If you have checked your credit report lately, you may have seen a surprise — an increase in your credit score. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals that overall, almost 70% of Americans have an improvement on their credit score in 2018.

The big three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) have initiated the National Consumer Assistance Plan to address complaints about the errors on credit reports; and to satisfy the authorities, they changed their criteria and tightened their coverage requirements.

These bureaus now have to indicate when payment on an account is made, remove accounts which don’t arise in a contract or arrangement to pay, and statements when adequate information exists linking into an actual person’s credit file. Researchers also explained that these new standards led to a significant drop in the number of individuals with collections in their credit report because the new regulations took effect this year.

The change doesn’t mean much to most people; but you can take comfort in knowing that a few types of debt, including traffic tickets, unreturned library books, specific tax exemptions and current medical obligations will no longer be included in your score calculation.

The amount, which dropped from 33 million people into 25 million, is fantastic news for the nearly 20 percent who watched their credit score increase by more than 25 points. On the other hand, the information is tempered by the fact that credit scores of the people with collections were so low that it might not make a great deal of difference. This little gain still might not help people to get a job, mortgage or even auto insurance in some states.

The three credit reporting bureaus and FICO have now had a year to apply the new criteria. This usually means that they will not be caught off guard when an individual suddenly has a new and higher credit score.

In the research brief, FICO states that they made the following observations when analyzing the impact on FICO Scores of NCAP-driven removal of public records from the credit report:

  • No material impact to FICO® score on the entire population.
  • 6-7 percent of the FICO scorable inhabitants needed a judgment or tax lien removed from their file as a consequence of the CRAs’ enhanced public record criteria.
  • On the impacted population, the reduction in predictive elevator post public document elimination was more visible, though still modest.
  • Impacted documents are very likely to have additional derogatory information on their Credit History and so tend to score relatively low, even after the public record information in question has been removed.

FICO suggests lenders conduct similar analyses on their proprietary bureau-based analytics to understand the possible impact to their specific circumstances. You can contact a FICO representative for more information about FICO’s adoption, validation, and diagnostic solutions. Also, you can visit FICO Research Brief: Impact of the CRAs’ Enhanced Public Record Standards on FICO® Scores and download the research for further information.

 

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