disclosure notice that is either enclosed with the credit approval package or sent separately to the consumer. 


According to a recent Holiday Spending Survey of more than 3,000 myFICO® customers, folks continue to be most concerned about their credit card debt – almost 40% – as 2011 looms, which was about the same percentage that shared such concerns last year when polled by myFICO®.


Is there no limit to the confusion surrounding NPSL cards?

by ‎11-15-2010 09:34 PM - edited ‎11-15-2010 09:46 PM

My head started hurting the other day as I tried to make sense of what I was reading in the FICO Forums about no preset spending limit (NPSL) cards and the various ways in which their credit limits, highest balances, and account types appear on credit reports - and what these reporting differences can mean for your FICO score.


National Protect Your Identity Week Is October 17-23

by ‎10-13-2010 04:37 PM - edited ‎10-13-2010 04:37 PM

You know you're special, right? Easily one in a million. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you're one in at least 10 million. That's how many consumers were affected by ID theft last year alone.


Fannie Mae Wants You to Know Your Options

by ‎08-16-2010 05:24 PM - edited ‎08-16-2010 05:24 PM

If you're looking for help on your current mortgage, you probably wouldn't think of turning to Fannie Mae. Although it's a giant in the real estate industry, Fannie Mae has always focused more on lenders and securities, and less on individual homeowners. So I was thrilled to learn that Fannie Mae just launched a new website for people struggling to pay their mortgage. The site helps visitors clearly understand their options so they know what to do to stay in their homes. I highly recommend it.


FICO Credit Scores for the College Bound

by on ‎08-04-2010 11:53 AM

As a parent of two college-age students, my idea of "back to school" has clearly taken on new meaning since I left for college in the late 1960's. Back then, tuition was $50 a semester, the plane ride from my home in Los Angeles to college in San Francisco was less than $20, and the only "card" in my wallet was a military draft card. And when I arrived on campus, there was neither a Bankamericard rep sitting at a card table offering me free pizza and a t-shirt for opening an account, nor did I know that 25 years later I would be concerned about something called a FICO credit score.


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