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Credit Reports & Scores

Credit Scores Get a Boost

Credit histories will no longer carry black marks from tax liens and civil judgments.

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Changes may be coming to your credit score. Starting July 1, the three major credit-reporting agencies will exclude negative in­formation related to tax liens and civil judgments from the credit histories of millions of consumers.

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The shift is part of the National Consumer Assistance Plan, announced in 2015 as an effort to ensure that Equifax, Experian and TransUnion maintain accurate and current consumer information. Under the new rules, tax lien and civil judgment records will be excluded from credit reports if they don’t include the consumer’s name and address as well as a Social Security number or date of birth. Many tax liens and the vast majority of civil judgments fail to meet those standards. As a result, 6% of consumers who have credit scores—some 12 million people—will have these black marks removed and see a boost in their scores, says FICO, with more than 1 million seeing a bump of 20 points or more.

To check for a change in your score after July 1, sign up at CreditKarma.com to see VantageScore scores from Equifax and Trans­Union. Or see your FICO score by creating an account with Discover’s Free Credit Scorecard, which is free for all, not just Discover customers. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three agencies, which you can access at www.annualcreditreport.com.

SEE ALSO: 7 Habits of People With Excellent Credit Scores