Credit FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How do credit reporting agencies get my information?

The credit report companies receive their information from national credit repositories including Experian (formerly TRW), Trans Union, Equifax, and public records search firms.

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What if I disagree with the information on my credit report?

The information reported to the repositories is only as current and accurate as the information reported by the Creditors. Information should be disputed by contacting the creditors directly and it should be completed in writing. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of most creditors are listed on the last pages of your pre-qualifying credit report and are listed as Direct Check Addresses. Once you have settled the disputed accounts the information is then provided to the repositories that will then make the appropriate changes.

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What if I cannot contact the creditor?

You may dispute the account directly with the repository. Creditors have 30 days to document your credit history or the credit repositories must remove it. The credit repositories may be reached as follows;

Why are my balances not up to date?

The balance reflected on your credit report is the balance reported by the creditor to the repositories. Creditors typically report once a month, so the balance shown may not be the balance, as you know it today.

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I am a co-signer on a loan. Why did that loan appear on my credit report?

As a co-signer you have accepted the responsibility of payment in the event of default by the primary borrower. Typically, if you provide proof (12 months canceled checks) that the primary borrower makes the payment and it is current, the payment will not be held against you for qualifying purposes.

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My divorce decree states that I am no longer liable for certain accounts. Why are those accounts still showing on my credit report?

A divorce decree does not override the original contract with the creditor. Even if the divorce decree states that your spouse is responsible for the payments, if the loan was originally a joint account, you are not released from legal responsibility on the account from the creditors. You should contact each creditor and seek their legal binding release of your obligation. Typically, these debts will not be used against you for qualifying purposes if a copy of the divorce decree is provided and the accounts are current. For loan approval proof (12 months canceled checks) that the primary borrower makes the payment may be required.

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Why is a "Paid" judgment appearing on my credit report as "Not Satisfied"?

For a judgment to show as "Satisfied" a "Notice of Satisfaction" needs to be filed by the plaintiff with the court. If you have such proof it may be forwarded to the repositories to update their records.

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How long does negative information stay on my credit report?

Most information, by law, must be removed from the credit history seven years after date of original occurrence. Chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcies may be reported for ten years.

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I already had a certain account corrected. How come it is still on my credit report?

You may have provided documentation to a lender. This may have been done to prove that account information on a credit report used for a lending decision was incorrect and you were approved for credit. This does not mean it was cleared with the credit bureaus. Additionally, If you disputed or had credit cleared directly with a creditor it may have not been cleared with all credit bureaus.

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What is a credit bureau score, and how is it calculated?

Credit bureau scoring is a scientific way of assessing how likely a borrower with your reported credit history is likely to default on a new loan based on credit history. The scores typically range from 450 to 850 points and is a complex mathematical formula based on millions of consumers credit histories and their track records of defaulting on credit. Higher credit scores indicate a better credit risk.

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What types of specific information are used for this score?

The score is based on all credit related data available, not just negative data. Negative credit information includes how bad late payments were (severity), how recent late payments are (recency), and how many there are (frequency). It will also include collection accounts, judgments, and foreclosures. Other types of data used include how much debt do you have outstanding. This includes available credit, total percentage of credit left available, how long has credit history been established, and types of credit used (i.e.. revolving accounts or finance companies may be worse than credit union or bank loans.) Another type of data used is the number of loan inquiries.

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How important is my credit score?

The importance of the credit score depends on the lender and the loan program chosen. Some lenders or loan programs do not use the credit score at all. Some lenders and loan programs require that minimum credit score must be met and many loan programs offer different terms based upon different scores. Your loan officer can explain the importance of the score for your particular loan program.

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What can I do to increase my credit score?

The credit score is determined by the credit repositories (not the lender or credit reporting company) and is not a point system that changes with every change of information on your credit report. A score may be increased by the following methods:

How long does it take to change my credit score?

The process can take 30 to 60 days to repair incorrect or changed credit histories. The score is based on the database information held at the bureau. This can be changed by contacting them directly or from new information reported from your creditors which is typically done once a month.

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