Some credit scores are about to go up in the blink of an eye.
As of July 1, the three major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) will exclude tax liens and civil judgements from their reports, unless this information can be verified by the consumer's name, address and either social security number or date of birth.
These public records must also be verified at least every 90 days by visiting the courthouses in which they were filed, or they will not be included.
The vast majority of civil judgements and about half of the nation's tax liens will not meet the new requirements, according to a statement by the Consumer Data Industry Association. This means about 12 million credit scores are about to get a boost, reports the New York Times.
Prior to these new rules, false matches were an all-too-common problem, meaning your score could have suffered because someone by the same name as you had a lien or judgement against them. (Which is why we always recommend checking your credit score regularly for errors.)
A tax lien is the government's claim on your property in the event that you fail to pay taxes owed. A civil judgement, on the other hand, is a court ruling against you in a non-criminal matter where a payment of damages is owed, such as in a child-support case.
Now, both consumers with these negative public records and those who were mistakenly reported as having them will see modest increases to their scores. The Times reports that the typical increase will be 20 points or less.
But since your credit score can impact everything from your interest rates to insurance premiums to whether you land that dream job, every little bit helps.