As a follow up to the post I wrote a few days ago about the new consumer protection laws and the possibility that thrift stores would have to stop selling children’s items, I was happy to come across this article tonight. Looks like second hand stores will be ok. Now we just have to make sure that the same is true for mom and pop businesses that make clothing and toys for kids… call your congressional reps!
And now for my two cents on credit scores. Since we’re considering buying another house, we decided to take a peek at our credit scores. We get our credit reports every six months or so, but have never paid to see our credit scores until now. We went to the annual credit report site and picked Experian. Credit scores were $5.95 each, and the credit report is free (we normally just get the free report). We got my husband’s score first, and it was great. It put him in the “super prime” category, which is what Experian calls their best credit scores. No surprises there. Then we pulled my credit report, and I was in their “prime plus” category. I was two points below the cutoff for super prime, and my credit score with them is still considered very good. But I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and when there’s a super prime option out there, I don’t want to be prime plus (pout). My husband, who is very good at finding humor in just about any situation, thought it was quite funny that I (Miss Frugal Babe, and household money czar) somehow had a lower credit score than he did.
Just about all of our accounts have been joint for at least the last six years. But I’ve never had a car loan, and he had one when we met. He hasn’t had a car loan since 2002, but it does still show up on his credit report, and I’m sure that’s giving his score a bit of a boost.
But here’s the part that gets me. Experian gave me a list of things that are lowering my score. Of course time was a factor (when will this not be the case? I’ve been in their files since 1997). But the number one reason they listed was “The average loan amount across open, recently reported real estate accounts, such as a mortgage, is too low. Having low loan amounts has a negative impact on your credit score.” Are you kidding me??! After the mortgage debacle that has ripped through the American economy over the last year or so, that is still considered a valid reason for a credit score to be lowered? Maybe someone should let them know that people are defaulting on mortgages all across the country right now, and a big reason is that mortgage lenders approved people for loans that were too big (and used creative financing to seal the deal).
Ugh. I checked my report closely, and everything is in order. And I gotta say, I’d rather have a credit score that is two points below what Experian considers “super prime” than have a higher score and a higher mortgage balance. Mostly I’m just amazed that any credit reporting agency is still encouraging bigger mortgages right now, and penalizing for smaller ones, considering the state of the mortgage industry.
Have any of you ever paid to see your credit score? Ever been surprised by what you saw, or by the explanations given?