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Credit Score Clean Sweep—Get Organized

Written by Ilyce Glink on November 5, 2012 in Credit  |   85 comments

I am a pretty tidy person. I like things to be neat, organized, and easily accessible. But running my own business, working, and being a mom to two teenage boys means sometimes the days get away from me and cleaning chores pile up. The same…

credit score clean sweepI am a pretty tidy person. I like things to be neat, organized, and easily accessible. But running my own business, working, and being a mom to two teenage boys means sometimes the days get away from me and cleaning chores pile up.

The same thing tends to happen with finances. Unless you’re constantly checking in on updates to your credit score or changes in credit card interest rates, you and your finances will benefit from a financial clean sweep.

Start with the paperwork

If you want organized finances, you need organized financial paperwork. It’s that simple. If you already have a system going, take some time to sit down and work through any new additions. If you don’t, now is the time to establish one.

Lay all your financial paperwork out and organize it into categories, such as insurance policies, individual credit card statements, medical bills, mortgage payments, and tax returns. Place each category into a folder or, if you really loathe paper, scan them into your computer and store them there (and get a backup drive, of course). If all your credit card statements are sent to you electronically, keep them on a folder in your computer. Whatever you don’t need, shred.

Once you have your paperwork organized, make sure everything is up to date. If you owe any debt, write it down on a master list. You’ll come back to this.

Check your credit

If you haven’t checked your credit report and credit score in at least the last year, now is the time. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull your free report from all three bureaus. (After this first time, I like to check one credit report every four months.)

Carefully go through each report and check for any issues or discrepancies in your accounts. Make sure all of your personal information is accurate and current. Compare your financial records with what is on your credit report. You are basically looking for anything that could potentially hurt your score, from errors to unpaid bills. In addition, do the following:

  • Make sure all your accounts are in good standing, meaning you have paid at least the minimum on every account.
  • Make sure there are no inaccuracies. Errors could be as big as potential identity theft or as minimal as a credit company not accurately reporting your payments.
  • Make sure negative accounts have fallen off your report after the appropriate period of time. Here’s a comprehensive list of when this should happen.

Clean up inaccuracies and outdated information

The process of correcting your credit report can seem intimidating, but it’s relatively simple. Start by filing a dispute online or by mail. The dispute will kick off an investigation that must take place within 30 days of your dispute. The credit reporting agency will then notify you of the outcome.

If you need to talk with a credit reporting agency or a lender during this time, remember to take notes, get the names of the people with whom you have talked, and write down the dates of the conversations. If you are told that a corrective action will be taken, follow up to make sure the change took place.

Because credit reporting agencies are in touch with each other electronically, if one corrects an error the other two should catch up. But if you need more immediate action taken, you can contact each agency individually.

Pay your bills

The last thing you need to do to truly clean sweep your credit is to knock out some debt. If you have any collections or credit card debt, develop a budget to pay them off as soon as you can. You may have to cut some luxuries for a few months, but it will be worth it. Cleaning up these debts opens up your available credit and allows you to use your credit responsibly.

Make sure you are able to pay longer-term expenses, such as a mortgage, student loan, or auto loan, on time each month. This might also be a good opportunity to look into your interest rates and see if there’s a possibility of refinancing as rates continue to stay near record lows. Also look into the possibility of paying debts off early—but check first to make sure there is not a pre-payment penalty.

After you finish, set up a day each month to check in with your finances—and relish the feeling that your finances are uncluttered and up to date.

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. John says:

    I have a question while I was deployed my EX wife was planning a divorce I did not know about till I returned so I had three loans for her schooling in the divorce the judge made her pay those off she has not paid on them and they are hurting my credit score How can I disput them and remove them from my credit report?

  2. Anonymous says:

    All I have is a Mortage payment. Every bill is paid in advance or on time. All charges are paid in full upon receipt of bill. How can I get a HIGH credit score greater than what I have now as an “average” SCORE.

