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Bankruptcy may prevent qualifying for a credit card

Dear Experian,

How can I get a credit card after a bankruptcy so I can rebuild my credit?

- MBD

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Unreported auto loan could be shown as collection after voluntary repossession

Dear Experian,

I bought a car about 2 years ago at a “buy-here-pay-here” lot. I have never missed a payment and have been a good customer. Since buying the car I have spent over $3,000 in repairs. I recently have been looking to get a new vehicle since the repairs are killing me financially. I was talking to a dealer about a trade in. Much to my surprise, he told me I should simply just give the car back to them. He said to check my credit report and see if they report the payments, and if I did not see it on there, which I didn’t, then giving my car back would not hurt my credit. Is it simply this easy? I am going to go upside down on the car $5,000 so it sounds so much more to my advantage, but I worry the risk of having a repo on my credit report. Any advice?

- TDB

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Charged off student loans still in credit report after being paid in full

Dear Experian,

I have three student loans from about 12 years ago that where charged off. I paid them off in full two years ago, yet they are still reporting on my credit report. They are being reported as paid in full; however, next to that it lists a loan amount and still shows a balance. The loan amount would be the original amount borrowed, but there must be a mistake since it shows a balance even though it states paid in full. Is this affecting my credit score? Should I get a letter stating paid in full from the lender and send it in to you?

- MKD

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Debt consolidation might help, but also could hurt your credit

Dear Experian,

Does debt consolidation for credit cards with high interest rates help your credit?

- SRO

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Obtaining a free report after being declined or adverse action is taken

Dear Experian,

I was approved for a credit card in October 2013. I have never exceeded the limit and have made all payments on time. I just received a notice that they are reducing my credit limit to the same amount as my current balance on the card. The reasons state, “Derogatory public record information, too few accounts currently paid as agreed, length of time of credit established, and lack of recent installment loan information.” One of the other credit reporting companies will not release a free credit report. This doesn’t seem right to me. What should I do?

- PSJ

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Asking your lender to reduce the credit limit on a credit card could hurt your credit scores

Dear Experian,

I have one credit card with a zero balance and a $10,000 limit. Will my credit score be hurt if I reduce my limit to $5,000?

- CGC

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No credit history despite having several open accounts

Dear Experian,

I recently tried to apply for a car loan. They told me I was denied because they could not find any of my credit history information. I have a few credit cards from department stores, so I’m not sure why this happened. What can I do to have my information updated?

- BMR

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Using your credit report to compile a complete list of your creditors and debts

Dear Experian,

How do I find out what I really owe and if any creditor will settle for less if I can pay off the balance? Can I get a list of all my creditors from you?

- CYD

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Difference between “balance-to-limit ratio” and “debt-to-income” ratio

Dear Experian,

What is the appropriate balance-to-limit or debt-to-income ratio? I do not maintain a balance on my credit cards but worry that I have credit limits that are too high and could impact my overall credit.

- TBL

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Collection accounts are not removed immediately after being paid in full

Dear Experian,

If you have a derogatory record on your credit report from a collection agency and you pay off the debt in full, will the debt be taken off of your report sooner? Or do you still have to wait the seven years?

- MSK

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You must submit request in writing to permanently opt out of receiving prescreened offers

Dear Experian,

I received a letter from Experian today regarding permanently removing my name from pre-approved credit offer mailing lists. The letter is requesting name, Social Security number, current address, and previous address. I would like to permanently remove my name, but I am not sure that this letter is legitimate. Can you please confirm?

- SBA

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Security freezes are not shared among the national credit reporting companies

Dear Experian,

Does placing a security freeze at one credit agency extend to all three credit agencies like a fraud alert?

- SCB

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Establishing credit before going to college

Dear Experian,

I am a 19 year old college student trying to establish credit early, and it would be helpful throughout college to have a low limit credit card just in case. Also, I am trying to get a car loan, and I know I need to use credit to gain credit. I applied for a credit card through my bank and was declined. I also applied for a student credit card and was declined again. How am I supposed to establish a credit history if I can’t get approved for anything? My parents are just starting to rebuild their credit themselves. Is there any way that I can establish credit without having to have somebody cosign for me?

- FCS

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Requesting a security freeze for a minor child’s credit report

Dear Experian,

I’m concerned that someone may use my minor child’s identification information fraudulently and I want to take precautions. How can I request a security freeze on a minor’s credit file?

- SRD

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The meaning of “key derogatory” as a credit score factor

Dear Experian,

What does “Key Derogatory” mean?

- RTC

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How to request a credit report if you are incarcerated

Dear Experian,

How does an inmate go about getting a credit report? Where can he get the proper forms to fill out without access to the internet?

- NTP

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Beware of calls offering marketing opt out

Dear Readers, Consumers have reported receiving automated calls asking for their Social Security numbers and other personal information in order to opt out of marketing mailing lists. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers […]

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