Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Group to sue McDonald's over Happy Meal toys

Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

at 15:58 on June 22, 2010, EDT.

WASHINGTON - A Washington-based consumer advocacy group threatened to file a lawsuit to file a lawsuit against McDonald's Tuesday, charging that the fast food chain 'unfairly and deceptively' markets toys to children through its Happy Meals.

"McDonald's marketing has the effect of conscripting America's children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald's," Stephen Gardner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest wrote to the heads of the chain in a letter announcing the lawsuit.

The centre, which has filed dozens of lawsuits against food companies in recent years, is hoping the publicity and the threat of a lawsuit will force McDonald's to negotiate with them on the issue. The group announced the lawsuit in the letter to McDonald's 30 days before filing it with the hope that the company will agree to stop selling the toys before a suit is filed.

McDonald's Vice-President of Communications, William Whitman, said in a statement that the company "couldn't disagree more" with CSPI's assertion that their toys violate any laws. He said McDonald's restaurants offer more variety than they ever have and Happy Meals are made smaller for kids.

"We are proud of our Happy Meal which gives our customers wholesome food and toys of the highest quality and safety," Whitman said. "Getting a toy is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald's."

The centre has not settled on a state in which to file the suit yet, but the group believes the toys in Happy Meals violate state consumer protection laws in Massachusetts, Texas, the Washington federal district, New Jersey and California.

The fast food company made a pledge in 2007 to advertise only two types of Happy Meals to children younger than 12: one with four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk, or one with a hamburger, apple dippers and milk. They both meet the company-set requirement of less than 600 calories, and no more than 35 per cent of calories from fat, 10 per cent of calories from saturated fat or 35 per cent total sugar by weight.

CSPI argues that even if those Happy Meals appear in advertisements, kids order the unhealthier meals most of the time.

The group is hoping its first lawsuit against the mega-chain will have a similar effect as its 2006 lawsuit against Kellogg that prompted the company to agree to a settlement raising the nutritional value of cereals and snacks it markets to children.

Still, some may accuse the group of extremism, arguing that it is the parents' responsibility to monitor what their children eat, not the restaurant's.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, says it's the parents responsibility too, but he equates the toy giveaways to a door to door salesman coming to a family's house every day and asking to privately speak with the children.

"At some point parents get worn down," Jacobson says. "They don't always want to be saying no to their children. We feel like an awful lot of parents would be relieved if this one pressure was removed from them."

More likely to foreclose on your loan with poor math skills: U.S. study

| Friday, 18 June 2010
If you have poor math skills, you're three times more likely to go into foreclosure over your mortgage loan found a new study led by Stephan Meier, a Columbia University assistant business professor.

The study, "Financial Literacy and Subprime Mortgage Delinquency," was conducted in 2008 and surveyed borrowers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island who took out subprime loans in 2006 and 2007. The five questions dealt with simple math problems.

The first question required the respondents to divide 300 by 2: "In a sale, a shop is selling all items at half price. Before the sale, a sofa costs $300. How much will it cost in the sale?" In the second question, borrowers had to calculate 10 per cent of 1,000: "If the chance of getting a disease is 10 per cent, how many people out of 1,000 would be expected to get the disease?"

About 16 per cent of those surveyed answered at least one of the first two questions incorrectly. Overall, 21 per cent of respondents whose math abilities placed them in the bottom quarter of the survey experienced foreclosure, versus seven per cent of those in the top quarter.

Meier also found that the results were the same across all levels of education and income, meaning even doctors who don't know how to budget their finances can wind up in foreclosure.

In U.S., 500 arrested for mortgage fraud

| Friday, 18 June 2010

Nearly 500 people have been arrested in a U.S.-wide crackdown on mortgage fraud since the operation began March 1. Federal officials found that Las Vegas was one of the major centres where scams were situated to falsley inflate house prices.

"I heard this many times," said Scott Hunter, a Las Vegas FBI agent who has interviewed hundreds of people lured into buying homes by crooked real estate agents, brokers and loan officers, to the Associated Press. "They said, 'Don't let your good credit go to waste. You can purchase these properties. This is how you acquire wealth.'

And when the party stopped and they were not able to keep inflating the prices on these houses, the whole thing collapsed."

Daniel Bogden, Nevada's U.S. attorney, said 123 defendants were charged, convicted or sentence within his state since the crackdown, named Operation Stolen Dreams, began. According to AP, Bogden estimated the losses in Nevada at almost $250 million.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Must shift trade focus, Carney says

St. John’s — The Canadian Press

Canada must shift its trade focus towards emerging economies, which account for two-thirds of global growth and are key drivers of the worldwide economic recovery, says Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney.

Canada's central bank head said Friday that countries such as China, India and Brazil are becoming growing centres of economic power and have a big impact on the price of oil, metals and other commodities, drivers of Canada's resources economy.

“The relatively slow recovery expected in our most important trading partner, along with ongoing sectoral adjustments, means that Canadian firms have to find new markets,” Mr. Carney said in a prepared speech Friday to a Newfoundland energy conference.

“The global economy is increasingly multi-polar,” he added. “Emerging-market economies currently account for about two-thirds of global growth. They represent almost one-half of the growth in imports over the past decade, particularly of capital goods. They are the main drivers of commodity prices and are therefore important determinants of our terms of trade.

“More fundamentally, they are increasingly thought to be leaders and innovators in public policy and business. Canada needs to become fully engaged with these emerging centres of economic power.”

Canada's trade with China, India and other parts of Asia has grown in recent years, mainly in grains, fertilizers, coal and other commodities. Chinese companies have also made major investments in Canada's oil sands and mining sector in a bid to secure future supplies of energy and key industrial metals such as copper and zinc.

In his speech to the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association, Mr. Carney also predicted the global recovery will not be smooth. And in the absence of other demand growth and exchange rate changes, there could be a shortfall of up to $7-trillion in worldwide GDP by 2015.

“The global economic recovery is proceeding, but it is increasingly uneven across countries. There is strong momentum in emerging-market economies; some consolidation of the recoveries in the United States, Japan, and other industrialized economies; and the possibility of renewed weakness in Europe.”

Mr. Carney also said global growth ahead will be more commodity intensive because emerging-market economies' share of global growth is now two-thirds, rather than the one-half it was a decade ago. In a spring forecast, the Bank of Canada projected an additional 30-per-cent increase in the prices of non-energy commodities over the next few years.

That's good news for Canadian resources companies, he said, but there are still major challenges ahead for corporate Canada, including a need to grow productivity and technology investments to become more competitive in the global market.

“The imperatives for Canadian businesses appear clear,” Mr. Carney said. “New suppliers need to be sourced; new markets opened; a new approach to managing for a more volatile environment developed

Thursday, June 10, 2010

U.S. could learn from Canada's mortgage market, blogs WSJ

| Thursday, 10 June 2010
The superior practices of Canada's mortgage market should be imitated by the U.S., blogged Wall Street Journal mortgage and real estate reporter James R. Hagerty. At a U.S. housing-policy conference this week, Bank of Canada researcher Virginie Tract received "one of the biggest rounds of applause" by simply describing how the Canadian mortgage market works. She, however, declined to say if Canada does have a better system than the U.S, wrote Hagerty.

On the WSJ's Developments blog, Hagerty heralded the following points as outlined by Tract:

- Canadian lenders are closely regulated and conservative, with subprime loans never accounting for more than 5 per cent of the market.
- All Canadian mortgage loans give the lender recourse to the borrower's other assets, such as cars or savings, if the loan defaults.
- In Canada, when a mortgage loan is more than 80 per cent of the property value, the borrower must buy mortgage insurance.

Hagerty, after comparing these standards to U.S. practices, pointed out that "as of March, 0.44% of Canadian mortgage borrowers were three months or more past due on their loans. In the U.S., the rate was 9.5%."

Wells Fargo closes outlets in Canada

Barbara Shecter, Financial Post · Wednesday, Jun. 9, 2010

Wells Fargo Financial Corp. Canada is closing its outlets across the country and will no longer make customer loans, but will maintain existing real estate, auto and consumer loan accounts.

“In response to recent analysis of our operations, we have made the decision to stop originating consumer loan products in Canada,” the company said in a statement to customers on its website, which states that Wells Fargo has 130 stores across Canada.

The company is also suspending originations in its private-label credit card business.

Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest banks in the United States, began to withdraw consumer lending from Canada in 2008 at the height of the financial and economic crisis. In November 2008, it decided to exit the indirect auto-lending business. Then, last July, Wells Fargo stopped offering residential mortgages and home-equity loans in Canada.

Wells Fargo Financial was the largest of the company’s five business lines in Canada, with total consumer receivables of $1.9-billion at the end of April.

Wells Fargo and other U.S. lenders such as General Electric Co. thrived in Canada before the financial crisis. The companies loaned money to consumers and home buyers, including those who may not have qualified for loans from Canadian banks.

Canada’s financial services sector is dominated by the domestic chartered banks and while foreign players have managed to get a toehold in the country, history has been marked by dramatic entrances followed by often quiet retreats.

According to the Wells Fargo website, the company has been providing financial products and services to Canadians for more than 60 years.

Some operations will remain in Canada, including a building in suburban Toronto to administer existing loans and mortgages.

“There will be no change to our customers’ existing account terms and conditions,” said Rick Valade, president of Well Fargo Financial Corp. Canada. “We still have more than 450 team members based in Canada available to support and service existing customers.”

Business loan operations will continue through division under the umbrella of parent company Wells Fargo & Co., such as Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc., and Wells Fargo Global Broker Network, an insurance brokering and risk management services company.

In April, Wells Fargo & Co., which has combined assets of US$57-billion, merged its asset lending businesses in Canada with similar operations acquired through its purchase of Wachovia Crop. in 2008. The combined operations operate under the name Wells Fargo Capital Finance.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wal-Mart new kid on bank block

John Greenwood, Financial Post ·

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. changed the face of retail in North America by making life easier for the little guy through its simple formula of cutting prices and cranking up volumes.

Is banking next?

This week the retailing giant won final approval to open a bank in Canada, providing entry to an industry that has been much criticized for perceived high prices and lack of competition.

Andrew Pelletier, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada, said the company plans to provide "convenient and value-focused financial products and services" for its customers.

He declined to discuss details of the company's plans in advance of the official lunch of the new bank, set for June 15.

While the rise of Wal-Mart has been a boon for consumers, it has been devastating for competitors, many of whom ended up being bought out or going out of business.

In the United States, fierce resistance from the banking industry forced the retailer to abandon a bid to buy a bank early in the decade, though it continues to offer services such as cheque cashing and money transfer.

Wal-Mart applied for the licence to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the Canadian banking regulator, nearly two years ago. Mr. Pelletier declined to discuss why the process has taken so long.

If Wal-Mart saw opportunities south of the border where there are more than 1,000 banks fighting it out for customer deposits, there would likely be an even bigger prize waiting in this country, where the industry is dominated by a oligopoly of just six major players.

Consumer groups regularly complain about credit card fees and low interest rates on savings accounts available to bank customers in Canada. Management fees on Canadian mutual funds, most of which are controlled by the big banks, are similarly out of whack compared with the United States and other developed countries.

In the United States, Wal-Mart is a significant player in the money-transfer business, partly because many of its customers are recent immigrants still with family in other parts of the world. Additional services, such as the ability to offer deposits and make loans, would provide further opportunity to the company at a time when profits from its bread-and-butter retail business have come under pressure from the recession.

Wal-Mart would not be the first non-bank to try to break into financial services in Canada. Other retailers such as Canadian Tire Corp. and Loblaw Cos. are also working to establish themselves.

One of Wal-Mart's main advantages may be its reputation for low prices, which may help it get the word out to potential customers that it can offer a better deal than the competition at a time when Canadian consumers are scrambling for all the savings they can get.

The federal government has recently taken steps to shake up the banking sector, including the decision to make it easier for credit unions to expand across the country and the move to prohibit banks from using their websites to sell insurance.

Opening a bank is a costly undertaking for Wal-Mart and the company will likely move carefully as it plots its moves over the next few years, but it clearly believes the investment will pay off.

More rate increases on the way?

