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Keeping on top of credit scores: how important it is

One of our themes in this blog is that it is very possible for most people to rebuild their credit after filing for bankruptcy.

In order to make that happen, however, it is important to keep tabs on what your credit score is on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. In this post, we will take note of efforts by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to make it easier for people to gain access to their credit scores.

The CFPB has asked credit card companies to include information about credit scores when sending monthly billing statements and on consumers' online accounts. Though this was a request, not a regulation, the CFPB is strongly urging card companies to take this action.

To be sure, consumers can in theory gain access to their credit reports for free. But in practice, less than 20 percent of Americans review their reports in a given year.

Moreover, even those reports don't include credit scores (also known as FICO scores). Credit scores distill credit reports down to three digits, so that they can be easily digested by mortgage companies, car-financing operations, and other lenders.

It is also important to keep in mind that credit reports often contain errors that can affect scores. That is another reason why it is important to monitor them regularly.

There are already a few credit card companies that make free credit scores available to consumers. If the CFPC has its way, that list will grow.

Source: McClatchyDC, "Consumer bureau urges companies to offer free credit scores," Lindsay Wise, Feb. 27, 2014

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