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New credit report digs deeper into payment history

January 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Consumers looking to apply for more credit may find lenders now have a lot more information at their disposal to help with that decision.

Most people realize their credit report will dictate whether they get a loan for anything from a car to a house, and if so, what kind of interest rate they'll pay on that loan.

But now a new kind of credit report called CoreScore contains information that digs deeper than ever into your payment history, packed with information about you and how you handle everything from electronic payments to past rent.

And this new credit report is causing some controversy. Some argue that it's a good thing and will help consumers benefit from payments for things that never have been counted before, while others argue that you could be penalized for things you had every right not to pay.

Attorney Chi Chi Wu with the National Consumer Law Center says the report includes everything from rental applications and evictions, pay day loans, auto title loans, rent-to-own transactions, and even payments to the electric company.

It's all intended to give a lender a better idea of who is asking for money and the likelihood of it being paid back. So where do they get the information?

"From the public records system," said John Ulzheimer from SmartCredit.com. "And traditionally credit reports only hold three types of public records- bankruptcy, tax liens and judgments."

Not everyone is comfortable with all this extra sharing. But others who pay bills that weren't on traditional credit reports see it as a plus.

CoreLogic acknowledges the extra information could hurt some people, while helping others.

The company would not agree to go on camera, but in a written statement pointed out "borrowers who would typically have insufficient credit history in traditional credit reports could now have new opportunities."

"Now consumers who deserve the credit are going to get it," said Ulzheimer. "Those who deserve it at competitive terms are going to get competitive terms, and those who frankly don't need to be saddled with that type of debt are going to be denied."

But Wu sees it a little differently. She's concerned people who had legitimate reasons for not paying certain bills will now be penalized.

"If there are mice running around, if you don't have any hot water, you're allowed to not pay your rent under some jurisdictions," said Wu. "Is the new credit report going to reflect that?"

Both experts agree you should look over your personal report and check it for errors, just as you should with the traditional report.

Consumers can request their free annual consumer file by contacting Corelogic Credco at 877-532-8778.