Credit scores just got a boost

Personal Finance

Effective immediately, some consumers may have a higher credit score.

Because of improved standards for utilizing new and existing public records, the three major credit reporting companies are now excluding all tax liens from credit reports. That means some scores will head higher, for some by as much as 30 points.

Credit scores, notably those from FICO, one of the largest credit scoring companies, usually range from 300 to 850. A good score generally is above 700, and those over 760 are considered excellent.

Credit reporting and scores play a key role in most Americans’ daily life. The process can determine the interest rate a consumer is going to pay for credit cards, car loans and mortgages — or whether they will get a loan at all.

The actions come following a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that found problems with credit reporting and recommended changes to help consumers. (Incorrect information on a credit report is the top issue reported by consumers, according to the bureau.)

Last July, credit reporting companies removed nearly 100 percent of civil judgment data and about 50 percent of tax lien data from credit reports. Now they have removed the rest. The latest change took effect last month.

As a result, LexisNexis Risk Solutions predicts that about 11 percent of the population had a judgment or lien removed from their credit file, according to the company’s own estimate.

Once that information is stripped out, credit scores could go up by as much as 30 points overall, LexisNexis found. LexisNexis also provides lenders with data to make decisions on consumer loans.

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