Why Your Credit Score May Go Up This July

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Good news: Your credit score may be 10 to 40 points higher next month.

As the calendar flips to July, you may have more to look forward to than fireworks and Independence Day celebrations. Millions of Americans are poised to see a pop in their credit scores of anywhere from about 10 to over 40 points.

This is all thanks to a little-known policy change having to do with tax liens and civil judgments. A tax lien is a legal claim the government has over your assets if you fail to pay your taxes. Civil judgments are similar, but they’re payments ordered by the courts in settlements. As things stand now, both negatively affect people’s credit scores. However, beginning July 1 the nation’s three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and Transunion—will wipe about half of tax liens and most civil judgments data from consumers’ files.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

Essentially because a lot of this lien and judgment data is wrong. The change, part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “National Consumer Assistance Plan,” stems from a class-action lawsuit brought against attorneys general in 31 states.

The plaintiffs alleged something called “mislinking” of data—essentially when someone else’s info ends up on your report—leads to unfair credit score deductions. So for example, if someone who happens to have the same name as you has a terrible credit history, that could end up damaging your credit score, too. The suit also addressed the alleged difficulty of getting these types of errors fixed.

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