Credit Reports

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Article: Can The Credit Scoring System Be Fixed?

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I was thinking about this question recently for two reasons: 1) the $23 million fine that CFPB handed down to a few credit reporting agencies for deceptive marketing around credit scores and 2) As fewer millennials choose credit compared to debit, the number of credit invisibles increase. So, what can we learn from this article from the Atlantic (approximately 10 minutes in length)?

My notes:

  • Chicken or the egg problem with credit: “If you think about the credit-invisible population in this country, their ability to enter the financial mainstream and access affordable credit instead of payday lenders and pawnshops and check-cashing services is tied to what’s in their credit report,” says Michael Turner, the president of the Policy and Economic Research Council. “They’re caught in the credit catch-22: In order to qualify for credit you have to have already had credit.”
By |January 16th, 2017|Article, Credit Reports, Credit Scores, WebQuest|

In My Personal Finance Life: Want A FICO Score With That Free Credit Report?

It’s a new year which makes it a good time to review your credit report. I went to, answered a few questions to verify my identity and proceeded to my credit report. As I completed my review, I couldn’t help but notice the offer about getting my credit score (can you say cross-selling opportunity?). When I clicked on the button…

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What’s the catch?

By |January 15th, 2017|Advertising, Credit Reports, Credit Scores, Current Events, Research|

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Retired Bankruptcy Judge John Ninfo About His Passion For Financial Literacy


What does a retired bankruptcy judge do to fill his “golden years?” If you are Hon. John Ninfo, you write a weekly column and visit hundreds of classrooms in upstate New York to teach young people about what it means to be financially responsible. If that isn’t enough, he also created a non-profit, Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE), to bring bankruptcy professionals into classrooms throughout the U.S. to share their experiences. Storytelling has an important place in the personal finance classroom (it is personal after all!) and John’s years on the bench in western New York provide him with lots of material to share about the causes of financial distress. In this podcast, you will also hear from the CARE team of Anna Flores and Ian Redman about how you can bring CARE to your classroom. Enjoy!


Question: How Long Does It Take a Hacker To Steal Your Credit Card Information Online?

Answer (from Newcastle University research): About 6 seconds (yikes!) [This should grab your students attention!]

From Thrillist:

According to new a paper authored by Newcastle University researchers, hackers can mine your financial information using simple guesswork, spread out across multiple websites. When the process, known as a Distributed Guessing Attack, is coupled with a specifically designed toolkit, it isn’t very hard to exploit the security systems of major e-commerce sites…

Here’s a 31 second video explaining the technique:

NGPF Launches “The Fine Print”

download-9Read the fine print!

We hear that advice all the time (a quick google search found it here and here and here). Yet, we didn’t see any resources out there that would actually develop the critical thinking skills required to navigate the complex world of financial products. So, today we launched a new product “The Fine Print,” mini-lessons to give students practice with the important forms, statements and agreements they will encounter in their financial lives. Given that our website is hitting records today, this product is clearly popular with teachers!

What are the features of “The Fine Print?”

What Personal Finance Terms Are Trending On Google Search?

Playing around with Google Trends and wondered how various search terms are trending.


Interesting to see three of these search terms”credit cards,” “credit score” and “investing” all converging together. Wondering about the purple trend line that barely registers above zero over the past five years? Oh, that’s “financial literacy.” Many say they need it, but few seem to be searching for it:) Of course, one way to build financial literacy is search on the specific financial product that you are interested in. Any other insights?


Idea: Have your students select their own financial terms or phrases and see how their trending using Google Trends.

Infographic: All You Need To Know About Credit Scores!

Hat tip to Laura Matchett of NGPF for pointing out this awesome infographic from that explains the importance of having a good credit score by demonstrating how the cost of a home loan, auto loan, insurance and credit card interest rates varies based on these three digits. Just projecting this image on a screen (or maybe using as a handout because of the small print) could lead to a great discussion about credit scores:

In Search of Rewards: How To Pick The Best Credit Card

download-1I’m sorry but I will never get used to the flight attendant coming on the PA system about 30 minutes prior to landing to announce this most incredible American Airlines Credit Card where you can earn 40,000 miles just for signing up (and that 40,000 miles can get you anywhere in the continental US)! Since when did we get to the point where flight attendants are pitching credit cards (do they get a commission with every sale?). I mean aren’t airlines making enough money with low fuel prices and their wide variety of menu options (pretzels anyone?). Just another reminder of how marketing messages for financial products permeate our lives.

Hat tip to our intern, Sid Sharma, who diligently reads the financial press and pointed me to this NY Times article on selecting the best credit card. Here are some highlights from the article: