John Oliver took a break from bashing GOP front-runner Donald Trump Sunday to look at the credit report industry, and the comedian's report was far from flattering. He found that rampant errors on the reports often force people to deal with enormous obstacles in their daily lives. At the end of the segment, Oliver decided to give the three major credit firms -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- a taste of their own medicine. The comedian revealed that he had created three parody websites with strikingly similar names to the trio of companies -- Experianne.com, "I'm sure that will not happen 95 percent of the time and apparently that is good enough!"
Credit monitoring agency Equifax revealed shocking news late Thursday: A data breach of the company's servers from mid-May through July 2017 resulted in the theft of the personal information of up to 143 million U.S. consumers--a huge chunk of the country's 324 million population. Head to the Potential Impact page of the Equifax Security website to find out if you were affected. If the credit agency doesn't believe you were impacted, it'll tell you so and pitch you to register for Equifax's "TrustID Premier" credit monitoring service, which the company will provide for free for one year regardless of whether or not your data was stolen. Regardless of whether you accept TrustID Premier, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report for fraudulent activity--even if Equifax "believes that your personal information was not impacted."
From October 2017, banks will be able to utilise the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company's new industry-wide imaging system. Customers will pay them into their bank as usual but banks will swap images of the cheques instead of popping them in the post. "The new system will mean that if they pay in a cheque on a weekday they will be able to withdraw the funds by 23.59 on the next weekday (excluding bank holidays) at the latest," said the organisation in a statement. Some banks, including Barclays and Lloyds, have already trialled a similar technology in their apps. Customers can access funds (limited to around £500) by taking a photo of a cheque using their smartphone.
Although the future of payments is digital, thanks to contactless and mobile, physical methods like cheques are still remarkably popular. For years, recipients have needed to wait up to five days for their signed piece of paper to clear, but that's all about to change. Thanks to a new image-based processing system implemented by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, cheques can now be cleared in a day. The new process is simple. Instead of taking each cheque and sending it via post to a clearing centre -- which involves a system of checking, verifying and transportation around the country -- the new system allows banks to simply take photos of them and swap the resulting images with other financial institutions.
U.S. consumer debt was $13.7 trillion in Q1 2019, according to AmericanBanker.com, Credit balances were up, too: $850 billion in Q1 2019, an increase of $33 billion from Q1 2018. The same report states that U.S. household debt rose consistently for almost the past five years. In 2017, 60% of U.S. cardholders between 18 and 34 carried large balances and/or continually paid late fees--with about 8% in serious delinquency (CNBC.com). In 2018, the Federal Reserve cited 7 million Americans were at least 90 days behind on their car loan payments.