Starting July 1, the credit scores of up to 14 million people could begin to rise as credit reports are scrubbed of nearly all civil judgments and many tax liens.
Consumer advocates hail the data’s deletion as a long-overdue victory for people whose scores were unfairly dinged by inaccurate information. Others worry the changes could inflate the scores of risky borrowers and have a catastrophic impact on lenders.
People shouldn’t expect an immediate jump in their scores, however.
On July 1, the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—will exclude new records of civil judgments and tax liens that don’t have minimum identifying information including Social Security numbers or dates of birth as well as any record of judgments or liens that hasn’t been updated within 90 days. The bureaus also will begin to remove old records of judgments and liens that don’t meet the enhanced standards, a process that’s expected to take several weeks, says Francis Creighton, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade group that represents the bureaus.
Credit scoring company FICO estimates that 6 to 7 percent of people who have FICO scores will have a tax lien or civil judgment purged from their records. Tax liens stem from unpaid state or federal tax bills, while civil judgments are court rulings from lawsuits filed over old debts, unpaid child support, evictions and other noncriminal matters. Judgments and liens show up in the public records section of credit reports and can seriously damage credit scores.