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Utilization rate may be cause for lower scores when you have few accounts or low credit limits

Dear Experian,

I only have one debt which is less than $1,000. I also have two credit cards. Together they have a balance of about $2,000 each month, but I pay them off monthly. Why isn’t my credit score higher?

- KCE

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You might still owe on your mortgage after declaring bankruptcy

Dear Experian,

I want to know if I still owe my mortgage company after filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When I filed I was in foreclosure, and they said I owed $72,000. I paid that amount in full. Now the company is saying I owe $59,000 more. Does this sound right? I have my discharge papers from the courts.

- ARB

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Voluntary surrender of truck cosigned for during relationship could wreck credit scores

Dear Experian,

I recently co-signed for someone, and our relationship ended. They gave me the truck back and said they no longer wanted it. I have a car payment myself, so it will be hard to have two payments. I also am trying to save money to buy a house within next year. I have thought about voluntarily surrendering the vehicle. My credit has just recently improved. If I decided to do this would it ruin my credit to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get approved for a mortgage?

- CZC

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Correcting an address in your credit report

Dear Experian,

I need to dispute an incorrect mailing address on my credit file. What is the process to correct my address?

- FLR

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Car returned under Service Member Relief Act is a voluntary repossession

Dear Experian,

I am in the military and currently serving in Afghanistan. Prior to my departure I turned in my car lease under the Service Member Relief Act. When I check my credit report, it shows up as voluntary repossession, and then right after that it says “Due to military service.” Does this have a negative impact on my credit?

- JSP

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Lack of U.S. credit history can result in higher utility deposit

Dear Experian,

I’m a visiting J1 exchange professor at the University of Hawaii, and I’m being asked by the Hawaiian Electric company to pay a pretty hefty deposit for service to the house I’m renting. They have told me that Experian is the company they use for credit ratings and that the deposit is based on a rating provided by you. I have a very good credit rating in my home country. Could this rating not be used by your company?

- CHG

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Checking to see if your children have credit reports

Dear Experian,

How do I check to see if my children have open credit reports? The form requires a driver’s license number, which they do not have.

- WMV

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“Short sales” usually deleted 7 years from the mortgage’s first late payment

Dear Experian,

How long is a short sale on your credit report? We did a short sale in December 2010, and it is still on our credit report.

- SPG

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Make payments only to the collection agency that currently owns the debt

Dear Experian,

I have two collection agencies reporting the same item. If I pay the current collection company will both of them be updated as paid in full or do I have to pay them separately?

- WJH

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Closed accounts will remain in credit history for up to 10 years

Dear Experian,

How do I have old credit card accounts that are long ago closed or paid off removed from my credit report? I know that my score is negatively affected because of so many “open” accounts!

- EDC

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Collection accounts for repossessed car will show in credit report

Dear Experian,

If you have had a vehicle repossessed, will it stay on your credit if the creditor keeps selling the papers to different creditors?

- JNB

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Accounts in Ch. 13 bankruptcy remain 7 years

Dear Experian,

How long do accounts included in chapter 13 bankruptcy remain on your report?

- RCH

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Missing payments will worsen impact of mortgage short sale

Dear Experian,

How will it affect my credit score if I short sell my house without missing any mortgage payments versus missing payments prior to the sale?

- BSB

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Cosigining for an apartment lease could hurt your credit

Dear Experian,

I would like to better understand how co-signing for apartment leases affects credit.

- IAB

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Adding telephone number to temporary fraud alert

Dear Experian,

I want to add my cell phone number to my file because I just put in a 90 day fraud alert. I noticed when I pulled my file up online, you only show my home number. When I call the numbers on the letter I received, it just wants me to order a report. I already have the online report.

- MSP

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Paid student loans listed by semester won’t hurt credit

Dear Experian,

I have student loans on my report with different amounts but the same account number. They are all under accounts in good standing. I think that they are repeated. They are listed nine times! I also have two other student loan accounts with the same account number but with a different company. I have consolidated my school loans twice so I’m assuming that they are from before I consolidated. Do all these hurt my credit? They are all paid/never late/closed, but I’m concerned it shows that I over extend myself.

- AMS

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Landlord does not need a judgment to report unpaid rent to Experian

Dear Experian,

Does a landlord have to have a judgment against a former tenant in order for the debt to be reported? Can a collection agency report a debt without obtaining a judgment?

– WLW

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Experian will removed delinquent authorized user accounts on request

Dear Experian,

I am listed as an authorized user on two of my husband’s accounts, one of which was charged off, and the other is in collections. They are showing up on my credit report and negatively impacting me. How can I get these off my credit report?

- SHR

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Authorized user account not appearing on the credit report

Dear Experian,

I checked my credit report online and saw that it says I have no credit cards. I am an authorized user on a card, and I pay the balance every month. Why doesn’t it appear on my report?

- MDM

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Being removed as a cosigner from children’s student loans

Dear Experian,

I co-signed college loans for my children. They are now both out of school, working and re-paying the student loans on time with no delinquencies. I would like to remove my name as co-signer. Will this increase my credit score, and will it decrease their credit scores?

- PBK

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Adding an authorized user to your account won’t hurt your credit scores

Dear Experian,

Will adding one or more authorized users (my husband and my daughter) to my credit card accounts affect me negatively? My daughter will not have a card to use; I only want to help establish her credit.

- AGF

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Lender might repossess van even after several years of non-payment

Dear Experian,

I took out a loan for a van in 2008 and lost my job shortly afterwards. I only made two payments on it. The lender never came looking to take back the vehicle. This past week I received a letter from them stating that they want the van. What are my options? Can you help?

- GLM

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Recent late payments hurt credit scores the most

Dear Experian,

Why has my credit score dropped 42 points? There is a late payment on one of my cards which has since been brought current, and four of my accounts have been paid off and have a “0″ balance. Why doesn’t my score increase as quickly when I pay off accounts as it does when I miss a payment?

- KRS

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A creditor can request that an account be removed from your credit report

Dear Experian,

Can a creditor request to remove an account from my credit report? Also, how long would it take for the removal to take effect?

- JKJ

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Voluntary repossession would have seriously damaged credit scores

Dear Experian,

I am trying to trade-in my car; however, I am upside down on my current car loan. If I trade it, my payments will be really high. The salesperson is trying to convince me to do a voluntary repossession on my current vehicle. She said that it would not be a big hit on my credit and my new car payment will then be lower. I told her that was something that I really had to think about and research. I don’t know much about what she was talking about, and I did not want to make an impulse decision.

- NTN

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