Janet Whitman, Financial Post Canada, which remains on much sounder economic footing than the United States, had a better-than-expected increase of 24,700 workers added to payrolls in May, with most of the gain in full-time and private-sector positions, Statistics Canada reported. Bay Street had been forecasting a 15,000 gain.

The U.S. rate isn't likely to head much lower this year or next because the expected U.S. economic growth of around 3% or 4% won't be enough to create sufficient jobs for the roughly 15 million Americans out of work and new entrants in the labour market.

Canada's strong jobs report, meanwhile, shows the Bank of Canada was on the right track by raising interest rates earlier this week despite the financial turmoil in Europe, said Benjamin Reitzes, an economist with BMO Capital Markets. "Canadian employment is now only 108,000 from the peak hit in October 2008, and is up 1.7% from a year ago, much better than the still-negative yearly change in the U.S.," he said.

The strong report indicates more interest-rate increases are coming, perhaps as soon as July, some analysts said.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cnanada added 24,700 jobs in May!

The Canadian Press

The Canadian economy keeps outperforming expectations, continuing a trend of strong monthly gains by adding 24,700 jobs in May after a massive increase in the previous month.
Economists had expected a more modest 15,000 increase, particularly following April's oversized 108,000 gain.

Several underlying factors in the May numbers, announced Friday by Statistics Canada, pointed to a labour market that is returning to health quickly after the 2008-09 recession.
Statistics Canada noted that the job gains would have been stronger but for the loss of 42,500 part-time workers and 28,000 from the self-employment ranks.
May saw a 67,300 increase in full-time workers, an indication employers are increasing work hours as they step up production. There was more good news in the May numbers: regular employment rose dramatically by 52,800 jobs and the private sector added 43,400.
Even the summer labour market for students showed signs of normalizing, with 54,000 more students aged 20 to 24 finding employment last month, an increase of 3.1 percentage points, compared with May 2009 when the economy was in the throes of a deep slump.

Unemployment rate unchanged

Despite increases in all the major categories, Canada's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.1 per cent. That's because more people were drawn into the labour force in anticipation of finding work.

Employment gains in Canada have generally surpassed economists' expectations since last July, when the economy began to come out of its nearly year-long slide.

Since then, Canada's economy has added 310,000 jobs, recouping about 75 per cent of the losses suffered during the recession. Among core-aged workers, women have fared better than men by almost two-to-one.

The government agency said the tkey gains last month came in the transportation and warehousing industries, as well as health care and social assistance, and public administration.
Construction, which has been strong of late, was little changed last month, as was the factory sector.

There were also setbacks in the accommodation and food services tsector, information, culture and recreation, and in natural resources.

Regionally, all provinces except British Columbia and Prince Edward Island saw employment rise or remain steady in May, with Ontario registering the biggest increase with a 17,700 pickup.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

TDMP again named one of PROFIT'S 100 Fastest-Growing Companies

| Wednesday, 2 June 2010

TDMP (The Tax Deductible Mortgage Plan) was named one of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies in the 22st annual PROFIT 100 rankings by PROFIT magazine. This is the second year running that TDMP has been named to this list, which reflects the fact that Canadian homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to pay off their mortgage quicker while saving more money for their retirement.
"Our ranking in PROFIT magazine this year suggests that Canadian homeowners are increasingly looking for a better mortgage strategy," said Sandy Aitken, CEO and founder of TDMP. "TDMP has now licensed over 200 independent mortgage brokers and agents across Canada who are able to put their clients into a superior mortgage plan and enjoy significant tax and other financial benefits.
This unique mortgage tool is exclusively available through independent mortgage brokers who have licensed with TDMP. TDMP is not available at any bank and provides mortgage brokers with a big advantage - a way to help their clients make their mortgage tax deductible using the proprietary TDMP automated cash flow management system.
My web site for more information is:

House prices have peaked for the year

By Sunny Freeman

TORONTO — Skyrocketing home prices appear to have reached their height and are expected to stabilize for the rest of the year and into 2011 as the real estate market cools significantly, economists say.

Gregory Klump, chief economist at the Canadian Real Estate Association, foresees a slight decline in year-over-year prices in the latter half of 2010 before they flatten in 2011. This will happen as new listings come onto the market faster than anticipated and balance out the dynamics between buyers and sellers.

