Whether we like it or not, the credit score is emerging as the most important "number" in the financial lives of American consumers. The FICO score is often the major factor in determining how much consumers pay for mortgages, refinancing, auto loans and credit cards, as well as for auto or homeowners insurance.

Despite its importance, credit scoring began as a secret system, and has been shrouded in mystery ever since. In addition, there is little understanding of the credit reporting system, which holds financial histories on 210 million Americans and is the source of data for calculating credit scores. One problem: the credit reporting system has a long history of inaccuracy.

Through careful research and precise writing, Credit Scores & Credit Reports, allows consumers to understand how these systems actually work, and what they can do to improve their FICO scores. Importantly, the book also describes how the system sometimes doesn’t work, and how hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of consumers have been frustrated in their efforts to correct errors in their credit reports.

Then there’s the impact of identity theft, literally a whole another chapter (or two).

The book explains why many consumers already are entitled to a free credit report, and why it’s better to get their reports now, rather than wait until a new federal law takes effect next year. It sheds light on use of credit scores and credit reports by auto and homeowner insurance companies. It shows how lawsuits have been filed over some debt collectors’ credit reporting tactics. It details the ongoing problems with credit repair clinics. The book describes how qualified, professional help is available, but that virtually nobody knows where to find it. Finally, it educates readers as to their rights to accuracy and privacy in their credit reports.



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