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Effect of mortgage loan modification on credit scores

Dear Experian,

I’m asking my bank to do a loan modification on my mortgage. They said that I need to be 30 days late on my payment in order to do the modification. Is this going to damage my credit?

- RBL

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Be very cautious about cosigning your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s lease

Dear Experian,

I am thinking about cosigning an apartment lease for my girlfriend. I would not live there. I know that if she makes a late payment or doesn’t pay that I will be responsible for the lease payments and that it will show on my credit report. But, will the simple fact that I am a cosigner show up on my credit report if I want to apply for a loan or mortgage for myself? Assuming she pays as agreed will cosigning affect my credit score?

- LYB

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How long an auto repossession will affect your credit

Dear Experian,

I am a graduate student with no income. I have a car payment that hasn’t been paid in two months, and now they want to repossess it. I am doing all I can to get the money but am considering letting them take it. I have no help at all. What should I do? How long does it take a repossession to be removed from a credit report, and how long will it be held against me?

- ANS

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What a Vantage Score “D” means and how to make it better

Dear Experian,

I had a credit report and score run. My score is 687. The report said my risk grade is “D” (Non-Prime).What does the risk grade mean? Is “D” good or bad.

- OVE

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Which credit card to start paying first

Dear Experian,

Which credit card bill should I pay first? I had a credit card closed by the company because the bank is going bankrupt. On my credit report they list that the account was closed by the consumer, that I have $0 credit available with a balance of $2,568 and an APR of 35.5%. I also have an open credit card with a credit limit of $3,500 and only $80 available (it’s maxed out). The APR is 10.99%.

- TAS

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Judgment for eviction could appear on your credit report

Dear Experian,

I want to know if your landlord put you in court for unpaid rent and you got evicted but he did not do a credit check when you moved in would it be on your credit report?

- URR

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Impact of debt management plan on your credit report and scores

Dear Experian,

Is it true that my credit is going to be trashed once I join in a debt management program?

- NLI

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What happens to a spouse’s credit report when they die

Dear Experian,

When a spouse dies what happens to their credit information? Can it be purged or removed with a copy of the death certificate?

- MRB

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Credit freeze could slow job search success

Dear Experian,

Since October 2008 I have been unemployed and would like to know how applying a credit freeze on my reports affects my search for employment.

- SWE

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Medical collection accounts are treated like any other collection account

Dear Experian,

My credit report is clean except for past due medical bills. I would like to know if having medical bills past due is going to prevent me from having a good credit score and good credit. I have always been told not to worry about paying any medical issues on my credit report. Is that true?

- YGR

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Replacing a lost PIN when your credit file is frozen

Dear Experian,

When I moved, I misplaced the PIN for lifting my credit freeze. Can I get another PIN, and can I request it by email?

- VAG

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Credit scores could be affected when credit limit is decreased

Dear Experian,

My credit is spectacular! One card has decided to lower my credit limit. I have never been late for any cards and all have been paid off. Will this hurt my score?

- DRU

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Balances on business credit cards could impact your personal credit report

Dear Experian,

Do balances on my business credit cards affect my personal credit scores?

- SCO

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Late payment history will remain for a time after debt is paid

Dear Experian,

After I pay off the negative items on my credit are lenders able to see that I once had negative items?

- IDE

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Son’s SSN may have been used to commit credit fraud

Dear Experian,

I’m a little concerned that someone may have used my son’s Social Security number to obtain credit. How can I find out for sure?

- EAC

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Ensuring account is reported “closed”

Dear Experian,

I have a credit card that is no longer open – per a phone conversation – but it states that it has an “open” status on my credit report. How can I get that “closed” on my credit report?

- CEP

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After short sale, don’t hurry into a HELOC

Dear Experian,

My husband and I were gifted my Dad’s home. It is paid in full. We had to do a short sale on our previous home, and it messed up our credit pretty good. About how long until our credit will be where it needs to be to get a HELOC loan approved?

- MTA

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Closing account when credit card company changes terms

Dear Experian,

We received a “change in terms” notice from one of our credit card companies, increasing our interest from 7.90 percent to 17.90 percent, and from fixed to variable. Which decision will be best for our credit ratings, closing the account or paying it off and keeping it open at the higher rate, but not using it?

- KML

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Removing a fraud alert from your credit report

Dear Experian,

How do I get a fraud alert removed from my credit report?

- DIB

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Mortgage cosigner’s credit report not affected by bankruptcy

Dear Experian,

If two single people co-sign on a home mortgage and one of them files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, will the credit report of the other co-signer for the home mortgage be affected, even when the mortgage payments are kept current?

- LMS

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April is National Financial Literacy Month

Dear Readers,

April is National Financial Literacy Month. The Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy introduced National Financial Literacy Month in 2000, and the U.S. Congress first recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month in 2003.

Experian is proud to have been a founding member of the Jump$tart Coalition and to be an ongoing partner. You can find free credit education materials from Experian in the Jump$tart Coalition Clearinghouse of financial literacy resources.

Recently, we announced that Experian is joining forces with the Jump$tart Coalition and the National Education Association to host a national financial literacy teachers conference in Washington, D.C. later this year.

The teacher’s conference is one of several educational initiatives that received funding through Experian’s global Corporate Responsibility initiative. This year, Experian is proud to be awarding a number of substantial grants to organizations that champion financial literacy and math and economic education, in addition to supporting services that help families in crisis rebuild their financial lives.

Other organizations that received grants are the LifeSmarts Consumer Knowledge Challenge, Junior Achievement Orange County, the MIND Research Institute, Mercy House, and Allen Community Outreach.

Experian recognizes the importance of financial literacy and is proud of its commitment to helping America’s consumer gain the knowledge they need to be financially successful.

Thanks for reading.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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Purchasing “seasoned tradelines” likely to land you deeper in debt

Dear Experian,

Can purchasing seasoned tradelines help repair my credit?

- SMI

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Accounts in bankruptcy deleted before the bankruptcy public record

Dear Experian,

When they say bankruptcy information will be removed from your credit report after seven years, does that mean all of the information related to the bankruptcy will be removed?

- NMC

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Auto repossession remains for a time after being paid off

Dear Experian,

How long does an auto repossession stay on your credit, even if you paid it off right after the car was repossessed?

- ERV

Dear ERV,

An auto repossession will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date you missed your first car payment and were never again current. The date of that first missed payment is called the original delinquency date. The status was updated as it became more delinquent, was repossessed and, ultimately, was paid in full.

But, paying off an account, whether it’s a repossessed car or a collection account for a credit card, doesn’t cause it to be deleted immediately. Your credit report is a credit history. It shows the life of the account, both good and bad, over a period of time.

Having all of your payments current is important, but it is even more important that your credit report show a history of your debts being paid on time. The further in the past a late payment occurred, the less important it becomes.

Paying off the auto loan was a very good first step. Now you just need to continue paying your bills on time. Eventually the repossession will be deleted and you will once again have an unblemished record of on-time payments.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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Law does not require lenders to report payment history

Dear Experian,

I was told by a bank that the law requires merchants and lenders to report data related to my credit. Can you point me to where I can find this legal information?

- LUK

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