Smart Money

DEAR BRUCE: I have two collections on my credit report from the hospital. The amounts are $57 and $1,462. I wasn't even aware of these charges until I ordered my credit report. I went ahead and paid the $57 bill and contacted Equifax to have them remove it. About a month later, I looked at my credit report again and both charges were gone! I didn't even pay the larger one. What do you think happened? I don't want to ask because I am happy my credit score is higher. -- Reader

DEAR READER: This is kind of a confusing environment, but what probably happened was some items were inadvertently placed on your credit report. When you wrote about them, the company immediately took care of the error and the charges were simply removed. Fortunately, you didn't pay the larger one.

I wouldn't worry about it for this kind of money. As long as your credit report is higher, get on your knees and say, "Thank you, Lord, for smiling on me today."

DEAR BRUCE: I heard that the government doesn't issue paper savings bonds anymore. Is this true and why? -- Paul

DEAR PAUL: This is not true in absolutely every instance, but on balance, the information you have is correct, and the explanation is simple: There's no reason to have paper savings bonds. They're an extra expense for the government or company issuing these bonds. It's a great idea that outlived its usefulness.

(Send questions to Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.)

(The Bruce Williams Radio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at It is also available at

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