The Norman Transcript

Community News Network

December 14, 2012

Study: Agencies rely heavily on credit card histories when calculating credit scores

WASHINGTON — Anyone who has ever applied for a loan or tried to rent an apartment knows the importance of having a good credit score. Yet there is little understanding of how those scores are devised.

A new paper released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) lifts the veil off of credit reporting, revealing that the way consumers use the plastic in their wallets weighs heaviest on their scores.

While that's not too surprising, considering that Americans own nearly 610 million credit cards, the finding does cast new light on the gravity of failing to keep up with those accounts.

Researchers at the government's consumer watchdog analyzed hundreds of millions of files submitted by the three largest credit agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Each agency receives updates on more than 1.3 billion individual accounts from some 10,000 companies in a typical month.

More than half of the information on the average credit rating report is supplied by the credit card industry. Credit scores are calculated from the information in the report and then used to measure the likelihood of a consumer repaying his or her debts.

"Credit cards are given great weight in credit profiles — a lesson that consumers could end up learning the hard way," said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, during a call with reporters.

During the holiday season, he said, consumers may be enticed to open a new retail credit card with the promise of an extra discount on their purchase. If they are not responsible with that card, "it could end up costing them a lot more down the line when they go take out a mortgage and that credit card is a black mark on their credit report."

Indeed, but there is a body of research that suggests consumers are relying on plastic for everyday needs, not occasional wants, making the prospect of maintaining a healthy credit profile challenging.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014