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The eCredable blog

U.S. student loan debt hit the $1.5 trillion mark earlier this year, but Southerners appear to be shouldering more than their share.

Is Your Car Loan Too Expensive?

If you don’t use credit or just started building it, chances are you have no credit file or maybe just a thin one — it’s there, but there’s not much to it. That can leave you with a low credit score or no credit score at all, which may make it difficult to get credit when you need it.

How Late Can I Pay a Bill Before It Hurts My Credit?

It’s irritating to run across a bill and to realize it was due yesterday… or last week. If it’s a credit card bill, you may also have to pay a fee (sometimes, if it’s a rare slip-up, you can get it waived), and it can be especially scary to find an overdue bill if you have applied for credit or plan to in order to make a big purchase, like a house or vehicle. Readers often ask us how late a payment has to be before their creditors report it to the credit bureaus:

The last time I got up in front of a group to talk about my job, no one had questions for me. It was a high school career day a few weeks ago, and the students stared at me blankly as I dropped words like “personal finance,” “credit scores” and “debt.” I could tell they thought my work wasn’t exciting, that the topics I write about are boring. Everyone was happy when the bell rang to end my session.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, most negative information can be reported on credit reports for seven years. Why seven? Why not five, or 10 or some other amount of time?

We may be in an age of Big Data, but collecting information on consumers is nothing new. Credit reporting goes back to the late 1800s, when it was just a couple of guys going from door to door, asking merchants to describe the customers who had credit at their stores. The technical, sometimes-long files we now know as credit reports started out as a few notes in a ledger that said something like, “Reliable,” “Slow to repay” or “Won’t pay, but father will cover debt.”

What Your Credit Reports Won't Tell You 

A credit report is a pretty simple concept: It’s a report on your past use of credit and loans. That part is generally pretty easy for people to grasp. It’s some of the other stuff on the report — and the stuff that’s not on the report — that confuses some and leads to misunderstanding the credit report’s purpose.