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Credit report dispute score(TNS)—Disputing a mistake on your credit report could get easier and the effects of medical debt less severe under changes being made by the three largest credit-reporting agencies.

The Monday announcement by the agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—comes after months of negotiations between the companies and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Consumer advocates have long sought a revamp that would reduce errors on credit report and make correcting them easier. Data collected by the agencies on hundreds of millions of people are used to create credit scores, which can determine who gets a loan and how much interest is paid on it.

“The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports. This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections for millions of consumers across the country,” Schneiderman says in a statement.

Under the changes announced Monday, people who contest items in their credit reports will receive more information concerning those disputes, including instructions on what they can do if they don’t like the answer they get. In a bid to increase accuracy, medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day waiting period to allow time for insurance payments to be applied.

The agencies agreed to remove from credit reports previously reported medical collections that have been or are being paid by insurance companies.

This comes after a move in August...

Read more: Disputing Credit Report Could Get Easier under New Rules

Mid adult couple holding paint swatches.(TNS)—Sharing your life with someone is a beautiful thing, but that doesn’t always mean you share the same design and style preferences when it comes to your home. Whether you’ve lived together for one year or 20, use this advice from highly rated interior designers to stop the fights that have kept you from painting the walls or tiling the floors.

1. Start with a design plan
Jodi Schavone, owner of Décor Coach in Apex, N.C., says to make a list of how the room has to function for each person before embarking on a design project. This will help couples and families prioritize and understand why one idea might be better than another.

Think realistically about how you’ll use the space, along with whether you have a big family or like to entertain. Look through pictures online or in magazines, and talk openly about your likes and dislikes.

2. Listen to each other
Communicate openly, and don’t forget to listen. Interior designers say the majority of their job comes down to listening to clients. Sometimes your spouse or partner might just want his or her ideas heard. Discussing concerns helps to avoid conflict, and will help you determine what he or she likes about a particular color, pattern or piece of furniture.

3. Blend your design styles
“A home is like a marriage,” Schavone says. “It won’t work if it’s one-sided.” Not everything has to match. There are ways to mix style preferences, according to Schavone. This could be as easy as using one person’s color choices with the...

Read more: 5 Tips to Avoid Home-Design Arguments

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pay_down_debtThe National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC) February online poll revealed that most taxpayers (68 percent) would prefer to pay down their debt with a tax refund this year instead of growing their personal savings.

“These poll results indicate that debt is still getting in the way of personal savings for many Americans,” says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the NFCC.

While there are a number of good reasons to become less dependent on tax
refunds, it is wise to have a plan ready in case a check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) arrives this year. In 2014, the average tax refund for individual taxpayers was $3,034 according to the IRS. Compare that to the average credit card debt of $5,047 for adult consumers with credit cards in the previous year, according to a report by CreditCards.com. If the average refund amount were entirely committed to the repayment of the average credit card debt, it could pay it down by more than half.

The NFCC encourages people to consider the following tips when deciding how
to repay debt with their tax refund:

•       If the debt is costing more than what is being earned from interest on savings, debt repayment should be considered as the top priority.
•       If committing the entire tax refund to repay a debt does not completely erase the balance owed, a plan should be in place to accelerate the payoff
of the remaining balance.
•       If using the refund to settle a debt for...

Read more: NFCC Online Poll Reveals How Taxpayers Plan to Use Their Refunds

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businesswoman point with finger on paper to sign up contractRecently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced new disclosure rules, which will go into effect this summer. While their activation is still months away, lenders are already weary that it will make the closing process much more complicated, and could possibly mislead consumers.

“New disclosure forms for real estate transactions will completely change the homebuying process as it’s known today,” said Michelle Korsmo, CEO of The American Land Title Association, in response to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray’s recent testimony before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

“As our member companies work to implement these new forms on Aug. 1, we strongly urge Director Cordray to announce a five-month restrained enforcement period so that new business processes can be adjusted to comply with these regulations,” Korsmo continued, explaining that as with previous regulatory reform, only when the new forms are in practice will many issues and defects be discovered.

“Unfortunately, we’re already aware of one major problem with the new CFPB forms,” Korsmo stated. “The Bureau’s Closing Disclosure, which replaces the current HUD-1 Settlement Statement, inaccurately discloses the fees associated with title insurance premiums for consumers. State law and regulation in half of the United States dictates that consumers must pay title insurance rates that are...

Read more: New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Forms May Mislead Consumers, Complicate Lending

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