On Wednesday, the real estate association revised its projected housing price increase for this year down from 5.4 per cent to just 1.6 per cent over 2009.

The association predicted that the national average housing price will decline by 1.5 per cent by 2011, driven down by lower prices in the strong markets of B.C. and Ontario, while prices in the rest of the country will remain stable.

Will Dunning, chief economist at the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, said this year’s prices have likely peaked, and should remain flat for the rest of the year before falling in 2011.

“Last year there was a pattern during the year — slow at the start, strong at the finish, and it’s going to be the opposite this year, almost a mirror image,” he said.

“Somebody who’s in a position to buy can take the time to make sure they get the property they want at a price they’re comfortable with,” he added.

The real estate association also lowered its 2010 national forecast for resale transactions by nearly 40,000 from its previous forecast of 527,300 due to a weaker-than-expected start to the year in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta.

“The biggest contributor to the downward revision in annual sales activity would be British Columbia, where affordability has begun to bite into sales activity. Their first quarter came in weaker than expected and that’s expected to carry throughout the year,” Klump said.

The association now expects 490,600 units will be resold nationally this year through the Multiple Listing Service. This is still up 5.5 per cent from 2009.

A number of temporary factors pulled sales forward to the latter part of 2009 and the first part of this year, including anticipation of higher mortgage rates, tougher mortgage lending regulations and new taxes in Ontario and B.C. that will add thousands of dollars to the final price tag of many houses starting July 1.

The association’s revision came a day after the Bank of Canada announced it was hiking its key lending rate from an emergency low of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. Many economists predict that the era of historically low interest rates has come to an end and that rates are now on an upward trend.

Although mortgage rates have gone up and are expected to rise further, the association says the higher cost of borrowing will have a minimal impact on the market this year. Instead, sharp price increases earlier in the year appear to have been the main factor for the expected decrease in demand in British Columbia and Ontario.

Dunning said while some buyers “could drive themselves crazy” trying to calculate whether it’s better to get into the market now while mortgage rates are low but prices are high, or to wait until the opposite is true, it’s so difficult to get it right that homebuyers should just buy when the time is right for them.

Rob Hafer, regional manager at Invis mortgage brokerage, agreed that market timing is tough, and generally not worth the headache since a house is such a long-term investment.

“If you’re going to buy real estate, it’s a long-term investment, so if you can afford the home now … no matter when you bought within a couple years you’re probably ahead of the game anyway,” he said.

“If you can get in now and you can hold it long term, it’s always a good time to buy,” he added.

Klump said the market adjustment will stop short of venturing into a buyers’ market as “a more challenging pricing environment” will deter some potential sellers and limit the supply of available homes.

“A lot of people who were thinking they were going to clean up on their asking price are going to be faced with a lot of competition from other sellers out there, and ultimately will take their house off the market and try again when the pricing environment becomes more to their liking,” he said

But Dunning said balanced markets don’t last very long and said he believes market conditions will soon favour buyers.

“It’s usually always one way or the other, and we’ve had this immensely powerful sellers’ market and …there could be a very rapid transition so that it now becomes a buyers’ market.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Carney plots cautious rate path

Jeremy Torobin Globe and Mail

Mark Carney is taking a cautious approach to raising interest rates, weighing Canada’s powerful economic rebound against the uncertainty of an “increasingly uneven” recovery across the globe.

The Bank of Canada Governor became the first central banker in the Group of Seven to raise borrowing costs since the financial crisis and recession, increasing the benchmark overnight rate Tuesday by one-quarter of a percentage point to a still exceptionally low 0.5 per cent.

Policy makers will keep an eye on Europe’s troubles, and won’t move more aggressively than they see fit, the Bank of Canada suggested, even though the economy is rebounding rapidly and inflation will likely exceed its 2-per-cent target this year. Much like in 2008 when the U.S. financial crisis pulled Canada into recession, the country’s economic health depends in large part on policy makers in other countries successfully containing homemade problems.

