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Happy Holidays from Creditnet!

The team at Creditnet.com would like to wish each of you a joyous holiday season and a prosperous, debt-free New Year!

Tsongas' Amendment Seeks Level Playing Field

[caption id="attachment_1107" align="alignleft" width="207" caption=" "]US CapitolPhoto by dbking[/caption]

It's been ten months since I first wrote about Experian ending it's partnership with Fair Isaac. Since then, consumers have been unable to purchase their FICO scores based on Experian's data, while lenders' access to the scores has remain unchanged.

The fact that individuals can only purchase two of their FICO credit scores while lenders can still access all three has not only outraged consumers across the country, but also many consumer advocacy groups and representatives in Congress. If any credit bureau wants to sell their credit scores to lenders, consumers should have the ability to purchase those same scores too. It's only fair, right?  There needs to be a level playing field between consumers and creditors.

Naughty or Nice? Citi Rewards Students for Being Good

Citibank MTVU Student Card
Citibank Forward Student Card

This holiday season, Citibank is offering new student cardholders of its Citi Forward(SM) Card for College Students and Citi® mtvU™ Platinum Select® Visa® Card for College Students enough bonus points to redeem $25 in gift cards and more. While credit is being portrayed poorly in the media right now, it's refreshing to see some credit issuers like Citibank actually step up and offer incentives to customers for responsible use of credit.

How Closed Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

creditcards Dear Creditnet: I haven't used my credit card in a long time, and I think they may have closed it on me. The expiration date on my card passed a few months ago, and they didn't send me a new one. It had a pretty large credit line. Was my credit score dinged? Answer: You never received a replacement credit card in the mail, but that doesn't necessarily mean your account was closed. The bank may have made an error and failed to send a new card, or perhaps the card was lost in the mail? You need to do some legwork first to determine the true status of your account.

"Damage Points" Chart Better Than Nothing

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignleft" width="183" caption=" "]Random NumbersPhoto by Irargerich[/caption] Liz Pulliam Weston, the popular personal-finance columnist, recently released an article on MSN Money entitled "5 ways to kill your credit scores". I actually follow most of Ms. Weston's RSS feeds, but for some reason I skipped over this one during my daily dive through credit-related news. I'm not sure why I skipped it. It must have been the name—it didn't really spark my interest. For whatever reason, I just assumed it was another one of those articles preaching the same old advice about credit scores. You know how they go, right? Pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization ratio low, and avoid bankruptcy, or else you can kiss your good credit score goodbye.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The panic-stricken days of Thanksgiving 2008 may be nothing more than a distant memory, but the fact is the economy still stinks. Unemployment has surpassed the 10 percent mark, credit markets have continued to tighten, and times are just plain rough for a lot of American families. It can be downright depressing at times.

Low Pay, Inc. Charged with Deceptive Marketing

[caption id="attachment_1019" align="alignleft" width="90" caption=" "]Low Pay, Inc. Charged with Deceptive MarketingPhoto by HikingArtist.com[/caption]

How can a company find customers willing to pay almost $400 in fees for a credit card that will only finance 30% of purchases from a single catalog? It's hard to imagine, but the FTC seems to have caught one dead in its tracks.

According to a press release issued on November 3rd, a formal complaint was issued in federal court alleging that Low Pay, Inc. used deceptive mailers to market its card to consumers with credit problems, charging them hundreds of dollars in up-front fees and often reneging on its refund policy. In response, Low Pay has apparently agreed to pull the plug on its questionable practices while they battle it out with the FTC.

The actual complaint explains in more detail how the FTC believes Low Pay pulled this whole thing off. Here's what was allegedly going down:

No Credit Card? Get Some Credit Before it's Too Late

The Credit CARD Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on May 22nd, just cleared a major hurdle in its path to early adoption. As reported on CNNMoney.com last week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a new bill which would move the effective date for credit card reforms from February 2010 to December 1st. That's just under three weeks from today!

Don't Get Fooled: Opt Out of Opting In

Should you opt out, opt in, opt in to opting out, or opt out of opting in?

So many choices!  But when it comes to over-the-limit fees, there's only one answer in my mind— opting out.

One of the major provisions in the CARD Act of 2009 is that banks will no longer be able to charge over-the-limit fees unless customers choose to be allowed to make purchases in excess of their credit limits.  So, you will have the right to "opt out" of over-the-limit fees, which are often as high as $39, by simply telling your bank you would rather live within your credit limit.

CFPA Gets the Green Light

Despite a great deal of opposition from big-business lobbyists and right-wing politicians, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) has moved one step closer to seeing the light of day. The House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), approved the CFPA's creation last Thursday and will now send the bill on to the full House.  And while the legislation is definitely a more watered-down version than others introduced earlier this year, its supporters, including President Obama, seem quite pleased with the progress so far.

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