Is Credit Reporting Going Too Far?

MIAMI (CBS4) – As a recent college graduate, Courtney Hall is worried about building up her credit history.

“It’s very important to keep up with my credit cards, monthly payments and college loans and with all the bills…trying to make sure they’re all paid…it’s not easy,” said Hall.

Not easy now, for her or anyone else. As CBS4’s Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine found out, credit ratings are evolving into “Core Scores”… including information that digs deeper than ever into our payment history.

It follows years of banks losing billions in loans during the recession and needing to dig a little deeper into our credit, including how we’re spending our money.

“Utility bills, rental payments, parking tickets, these are all things they are looking at now in addition to the regular credit rating data. They are very nervous researching borrowers backgrounds now, before actually lending money,” Howard Dworkin of Consolidated Credit told Sunshine.

Consumers are split on whether it’s a good thing or not.

“I don’t think they need more information about us,” said one consumer.

“It’s not really fair,” said another.

“I guess if they had more information… in a way it would benefit me,” said a third.

Core Logic, the financial data cruncher that is expanding its background checks 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 that “borrowers who would typically have insufficient credit history in traditional credit reports, could now have new opportunities.”

Credit expert John Ulzheimer agrees. “The addition of this type of non-traditional information is going to help some people have a credit report who have never had a credit report before.”

But attorney Chi Chi Wu with the National Consumer Law Center sees it a little differently. She’s concerned that people who had legitimate reasons for not paying certain bills will be penalized, making it even harder for consumers.

“If there are mice running around, if you don’t have any hot water, you’re allowed to not pay your rent,” explained Wu.

And borrowers won’t even know what lenders are using the new core score. So what can we do about it?

“Consumers need to take responsibility for making their payments in a timely fashion. Otherwise it’s possible Big Brother could be watching. You could be turned down for a loan and you may not even know,” Dworkin told Sunshine.

The data for the new Core-Score comes from public records. That’s why it’s more critical than ever to double-check your credit report, try to fix any errors and work with your lenders or creditors if you have any problems keeping your bills as current as possible.

  • Jimbo99

    The only one’s that don’t want the depth of their history being reported are the one’s that have horrible credit. They have something to hide. How unfair is it that their credit score and behavior is accurately portrayed ? Defaulted on payments, that’s a red flag. Because it’s not like they suffered and made their coffee themselves, they went to Starbucks everyday instead ? As for building credit, buy the new car or whatever oither way they can build it. We all have to bend over and prove ourselves, it’s not unfair.

    • Miro


      I have nearly 750 credit, I’ve been as high as 780 and *I* don’t want to be spied and profiled.

      Nice prejudice there tho, good on ya

    • Thoughts

      I think it is totally going to far. My credit score is fine and i personall will not be effected by how anything they check into..
      There are legit reasons that people have not paid a bill or paid late. Things happen in life and with the way the world is today with many losing there homes, why becasue the bank will not modify there monthly payments, or maybe your disbuting a credit card charge and there is a reason the bill was not paid in full or not paid until legally it get’s strightened out..

      How far is too far? I agree with Jimbo if your just not paying your bills, and buying non-sence then you have earneed your lousy score. But if you lost your jjob due to the problems this world has right now then maybe you should be cut a small break.

  • So What

    “If there are mice running around, if you don’t have any hot water, you’re allowed to not pay your rent,” explained Wu.

    Is that really the best objection you have, Wu? Mice and water?

  • Richard52

    To put it another way; the credit card companies/ Banks own you.Note that if you so chose to play by their rules it will in one way or the other cost you. It’s a matter of living by their rules or living by yours (cash only).

  • Phil Landers

    780 FICA and debt free by the end of the summer. Be patient and buy with cash. Debt is slavery. Better yet move to the middle of nowhere and homestead. Get off of the grid, build a log cabin and live off of the land. That is until the IRS either arrests or shoots you. And to think that only 150 years ago that was all possible.

  • Sun W Kim

    How many of you would support a constitutional law that gives every citizen of this country the right to privacy. Medical, Financial, Online, and all sorts of other right to privacy. There’s too much digital data out there about you for companies to build a profile of you. If you want to opt-in, whatever… but by default, we have a right to privacy.

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