“Interest rates are incredibly low, given the strength of the domestic economy, but the global story is where it’s at right now,” Eric Lascelles, chief economic strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in an interview. “The level of uncertainty suggests there’s not a lot of confidence in the forecasts.’’ The open-ended nature of the announcement sparked a fall in the Canadian dollar and yields on two-year government bonds as investors pulled back their bets on what they had expected might be a series of uninterrupted rate hikes going forward.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Credit Score Secrets

by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, for Yahoo! Canada Finance
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ever wonder how that magical number – The Credit Score – is computed?

Whether you’re obsessing over your FICO score or your Beacon score, you’re likely shopping for credit. The FICO score was developed by Fair Isaac & Co., which began credit scoring in the late 1950s. The point of the score is consolidate your credit profile into a single number. The Beacon score is a brand name used by Equifax, the largest credit-reporting agency in Canada. While Fair, Isaac & Co. and the credit bureaus do not reveal how these scores are computed, whether you get a loan or not is a numbers game: The more points you score on your credit app, the better you do.

There’s a reason you have to fill out so much information when you’re applying for credit. Everything counts. Your age, your address, and even your telephone number all have a role to play in whether or not you’ll get credit.

Young ‘uns and old folk are at a disadvantage since under 21 and over 65 likely means you aren’t working; no points for you. If you're married, you’ll get a point for being “stable.” And while you might think that being divorced would work against you (all that spousal and child support), most creditors don’t give a whit.

No dependents? Zero points. You’re probably still gallivanting like a teenager since you haven’t yet “settled down.” One to three dependents? Score one point. You’re a solid citizen. More than three dependents? Score zero. Have you no self control! And don’t you know you that with all those mouths to feed you could get in debt over your head?

Your home address counts too. Live in a trailer park or with your parents? Bad risk, score zero points. You could skip town with nary a look over your shoulder. Rent an apartment? Give yourself one point. Own a home with a big fat mortgage and you’ll score major points since someone has already done some checking and you qualified for a mortgage. Own your home free and clear? Even better. You’ve proven you can pay off a sizable debt and now you have a pile of equity that the card company would love to help you spend.

Previous Residence? Zero to five years (some applications only go to three years), score zero points since you move around too much. No land-line: zero points. How the Dickens are they gonna find you when you fall behind in payments. Since they can’t use your cell phone to actually locate you physically, it doesn’t count.
Less then one year at your present employer earns you no points. Again, it’s a stability and earning continuity thing. The longer you’re on the job, the more likely you are to be bored out of your mind but you’ll score more points. And, not to overstate the obvious, the more you make the better.

The more willing you are to make your lender rich, the higher your score will be. Since the FICO score was originally designed to measure customer profitability, if you pay off your balance in full every month, you’re going to score lower than the guy who only makes the minimum payment and pays huge amounts of interest.

Scores range from 300 to 900 and if you manage to hit 750 or above you’ll qualify for the best rates and terms. Score 620 or lower and you’ll pay premium interest if you even qualify; 620 is the absolute minimum credit score for insured mortgages.

Your credit score can change quickly. Payment history accounts for about 35% of your credit score and just one negative report can drop your pristine score into the doldrums. Since scores are updated monthly, your bad behaviour won’t go unpunished for long.

The type of credit you have counts for about 10% of your score. And your current level of indebtedness accounts for about 30% so going too close to your credit limit is another way to deflate your score. One rule of thumb is to keep your balances below the 65% mark. So if you have a limit of $1,000, you won’t ever carry a balance that’s more than $650.

Having too much credit available can also hurt your ability to borrow since the more credit you have, the more trouble you can get yourself into. If you’ve got a walletful of cards, canceling credit you’re not using can be a good thing – for both you and your credit score – over the long haul. Careful though. If the card you’re eliminating is one with a long, positive history, you’ll eliminate what could be a very good record of your repayment when you cancel the card. You’d be better off cutting up the card so you aren’t tempted to use it, while you establish a track record (six months or more) before you actually cancel the account.
Credit shopping can also cost you points. Since about 10% of your credit score relates to the number and frequency of new credit enquiries, applying willy nilly for new credit will end up costing you. However, it’s only when a lender checks your score that this registers on your score. Checking your own credit report/score is considered a “soft” inquiry and does not go against your score.