Credit 
30
comments

How to Remove Unauthorized Hard Inquiries

Reader Christine recently left a comment on the What is a good credit score? post in which she asked how she could get unauthorized hard inquiries removed. For her particular case, it’s likely that she agreed to the hard inquiries when she “clicked on a link on some website that I do not even remember now and got phone calls from about 5 lenders. I had very enlightening conversations but decided not to apply.”

Whether you apply for a loan or not, when you request quotes you will have agreed to the lenders pulling your credit report. They can’t give you a rate quote without knowing your credit score and credit history. Reputable companies won’t pull your credit without your permission because it’s illegal (it violates this: Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer).

But there are cases where someone could make an unauthorized hard inquiry and the solution is to send a “remove inquiry letter” to the credit reporting agencies.

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 Credit 
9
comments

Review Your Credit Report Annually

Credit Card on a KeyboardThe Fair Credit Reporting Act gives us the right to see our credit reports every twelve months. I’ve written in the past that I like to stagger my requests so that I get one report every four months, giving me the most up to date information as frequently as possible (without paying for a service).

Reviewing your credit report on a regular basis, whether it’s staggered or all three at once, is important because you want to catch identity fraud and credit report errors (errors are common) as early as possible. The worst case scenario is when you discover a problem because a lender, who pulled your credit to make a loan decision, has questions about some odd entries. Cleaning up a mistake early can pay dividends down the road, especially since it’s free and only costs you time.

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 Credit 
21
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Credit Report Bumpage: Knocking Off Hard Inquiries

Credit Card BumpageBefore I started spending most of my time writing for Bargaineering.com, I spent many of my formative years at Fatwallet (as far back as 2001!). One of the big ideas in the Finance forums was the App-O-Rama, where you applied for a lot of credit cards in a short period of time (on the order of just a few days). The idea was that by applying for many cards over just a few days, you would be approved because the hard inquiries wouldn’t appear in time for the other issues to see them. By the time they showed up, you had a lot of unsecured credit card debt.

The consequence of the App-O-Rama strategy was that your credit score took a heavy beating as all the hard inquiries appeared. I wrote a guest post at Consumerist covering the difference between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry, if you want the full details. While I never conducted an App-O-Rama, I was intrigued by the strategy and followed all the forum posts by people reporting back on their experiences.

So how does credit report bumpage come into play?
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 Credit 
22
comments

History of Credit Bureaus: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion & Innovis

Did you know that TransUnion started as a parent holding company for a railcar leasing company? Or that Experian is not based in the United States? I started reading about the history of some of the credit bureaus and was fascinated with what I found. For example, did you know Experian was founded in 1980 while Equifax was founded in 1899?

Read on to find out more about the major credit reporting agencies.

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 Credit 
10
comments

Go Direct To Credit Bureaus for Credit Score

Whether it’s driving on the highway or surfing on the information superhighway, I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for credit reports and credit scores. With the economy weak, people are looking to play defense and advertising are looking to capitalize. Like I’ve said in the past, checking your credit report annually is one of the best financial things you can do for yourself.

I have one word of warning for you: Don’t ever go to a company that isn’t Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or Fair Isaac. Never ever.

Here’s why:

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 Credit 
153
comments

Credit Karma Review

Credit KarmaI can’t believe I’ve been using Credit Karma all these months and never wrote up a quick review of the service! I’ve done walkthroughs of their Credit Score Report Card, but never about the entire service. Tsk tsk, what a bad blogger I am.

Credit Karma offers a lot of nice juicy information but the only thing I’m really pumped about is the fact that you get your TransUnion credit score absolutely free. When you sign up, you have to provide a lot of sensitive personal information because it’s needed to pull your credit score from TransUnion. Since the service is free, the only barrier to using it is your comfort level with providing this information to a third party.

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 Angel's Advocate 
12
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Don’t Check Your Score Every Day

Angels Advocate Logo
This is a Angel's Advocate post.

The conventional wisdom is that you should check your credit reports at least once a year and your score only when you need it. This morning, I argued in a Devil’s Advocate post that services make it easy (and free, in some cases) to check your score all the time so you might as well do it.

This is part two of a two part Devil’s Advocate, Angel’s Advocate article in which I argue both sides of an issue. This is the Angel’s Advocate post, here is the Devil’s Advocate post where I argue you should be monitoring your credit score all the time!

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 Devil's Advocate 
6
comments

Monitor Your Credit Score All The Time

Devils Advocate Logo
This is a Devil's Advocate post.

The conventional wisdom is that you should check your credit reports at least once a year and your score only when you need it. However, with services like MyFICO and Credit Karma, checking your credit score “all the time” has become just as cheap as checking it infrequently once a year.

Credit Karma is 100% free and they give you a TransUnion credit score using TransUnion data. It’s not technically a FICO score but it’s free and good enough for the reasons I give for monitoring your score all the time. You will have to provide sensitive personal information, since they will be accessing your actual TransUnion credit report, but you’ll never need to pull out your credit card.

MyFICO is run by Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of the FICO score, and it costs money, about $9 a month. You get an Equifax FICO score every week, among other services. I don’t think it’s important to get an official FICO score all the time if you can get a credit score from one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

This is part one of a two part Devil’s Advocate, Angel’s Advocate article in which I argue both sides of an issue. This is the Devil’s Advocate post, here is the Angel’s Advocate post arguing why monitoring your credit score all the time is a bad idea.

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