    • Ms. June says:

      GOOD question!!
      I’ve done the same and my score stays average.
      I’ve went so far to hire a Credit Firm and they even said I was excellant but it never shows on my score 🙁

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      This is a great question and it comes up often. Having a MIX of different kinds of credit (mortgage, credit cards, trade lines) can reflect more positively on your credit report. Here’s a detailed blog about it: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/improve-your-credit-score-and-creditworthiness/ Thank you for sharing your question and come back to the blog soon.

    • Ms. Morgan says:

      I am currently in the process of purchasing my first home. I Paid off all credit cards and my score dropped by 15 points. I asked the mortgage consultant was it good or bad to pay off the cards. He said its best to keep a low balance, by paying them down slowly this way, the score is favorably reflected.

    • LIsa says:

      I’ve read many times that in situations like yours you need more payment history besides just the one you mentioned. Get one low interest rate credit card and use it for paying only your water bill for example. Make sure you always pay it off every month to avoid interest and don’t fall victim to impulse spending with it. Soon you will see improvement. Never voluntarily close it and use it to build a payment history.

  3. Marie says:

    How can I raise my credit score without going in debt?

  4. Katie says:

    If I pay off my credit cards early and then close them, will it impact my credit negatively?

  5. Krystle says:

    If you have a considerable amount of debt can you settle with the credit department for a lower amount of what you owe so that you can quickly rebuild your credit back up?

  6. Carrie says:

    My credit score shows one thing and when it was check by Global it was over 100 points lower……This looked very bad, When I have been working very hard to increase my score. How can I change what this private company is showing? I still have a lot in dispute Accounts that I did not open. HELP I need Global to see my real credit score !!!

  7. John L. says:

    To the moderator: Equifax routinely enters defaults, bankruptcies, divorces, separations, deaths, judgments, tax liens & criminal convictions into credit files of individuals.

    Mortgage discharges are NOT automatically entered (for some reason).

    How does an individual w/ a legitimate discharged mortgage have their discharged mortgage entered into their credit file ?

    Thank you

  8. Wane A. says:

    Why is my credit score different depend on which party I use to check it? With free credit report it’s at 629, with free credit score it’s at 593 and with equifax it’s something totally different. This is confusing. I have no idea which score is accurate and it’s important for me to keep track of where my credit score is at seeing as I want to try and get a new car in the next month or so. I guess a better question would be which number will the dealership be looking at when they run mi credit?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Wane, Great question. Your credit score is calculated based on the information sent to the credit reporting agency by the lender, as well as what model is used to calculate the score. Click here to learn more about the different score models that can be used to explain the differences.

    • JT says:

      Wayne, I have found all of those Credit Karmas, Free Credit Score, and all those alike to be on half true. The credit scores they show are probably close but not accurate. Unless Equifax, TrueCredit, or Experian scores, I would not trust them that much.

  9. gegebug says:

    We went from 0 debt to 32k in 7 months. Would this have lowered our credit scores? Thank you

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Thanks for posting. Your credit report will reflect things like your payment history and available balance. It’s hard to know how taking on so much debt in less than a year could have affected your score without knowing your specific details, but I recommend that you click here to review information on how your credit score is calculated and remember to check your credit score.

  10. Demetria says:

    I really would like help in rebuilding a good credit score. Is there any affordable plans that I can enroll in to help me consolidate my bills and pay them off? If so, how long would it take for me to start noticing changes in my score?

    • Anonymous says:

      Look into Take Charge America. I paid of all of my debt (except student loans) in 3 years. They do great things for their customers and the credit counseling agents are always available. Hope this helps!

  11. randy says:

    Transunion shows a paid in full-charge off but equifax only shows the entry as charge off. Why is this? How does this get reconciled?

  12. Luz says:

    My credit score is 519 I want to increase it and start to pay off my debt. I currently got a personal loan to pay off all the medical bills that I have on my credit report 19 to be exact. I paid off my student loan in 10/2012. I am trying to repair my credit. Hopefully with this personal loan I can show that I am serious about better my credit by paying it on time.
    Please advise.

  13. John L. says:

    To the Moderator:

    Are unreported discharged mortgages a taboo subject, not discussed in the Equifax finance blog ?

