Credit

A Call To Abolish Employment Credit Checks

Back in the day when my credit was very, very bad and I didn’t have any real sense of urgency about doing something about it, per se, my mom would try to put the fear of god in me by saying that when I applied for jobs, prospective employers could looking up my credit and, seeing how irresponsible I was, decide not to hire me. This seemed (and seems!) both totally unfair and hardly believable.

According to a recent survey-based study from public policy org Demos (h/t Astra Taylor), employment credit checks are actually fairly common: 1 in 4 of unemployed people who were surveyed reported having their credit checked as part of a job application. Among the unemployed with ‘blemished’ credit histories, 1 in 7 has been informed they missed out on a job because of their credit.

Employment credit checks are legal under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits employers to request credit reports on job applicants and existing employees.4 Under the statute, employers must first obtain written permission from the individual whose credit report they seek to review. Employers are also required to notify individuals before they take “adverse action” (in this case, failing to hire, promote or retain an employee) based in whole or in part on any information in the credit report. The employer is required to offer a copy of the credit report and a written summary of the consumer’s rights along with this notification. After providing job applicants with a short period of time (typically three to five business days) to identify and begin disputing any errors in their credit report, employers may then take action based on the report and must once again notify the job applicant.

I’ve never been informed that a prospective employer was going to run a credit check on me (MIKE DANG???), so I suppose that means it hasn’t happened.

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Where to Change Your Passwords

From Mashable, a very good list of websites for which you should probably change your passwords because of the Heartbleed encryption flaw.

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Debt in America

The Los Angeles Review of Books has a really interesting interview with Andrew Ross, the author of Creditocracy, which examines debt in the U.S. and our “predatory debt-money system that only benefits the 1%.”

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We All Should Have Easier Access to Our Credit Scores

Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is urging credit companies to provide customers with their FICO credit scores for free on their monthly statements. The scores are used to determine our ability to access credit like taking out a loan for a house or car, and on our ability to get a desirable low interest rate on those loans. “Making consumers’ credit scores freely available on their monthly statement or online makes it easier for them to spot problems with their credit report,” Cordray said.

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An Ode to Kate Bingaman-Burt

Thanks, Kate.

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Access to Credit and the Poor

In the NYT Times Magazine, economics reporter Shaila Dewan looks at how credit card debt helps low-income people. For one thing, having access to credit and demonstrating an ability to pay back money you borrow builds a better credit profile that helps people save money over time.

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And Here Is Your Open Thread

I am not the person to ask about credit cards, because I only use them sparingly and don’t do things like play the airline miles game, but perhaps y’all can talk about what has worked for you below.

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Credit Card FAQ Copywriter Is a Mad Genius

Bank of America is on your side.

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Here Come 1 Thing Talking This And That

What is your 1 thing?

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More Retailers Were Victims of a Data Breach. Have You Looked at Your Accounts Lately?

On Dec. 19, Target was a victim of a data breach that initially affected a reported 40 million payment card numbers, but was later said to have affected 70 million customers. Neiman Marcus was also a victim of a cyber attack. And a new report by Reuters says that there are other retailers that were affected by smaller breaches, but those stores have remained unnamed.

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Five Credit Card Mistakes You Can Fix

Oops! It happens to all of us. We make a big mistake with our credit cards. These mistakes are not just embarrassing, they can be costly as well.

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Ten Years After Maxing Out My First Credit Card, I’m Still Figuring It Out

I got my first credit card in college, setting it aside for emergencies only. The first “emergency” was a pair of jeans from the Gap on Newbury Street, purchased on a quiet, wintry Tuesday. The second “emergency” was a plane ticket to San Diego. The other subsequent “emergencies” are less memorable, but most likely consisted of cheap handbags from H&M and Camel Lights.

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