Score Advice

Maxine Sweet retiring after 36 years with Experian

Posted on Sep 24 2014 by

Dear Readers, After 36 years with Experian I am retiring to explore the world and spend more time with my family. While I am certainly happy and ready for this next phase in my life, I will definitely miss having the opportunity to answer your questions and share information about credit reports and credit scores. […]

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Maintaining your own credit history after getting married

Posted on Aug 27 2014 by

Dear Experian,

When I got married my husband put everything in his name (utilities, house, etc.). I still have two credit cards in my name. How can I maintain good credit scores going forward with limited items in my name?

- JYW

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Unreported auto loan could be shown as collection after voluntary repossession

Posted on Aug 07 2014 by

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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Debt consolidation might help, but also could hurt your credit

Posted on Jul 17 2014 by

Dear Experian,

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

- SRO

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

Posted on Jul 02 2014 by

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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Late payments during mortgage modification can be reported

Posted on May 29 2014 by

Dear Experian,

I have never been late with mortgage except the two months I was working on a mortgage modification with my mortgage company. I was told not to pay my mortgage payments until a determination was made, yet my account shows I was two months late. Why?

- SKV

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Closing store credit cards could affect your credit scores

Posted on May 19 2014 by

Dear Experian,

Can closing a few of my department store credit card accounts affect my credit scores if I have established good credit and have high credit scores? My husband wants to eliminate our higher interest rate cards.

- LTB

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Getting your credit scores before buying a car

Posted on May 06 2014 by

Dear Experian,

I’m buying a car and would like to know my credit score. How can I obtain this before shopping?

- NTS

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Authorized user’s credit scores could be hurt if mother doesn’t pay

Posted on May 05 2014 by

Dear Experian,

I am an authorized user on my mother’s account. Will it affect me if she misses payments? Will it hurt my credit?

- SHN

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Credit card balance can affect credit scores even if paid in full each month

Posted on May 02 2014 by

Dear Experian,

My credit score factors say “amount owed on revolving accounts is too high,” but I pay the balances off every month. I make more than $1 million per year and have no debt at all. Please explain why this is a factor in my score.

- TRZ

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Removing ex-spouse’s address from credit report after divorce

Posted on May 02 2014 by

Dear Experian,

My credit report shows two addresses for my former husband, who moved to Virginia. I have lived in Illinois for 36 years. I was able to dispute one address, but not the other. How do I get both removed? Also, my employer information is wrong. I was able to dispute it, but not provide the correct employer information. How do I do that?

- JWD

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

Posted on Mar 28 2014 by

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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Authorized user unaffected by mother’s missed payments

Posted on Mar 27 2014 by

Dear Experian,

I am an authorized user on my mother’s account. Will it affect me if she misses payments? Will it hurt my credit?

- SHN

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How to temporarily lift a security freeze

Posted on Mar 13 2014 by

Dear Experian,

I need to lift the security freeze for 24 hours to buy a car. How do I do that?

- PDT

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Collection accounts are not removed immediately after being paid in full

Posted on Mar 13 2014 by

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

Posted on Feb 26 2014 by

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

Posted on Feb 26 2014 by

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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Car returned under Service Member Relief Act is a voluntary repossession

Posted on Feb 12 2014 by

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

Posted on Feb 05 2014 by

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

Posted on Jan 15 2014 by

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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Missing payments will worsen impact of mortgage short sale

Posted on Jan 15 2014 by

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

Posted on Jan 01 2014 by

Dear Experian,

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

- IAB

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Paid student loans listed by semester won’t hurt credit

Posted on Jan 01 2014 by

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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Being removed as a cosigner from children’s student loans

Posted on Dec 04 2013 by

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

Posted on Dec 04 2013 by

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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