    Equifax routinely enters defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcies, divorces, deaths, tax liens, judgments, criminal convictions in credit files, but excluded discharged mortgages. (Discharged mortgages are found in the public records, but are excluded & treated differently (for some reason).

    This very selective culling from the public records strikes one as a strange from of discrimination.

    Perhaps an explanation can be offered ?

    Thank you,

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to rebuild my credit and as soon as possible. My EQUIFAX score is currently 581. I have three trade lines opened in which everything has been paid on time. How often does the scores update? I have also paid off everything on my credit report except for 2 car reposessions. Will that help or hurt my credit? Please advise.. Thanks.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Great question! Information on a credit report is often updated every month the account is being used. It sounds like you want to improve your credit report. I recommend clicking here to learn more about how to improve your score and your creditworthiness. I hope it helps.

  15. HAOARG says:

    Hello my score is fair to poor i have not worked in the Past 5yrs and i have had full medicaid and i have 11 charge offs from Medical but it shows no contact info on the report i have. does that mean they will be removed? and if so will that make my score go up?

  16. Pam H. says:

    This may not be answered but I cannot get anyone to help me. I co-signed a car loan for a relative out of state. I asked to be notified if there was ever a late payment as I could make the monthly payment but would not be able to make a large payoff. The small town bank agreed. However when I went into my credit union to apply for a car loan three years later I learned thru denial that the loan had not been paid in two years. I contacted the bank only to learn the vehicle had been repossed/sold, and charged off. I asked why I was not notified, I was told that certified letters were sent to an address that was not mine and returned to bank. I requested copys of these letters as I had given my correct address on the application that was completed and faxed to the bank. The same address which appears on my credit report which they were monitoring regularly. The bank would not send me copies of the returned envelopes and letters. Even after this I felt the right thing to do was to pay off the account listed as CO on my report since I did co-sign on loan. After talking to the original loan officer who is now the VP of the bank I paid the charge off in the amount the loan officer told me to pay. I was told that when the payment was received it would be reported to the CRA as paid along with a request to remove the negative account from my report. I even repeated and clarified that what I understood was what was said to me. The loan officer told me to wait a couple of months and check my report so I did. This is the way the report reads now: paid, closed, $$$$ written off. The monthly accounting did show CO it now shows R.
    How can this be rectified? Is it better to just wait the six months that will be 7 years from the initial date if past due payment or try to dispute it with CRA’s and bank? The first past due was June 2006, can it be removed now or not until June 2013? Thank you in advance for your attention to my inquiry.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Thanks for your question, Pam. It sounds like you already learned the downsides of cosigning a loan, even for family, so let’s focus on what you can do from here. Did you get a promise in writing that the bank would remove the negative information once the account was paid? If yes, I recommend copying it for the bank to review. If not, you could file a dispute for credit report mistakes with the credit reporting agency based on the information you were told by the bank. Since your credit report now has negative information on it, I recommend reviewing how to improve credit score tips. I hope this helps and good luck.

  17. Pat S. says:

    I have been struggling to keep my credit score good. currently my score is 572. I unfortunately have had 2 failed marriages, 1 ex-filed bankruptcy without my knowledge. I paid off one of those accounts which threw one of my accts in the tank. I noticed that there is a judgement on my report. I have not been notified, served or contacted. I am wanting to purchase a home within the year, (if possible), how do i go about clearing the judgement. Thanks for any help you can give…

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Hi Pat, and good question. Could it be that your ex received the judgement paperwork? Either way, you should reach out to the lender or court for paperwork on the judgement. You might be able to work with them directly on a payment plan if the judgment is valid. If you think it is incorrect, you can file a dispute on your credit report. Good luck, and I hope you reach your goal of home ownership this year.

  18. John L. says:

    Readers are likely wondering why the silence from the moderator on the topic (repeatedly) raised about discharged mortgages & their non- recognition by Equifax, Transunion, Experian et. al.

    Readers should know, credit reporting agencies (Equifax ,Transunion, Experian…) routinely monitor public records for defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcies, deaths, divorces, tax liens, criminal convictions & judgments are ALL entered into the credit files of individuals.

