January 21th, 2k7

January 21th, 2k7

I alluded to having some thoughts on personal credit in my previous post (about looking for a house to rent). So here goes:

The personal credit system currently used in the US SUCKS. There are three companies who keep track of your credit, whether you want them to or not. If you were to get your credit file from all three at the same time, they would contain three different versions of “you.” Which one is correct? Odds are, none of them. They are probably all incomplete and sometimes just plain wrong.

But that’s cool. I don’t really care too much about that. Chances are, there’s going to be as much bad as good left off of a given report. Whatever.

My pafuckingly HUGE problem with the current credit system is this: ANYBODY CAN REQUEST MY CREDIT FILE. There are certain procedures, if you want to keep everything legal, but it’s just enough to keep the honest people honest. About as effective as the cute little lock on the church collection box. What’s wrong, you ask, with any-old-body looking at my credit? Well, for one, it’s personal. It’s nobody’s damn business what my credit report looks like.

This wasn’t a big deal 15 years ago. If you wanted a JCPennies card, they might have looked at your credit, but that’s it. Now, everyone from a prospective employer to your insurance agent to your satellite TV company wants to take a peek at your credit. They claim it’s smart business, and saves them money. Hey, I’m all for saving money and bringing the consumer’s prices down, that’s freakin sweet. But it doesn’t really work that way.

My insurance quote went up when they looked at my credit. I didn’t know that not paying my Visa bill on time made me a bad driver. And what about employers running credit checks on prospective new hires? And this stuff isn’t even what really has me bent out of shape.

What pisses me off is this: These companies think it is important to them to check your credit, but none of them think it is important enough to report your payment activities to the credit agencies. The message here is pretty clear: It’s important to us that you HAVE good credit, but we refuse to HELP YOU BUILD good credit.

The solution is pretty simple, though. At least it’s simple at a legislative level. New law: Any company requesting a credit report on an individual must report that individuals payment history with that company. I don’t know about you, but my credit would have a hell of a lot more positive activity on it: Power, Phone, Cable/Satellite, Insurance, Cell Phone, and on and on.

But what do you think? Plausible?