Kelly Dilworth

Kelly Dilworth

Kelly Dilworth is a former staff reporter at She began her career in journalism at The Atlantic in 2007, then detoured into nonfiction book publishing for several years. She returned to journalism in 2010 and since then has written about everything from 20-somethings with Herculean credit scores to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions. Kelly holds a degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Austin, TX. ...

Full Bio

It's not always easy to get stubborn credit report errors permanently cleared from a report. But if a group of Democratic senators get their way, consumers will one day have a much easier time forcing legitimate errors off their reports.
Usually when we talk about student debt, we're referring to the loans undergraduates take on to finance their educations. But a new report from the New America Foundation suggests that graduate school students may be having an even tougher time affording their degrees.
When strapped for cash and hit with an unexpected bill, some may feel as if they have no other choice but to turn to a payday lender. But new research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that taking out one of these short-term loans could just sink you deeper into debt.
Confusing card disclosures may not be around for much longer. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week it's working on a much simpler prepaid card disclosure that it hopes will make it much easier for consumers to do card comparisons.

By law, lenders are required to send you a free copy of your credit score if they reject your application. Along with the free score that lenders are supposed to send you, you should also receive a brief summary or "reason code" that, in theory, explains why your credit score is low.

But for many loan applicants, the codes they receive are so cryptic and jargon-heavy that they're nearly as bewildering as the scores themselves.

Despite improvements to the credit report dispute system, consumers are still having a hard time getting credit report errors fixed.
The global payments firm MasterCard says that if it knows where you are, it can help protect you from data theft -- and send you targeted coupons.
If you're struggling to beat an online shopping habit, you may want to take a moment to organize your desk. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that tidying your home or office could help curb your urge to spend.
New research from the Federal Reserve shows that signing up for health insurance coverage may not only protect you from financial disaster, such as an unexpected trip to the emergency room, it may also boost your long-term credit history.
According to a new poll from American Express, 40 percent of women admit to hiding at least some of what they bought from their partner.
State and federal consumer protection groups may be getting ready to crack down on deceptive companies that promise to help relieve recent grads of their student loan debt, but do little to earn their hefty fees.
Target and Neiman Marcus' decision to pay for a year of free credit monitoring for recent shoppers has thrown a bright spotlight on a service that typically gets mixed reviews from consumer advocates.
Support is building for a novel approach to increasing the household savings rate. Rather than lecture people about saving more of their cash, some experts recommend linking traditional household savings accounts to lottery-style jackpots instead.
A fierce debate has begun to brew over how, and when, financial literacy should be taught -- with some experts arguing teaching financial literacy in college and in K-12 schools is completely ineffective.
If you're hoping 2014 will finally be the year you make over your finances -- or at least whittle your debt down to more manageable levels -- you're not alone. A new study from financial services firm Fidelity Investments found more than half of Americans made at least some kind of financial resolution for the upcoming year.
If you're struggling to save more cash, shift your thinking: Go 'Groundhog Day' on the problem. Don't think of time moving in a straight line. Think if your life as cyclical -- like the character Bill Murray played in the 1994 movie. You may not win the affections of your co-star, but you'll sock away more money.
It's easy to bemoan how expensive medical cards are when you've got enough time to read through the terms and carefully do the math. But when you're in the heat of the moment and making a snap decision about care, a card that offers quick interest-free financing can, for an instant, seem like a lifesaver.
If you're still trying to figure out what to get your child (or someone else's) for the holidays, you may want to consider a gift that encourages financial literacy. Toymakers have put out a range of products in recent years that teach kids as young as 3 about responsible money management.

You may have trouble getting your identity verified when you apply for health insurance through the online Federal Marketplace if there are errors on your credit report.

The government-run website uses identity-verification services provided by credit reporting agency Experian and, according to numerous reports, lots of people are having a hard time proving to the government-run site that they are who they say they are.

The credit-shy millennial generation is having trouble paying its bills on time. A new report from the credit reporting agency Experian found that a substantial number of 20-something borrowers are lapsing on their bill payments - and it's showing in their credit scores.
To help combat confusion over credit card rewards programs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is zeroing in on the way rewards programs are marketed and may one day ask issuers to make their rewards programs easier to understand.

You may want to take a closer look at your bank's fee schedule next year -- particularly if you're working with a smaller bank or lender.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that small lenders, including regional banks and credit unions, are cautiously increasing the fees they charge on a variety of services in order to make up for lost revenue.

If you need some help sorting out your personal finances, but can't yet afford a financial adviser, a new online tool called the FlexScore may help temporarily plug the gap.

Launched in October, the FlexScore is a free online tool that helps users figure out how well they're doing financially and learn about different steps they can take to shore up their personal finances.

If you're fresh out of college and saddled with student loan and credit card debt, pledging a portion of your future earnings to a group of backers in exchange for a clean slate may not seem like such a bad idea. A number of companies have cropped up in recent months promising to let you do just that.
Missed your electricity bill last month? You can rest easy, for now. Most utility companies don't report your payment data to the credit bureaus (unless, of course, you're seriously late on a bill and it has been turned over to a collections agency). However, that could change if a bipartisan group of congressmen get their way.
The latest fiscal crisis -- which shut down the U.S. government for 16 days -- is finally over. But for many Americans, including me, it will be hard to get past the last several weeks of watching the country nearly tumble over a financial cliff (again).

Guess who's less likely to seriously default on a credit card: A 44-year-old who has been handling credit since before Ronald Reagan left office? Or a 19-year-old college student who wasn't even born until well into the Clinton administration?

Surprisingly, it's the college-age student, says a new study, calling into question the wisdom of the Credit CARD Act of 2009's restrictions on granting cards to the younger crowd.

Researchers at Harvard University and the National Resources Defense Council estimate that up to 90 percent of Americans waste money -- and food -- by needlessly paying attention to "sell by" and "best before" dates on packaged products.
A materialistic attitude isn't just bad for your wallet; new research shows that it may also make it harder for you to recover from adversity.
U.S. colleges have come a long way in recent years in helping to make college costs more transparent. It's still tough to pin down just how much a family will owe, long after the tuition bills are due, but some new online tools are helping.
In a new paper that's set to be published later this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins University argue that playing the lottery can temporarily spark materialistic thoughts in hopeful players and may even erode their self-control.


They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the staff.


Other Voices and Blogs

Useful Links

Subscribe to Taking Charge