    Omitted & excluded from these routine searches of public records is the entering, in credit files of individuals). (ie. discharged mortgages are NOT entered in individual’s credit files for some UNexplained reason)
    After repeated (gentle) requests no explanation is forthcoming.

    One senses a sensitive subject has been touched upon…

    • EFX Moderator, JF says:

      @John L. Thank you so much for visiting the blog and commenting. Here on the blog we’re not directly involved with the credit reporting process, but I’ve forwarded your question to the Equifax team and I hope to have an answer for you soon.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have one account on my report for collections. Does the agency have the ability to remove it completely from my report after paying it off. If so, how long will it take to reflect on my report as I will be attempting to get an auto loan in the near future.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Hello and great question! Lenders are responsible for reporting information to credit reporting agencies, which means they are able to decide what is reported and what is not. For example, if you’re a great long-time customer and make one late payment, you might be able work with them on a mutually agreeable solution. Thanks for asking and please let us know how it works out.

  20. Equifax Finance Blog says:

    @ John L. – Thank you for your interest in the Equifax Finance Blog. Each individual credit file is different and activity on the credit file will affect each consumer differently. You can find more about how information is factored into the credit score here: https://help.equifax.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/138/noIntercept/1/session/L3RpbWUvMTM1NzU4MTE2Mi9zaWQvOC1CcmNKZmw%3D

    Remember you can review your free annual credit report to see what’s in your individual credit file.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting on the blog.

  21. m.a. says:


    My question is in regard to automobile salespersons initiating contact to lending institutions. I now have a what seems a total of nine or more inquiries from one dealer alone following their taking my personal information after test driving one of their automobiles.

    Over two years ago was my bankruptcy discharge. To date I owe a total of $25.00 to creditors (a doctor’s bill). I take my financial obligations seriously. And, my credit rating.

    Obviously multiple inquiries into one’s credit history such as the ones described above associated with this business’s decision do not bode favorably for us. It was my understanding that they would “look into a couple of options” for me which, I interpreted as being two or three at most rather than nine! I was alerted by my identity theft protection and called this dealership requesting that they stop this activity at once….

    Furthermore, it is not a good practice personal or in business to make financial transactions involving high interest loans. In the case of a automobile purchase, these rates alone would represent monies that could alternatively be used later as a significant down payment or, for that matter the entire purchase of a car!!!

    I gave my personal bank permission to inquire into my credit file but did not agree to or want anyone looking into this information six, nine, twelve or more times as this practice is damaging to one’s impression of being credit worthy.

    What are my options and what should I do. This dealership and those creditors who were directed to look into my file absent my desire are in the process of being officially notified in writing to quit their inquiries on my behalf.

    Please advise what options there might be in situations as these to clear one’s credit file and protect oneself.


    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this happened. You’re right that multiple credit inquiries in a short amount of time can negatively impact your credit report. It’s really unfortunate that the car dealer executed so many searches. I’m guessing they did it to find you the best rate, but your credit score could have been impacted by this. I’d recommend next time when looking for financing either work directly with the lender of your choice or ask the dealer how many inquiries they’ll be sending.

      Fortunately, credit inquiries make up a small portion of your credit score, and it sounds like you make on-time payments otherwise, so hopefully this is just a temporary setback. Click here to learn more about how long credit inquiries will stay on your credit report.

      You could inquire at your local Better Business Bureau about the car dealer’s practices. I hope that helps.

      Thanks for posting.

  22. Paul says:

    I have about 4 or 5 accounts that were sold or sent to debt collection companies, but i keep reading different articles with different advice on whether or not i should bother paying them before they come off of my credit report. I only have about 10k worth of money owed and about 6k of it is in collections. Ive already started doing a better job of paying my bills on time etc. But what do i do about these collection accounts? thanks for your help.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Paul, I’m glad to hear that you’re paying back your debts. It’ll feel really great once you’re living debt-free and all of your hard work has paid off. You’re reading a lot of different strategies on how to handle debt in collections because there are a lot of ways to handle it. Certain ones work for certain people. What I recommend doing is finding a repayment plan that works best for you. We have a blog about how paying down your debt helps your credit score and you can read it here: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/debt-reduction-why-paying-down-your-credit-card-debt-helps-your-credit-score/

      I hope that helps you make an informed choice.

