Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
Credit reports drop medical debt
The biggest credit bureaus announced changes to how medical debt is reflected on credit reports, said AnnaMaria Andriotis in The Wall Street Journal. Starting this summer, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion agreed to hold off on adding unpaid medical debts to credit reports "for a full year after being sent to collections," and will remove any debt that has already been paid, which "can stick around on a consumer's credit report for up to seven years." The moves came after pressure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which estimates that roughly one in five borrowers have some medical debts sitting on their credit reports — and potentially weighing down their credit score. But its research indicates "that medical debt is less predictive of a person's ability to repay than other kinds of loans."
Netflix to charge for account sharing
It may be time to stop mooching off your friends' Netflix accounts, said Alexandra Canal in Yahoo Finance. After years of "turning a blind eye" to the popular practice of password sharing, the streaming giant said last week it will begin charging an additional $2 to $3 "for subscribers who share accounts with people outside of their household." The new pricing model will be tested in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru first before eventually rolling out in the United States. Facing "obvious headwinds in recent quarters as subscriber growth slows," Netflix expects the password-sharing crackdown to boost its subscriber count and revenue. Netflix also recently raised its prices, with a standard plan now costing $15.50 per month, up from $14.
China eases up on corporations
U.S. listed Chinese stocks had their biggest two-day advance since 1998 last week, after Beijing officials pledged to ease a regulatory crackdown, said Abhishek Vishnoi and Jeanny Yu in Bloomberg. "Investors are expecting authorities to follow up their words with concrete action after news that China will not expand a trial on property taxes" amid a housing market slump. A softer line from Chinese authorities suggests "the government may be nearing an end of punitive measures imposed on the internet sector," which have weighed heavily on stocks like Alibaba and Tencent. China also "voiced optimism about reaching a resolution" with U.S. regulators over providing access to audits of Chinese companies, so they can continue to be listed on U.S. stock exchanges.
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