FICO Eases Pain of Medical Debt on Credit Scores

FICO, the nation’s leading credit-scoring company, is making two changes that could benefit consumers with debt that has gone into collection. In its newest scoring model, FICO will no longer count debt in collection that has been repaid or settled. The company will also discount medical debt in collection, so it has less of a negative impact on consumers’ scores. More than half of unpaid collections involve medical bills. The medical changes alone could boost a consumer’s score by 25 points, FICO said when announcing …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Insects are a food source for one of every three people worldwide. (Learn more at Yahoo) 2. The debts and unpaid bills of more than a third of Americans have been reported to collection agencies. (Learn more at Urban Institute) 3. Handshakes share 20 times more germs than fist bumps. (Learn more at AARP) >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  4. A new smartphone app simulates a retro camera by making you …

Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

Is Medical Debt Highly Unhealthy for Your Credit Score?

Are consumers’ credit scores unfairly dinged by medical debt? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau thinks so. The agency released a new report that says unpaid medical debt sent to collections – and appearing on credit reports – can overly penalize consumers. Credit scores, generated by information in credit reports, are three-digit numbers that try to predict a consumer’s likelihood of paying bills. The higher the number, the better. Businesses use scores to decide whether to extend credit and at what interest …

Debt Collectors Fined, Told to Back Off

Here’s some good news for people hounded by relentless debt collectors and hauled into court. Two of the nation’s biggest debt collection companies have agreed to stop lawsuits against borrowers and drop collections on some $16 million in judgments. In a settlement with New York authorities, Portfolio Recovery Associates, based in Norfolk, Va., and Sherman Financial Group, based in New York, also agreed to pay fines to settle allegations that they violated state law by pursuing borrowers for debts that …

In Eviction Dispute, It’s David 1, Goliath 0

Rafael Lee is 82, it’s true. But the New Yorker’s energy and attitude revealed itself when he hired a lawyer to protest a law firm’s attempt to evict him from his rent-controlled apartment – and won. Turns out that Lee (or his lawyer, James Fishman) may have known more about federal debt collection law than the landlord’s law firm, Kucker & Bruh, which, somewhat ironically, specializes in … debt collection. First-year law students (I teach ‘em) learn on their first …