  23. Hiedi says:

    I have an old debt that is about 10-12 yrs old…that is repeatedly renewed every year by more than one agency, sabatoging my credit score repeatedly for years now. I have filed online disputes and nothing happened. MULTIPLE agencies have reported this extremely old debt that I refuse to pay because I paid it 10 yrs ago! This keeps my score below 600 every year. I am so over this problem, how can I get it OFF of my credit report for good? How can I get these people to STOP reporting it as a NEW debt EVERY SINGLE year??

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Heidi, I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I know it was ten years ago, but do you still have a record that you repaid the debt? That will help in showing the collections companies and the credit reporting agencies that it’s an error. If not, have you spoken with the collections agencies? It could be that you thought it was paid in full but missed a payment. It’s hard to know for sure how this happened but it’s important to figure out so it stops impacting your score. I hope this helps.

      • rene says:

        I also have some old debt that is over 8 years old. The charged off balances were sold, resold, and resold again. I have no idea who the original creditor was! Can collection companies keep posting old accounts that the original creditor no loger pursues (perhaps because they are so old)? I have been trying very hard to repair my history but these collection agencies popping out of the woodwork and knocking points off each month. What can I do? (still recovering from medical issues and am just scraping by)

  24. GoldenEagle78 says:

    I went and tried to buy a new car today but the sales rep told me that when they tried to view my Equifax credit score it showed “0”, but my TransUnion score and report was correct? So when I got home, I got my free credit reports from the 3 main agencies and there is still errors on the report left from a filed dispute from back in 2007-2008.

    Here is an example error:
    My name and current address is wrong in the summary screen, but when I go to the online dispute form it’s correct. My report shows I have NO work history, but how is that possible if I have recieved lots of credit already? Why can’t the 3 agencies collaborate so that scores from all 3 reflect the same value? Equifaxes score is over 100 pts lower than TransUnions? Craziness….

    I’m sorry but I am just really frustrated with Equifax, and they seem to be the agency that banks REALLY look at when trying to get an auto or home loan. I wish I had someone of Equifaxes end that would take the time to walk through my report with me so they can see what I am seeing, instead of me having written correspondence as the only option.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      I’m so sorry that you’re having trouble. Unfortunately, we’re not able to handle customer service for credit reports on the blog. You can contact customer service at Equifax.com or click here for contact options. I hope this helps.

  25. anonymous says:

    How long does a bankrupcty stays in the credit report? Mine was filed in 11/2006 and my score is very poor right now. As this disappears how much likely my score will improve? I only have student loans on my report right now which I am starting to pay off.

  26. Bernie says:

    I’m receiving debt collection notices that are not mine, and one (1) that was my account, that I was told was sold (not sure if this is true, told that from a friend that that’s probably what happened), but the one that is mine is over 7 years old, is a small amount, and the company’s out of business. I’ve contacted these agencies informing them that the accounts aren’t mine, both over the phone and in writing, but nothing has changed and I’m sure they’re affecting my credit score. What can I do to have these companies remove these items from my credit report, stop contacting me, and to have the listing that is over 7 years old removed from my credit report?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Bernie, I’m sorry to hear you’re getting asked to pay a bill that isn’t yours. What I’d do first is pull a copy of your credit report. You want to know what’s being reported. If information is inaccurate, you can file a dispute. Be sure to include as much proof as you can to make the claim process easy. I know that might be hard to do since the account is over 7 years old and the company is now out of business, but do your best. If that doesn’t clear it up, you’ll want to talk to the collection agency directly and get verification of the debt. It could be that you missed a payment and didn’t notice, or it could be an error on their part, but you want to know either way. If it’s an error on their side, make sure they fix it and remove the negative item from your credit report. To protect yourself, get it in writing that they’ll fix the error.

      I hope that helps and thanks for posting.

  27. lisa L says says:

    i had an old account that was discharged from my credit after 7 years now a collection company contacting me again. What can i do

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Lisa, you could send the collections company a copy of the discharge notice. I hope this helps. Thanks for posting.

