Credit

How Lenders Use Your Hidden Credit Score

After years of suffering, consumer credit is gaining giant momentum, and eager lenders aren't relying solely on your traditional credit score. They need more than that.

Leading Economic Indicators Index Up 0.2% in January

A measure of the U.S. economy's future direction edged up in January from December, suggesting slow growth will continue in the coming months. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose 0.2 percent in January to 94.1, the second straight increase.

Study: 1 in 5 Consumers Had Error in Credit Report

One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study. The FTC study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.

Year-End Paperwork Purge: What to Keep, What to Shred

Even the most digitally savvy consumer can amass reams of paperwork by year's end, from ATM and gift receipts to credit card statements and tax forms. Here's the skinny on what to keep and what to toss in the year-end paperwork purge.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Rises to Record $2.75 Trillion

Americans swiped their credit cards more often in October and borrowed more to attend school and buy cars. The increases drove U.S. consumer debt to an all-time high. The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October from September. Total borrowing rose to a record $2.75 trillion.

6 Key Money Lessons of 2011: What We've Learned

At this time last year, maybe you thought the economy would be a bit more gracious by now. No such luck. But as we reflect on the year that was, here are six financial lessons that 2011 taught us all.

Financial Trick or Treat: Sweet Deals, Scary Mistakes

The world of personal finance is a lot like Halloween: Filled with treats if you're good (and clever), but rife with tricks if you're not careful. Here's some savvy advice that will keep your money tree from getting TPed, and help you bring home a pumpkin full of sweet rewards.

How to Raise Your Odds of Getting a Mortgage

It doesn't look like the housing market will come roaring back anytime soon, but with historically low interest rates, now's a good time to buy. The hard part is that banks in the post-bubble era are notoriously stingy with that cheap money, so figuring out how to get a smile out of a mortgage lender is task No. 1.

Personal Bankruptcy Filings Fall, but Hold the Applause

In this cloudy economy, we're all constantly hunting through the news and statistics for silver linings. Here's one that looks promising: In the first nine months of 2011, personal bankruptcy filings decreased 10% compared to a year earlier -- but experts say hold the applause.

1 in 4 Spouses Is Willing to Cheat ... Financially

Your sweetheart may be keeping a big secret from you, and it's not that there's some other guy or gal. It's the truth about their money. According to new poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 24% of respondents wouldn't tell their spouse if they were experiencing financial difficulties.

How Paying the Rent Can Boost Your Credit Score

In these shaky economic times, your credit score carries more weight than ever, which means building a credit history is vital. Paying bills on time is one thing that buffs up your score, but until now, paying your rent meant nothing. Credit bureau Experian and RentReporters.com are changing that.

Cash-Strapped Americans Can't Break Overdraft Habit

Overdraft fees are like a movie monster that just won't die. No amount of public outrage or regulation can slay the beast. But the banks aren't the only ones casting overdrafts in financial sequels: Truth is, consumers keep breathing life into the overdraft dragon.

Americans Ring Up 'Mind Boggling' Debt in Q2

Habits are hard to break: Just when you think you're firmly in control, you backslide again. According to CardHub.com, U.S. consumers accumulated a staggering $18.4 billion in credit card debt in the second quarter -- 66% more than they accumulated in the same quarter a year ago.

What to Do First: Save or Pay Down Your Debts?

For many households, it's a personal fiance dilemma: Should they try to pay down debt first, or build up savings? In the aftermath of the Great Recession, opinions have clearly tipped toward the ditch-your-debt side. But that's not always the right answer.

Less Need Now to Read Your Credit Card's Fine Print

It appears that complaints from consumers and regulators about the lack of credit card transparency at banks have not fallen on deaf ears. According to CardHub.com's 2011 Credit Card Application Study, the 10 biggest issuers of plastic have significantly improved transparency this year.

How to Dig Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

U.S. credit card debt shrank 5% in the second quarter from a year ago, approaching 10-year lows. It's not just due to banks, which have written off uncollectible debts. Consumers have been taking control of their finances, tightening their belts and working second jobs to pay off their credit card bills.