An undisclosed number of HSBC bank customers apparently saw their credit scores briefly tumble because of a credit reporting error that occurred April 1.
This was no April Fool’s Day prank: Credit bureau Experian says an “isolated administrative error” altered the information on some HSBC customers’ credit reports. According to an MSNBC report, that “glitch” in Experian’s credit reporting “temporarily torpedoed an undisclosed number of consumers’ credit scores.” MSNBC added that HSBC customers who pay for credit monitoring services became aware of the error after they received alerts about a sudden fall in their credit scores.
Borrowers weren’t laughing.
Thanks to rising bank fees, students and young adults with simple finances may begin turning to prepaid debit cards rather than having a checking account, according to Reuters. For those with simple finances, there isn’t much of a difference between these and traditional debit cards linked to bank accounts. These cards are reloadable, and some employers can now pay employees via a direct transfer to a prepaid card.
While prepaid cards can rescue you from bank fees, they can come with a whole slew of other fees, so the Consumers Union advises readers to read the fine print closely. They recommend avoiding cards with inactivity or cancellation fees. Additionally, some prepaid debit cards come from FDIC-insured banks, while others are from private companies, so be sure to do your research.
The article features an expert who advises that people get a prepaid card that has online bill pay. This allows you to pay important bills, such as rent, as though you are sending a check. Just remember that you won’t have any physical checks. Those who normally have to pay exorbitant fees for check-cashing services or money orders can greatly benefit from prepaid debit cards, Reuters says.
Please read on for my weekly roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!
Over the weekend, AAA told me that my credit card had been stolen.
Getting an e-mail from AAA — primarily known for roadside assistance, travel information and membership discounts — about my credit in itself wasn’t unusual. That’s because back in 2009, I signed up for the free credit monitoring provided through my membership with the Texas chapter of the automobile association.
As part of that monitoring, I receive monthly e-mails alerting me to any changes in my credit report. Typically, those e-mails indicate all is well.
As someone who’s lived in Texas for nearly five years, it’s bad enough to see studies that say the South is more impoverished and fatter than the rest of the country. Now data suggests we Southerners have the nation’s worst credit, too.
Recent data shows those U.S. cities with the highest average credit scores are all in the Midwest or North, according a map of the country’s highest and lowest VantageScores created by credit bureau Experian. Those cities the with lowest average credit scores, meanwhile, can often be found in the South, with five of the six lowest-scoring cities in two particular states: Texas and Louisiana.
Why is that? “It’s hard to say exactly why certain cities or regions of the country are faring better than others, but good credit scores are the product of having a strong credit history,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education at Experian.
I was aware that your credit score can vary based on which of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) provides the version of the score you (or your lender) looks at. However, I was surprised to learn that credit scores also differ based on the type of loan you apply for, such as a credit card, auto loan or home equity loan.