  28. Monica says:

    I just checked my credit score on Experian but it’s about 20+ points lower when I just ordered my 3 credit report/scores on Equifax …why is that?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Monica, great question. I’m glad to hear you’re reviewing your credit report and score. Credit scores are calculated using data from your credit report. The information in your credit file may differ across the three credit reporting agencies. Because your score is calculated using the information in your credit file, and your credit file may differ by agency, there may be differences in your scores. That’s why it’s important to periodically review your credit reports and scores from all three CRAs to ensure the accuracy of the credit file data. We have more information on how your credit score is calculated here: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/why-is-the-credit-score-my-lender-calculated-different-from-my-equifax-score/

  29. Anonymous says:

    Send them your discharge notice.

  30. anndrea says:

    I am trying to pay a lot of my debt down, because I want to buy my first home. What should your credit score be and what determines the amount of the home loan your approved for?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Anndrea, great question. Paying down your debt could improve your credit score. Part of your credit history is based off of the amount of debt you have in relation to the amount of available credit you have. Keeping your balances low and your credit limits high could improve your score. There isn’t a tried-and-true credit score that will get you approved for your mortgage because the lender considers other factors as well, like current income, work history, and amount requested. You could talk with a lender about your options in your particular situation before you proceed. I hope this helps.

  31. DRE' says:

    I’ve been keeping up with my credit scores through my FICO.. And recently I applied for a chase credit card for scores between 650 and 720.. I got a denial letter from them saying that my Equifax score was 645, and that there were recent collections on my report. There were two collections, one from sprint for $375.00, and a medical bill for 35bux! But my Equifax FICO score was 667 (now 677 by way of PFD) and Transunion 750.. Here I’m showing Equifax 736.. Transunion 748, and Experian 707.. I know there are different ways that lenders and credit card companies get their scores.. But dang! A 22 point difference, and a 91 point difference with my Equifax scores?? We need some real transparency here. Now I have a hard pull and a denial. I’ve been working diligently to get my credit in tip-top shape.. But there is no way to the secret formula. I’m totally frustrated!

  32. Kelly says:

    I have one collection on my report for a medical bill that was eventually paid by my insurance company, and even on my credit report it shows as being paid. I have disputed it several times hoping the collection agency would just take it off since I was not responsible for the bill, and it really is not my fault that the insurance company took so long to pay the bill I think six months. Also the collection agency seems to be reaging the collection everytime I dispute it, again it shows paid and when we received the medical services it was back in 2005 so by my count that is eight years do I have any way to get this removed or do I just need to be patient?

    • DRE' says:

      For future reference, what you could have done is a PFD letter (Pay For Delete) and let your insurance company reimburse you. I don’t know how much the bill was, or if it was possible to pay out of pocket.. But this does work. I know from experience. I know that this doesn’t help your current situation, but understand.. Now that they have collected the money, It doesn’t matter to them if it stays on your credit report or not.. And you don’t really have any leverage other than seeing if the insurance company will call the collection agency and explain to them why the payment was so late. I’m not sure, but the disputes are probably whats keeping that negative info current. Otherwise, that collection should have fallen off by now.

  33. sks says:

    I checked my credit report and it has a charge off on a company who just sent me a letter saying: We haven’t forgot you owe us, and we would like to know if and when you are going to pay. My understanding was that once it was charged off and it was on your report as such these companies shouldn’t be sending letters like that.. I have every intention of trying to get my credit back on track but saving my house came first priority…

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      It sounds like a debt was charged off of your account and sold to a collections company. The collections company can collect the debt. Here are some tips on how to pay off your debt. I hope this helps and thanks for posting.

  34. Cesar Varela says:

    How can I get my ex girlfriend off my credit score, because her not paying her loans on time, school loans that I cosigned for, are the only 2 things negatively impacting my credit score. Because I want to get a house using the Veterans Affairs loan but I was not aware of how bad my score was affected until I finally saw it. I cosigned for her loans a while back while I was in the Navy, we broke up, she is now married but somehow does not have enough money to pay. Is there any way to dispute that?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Cesar, Cosigning a loan is a big deal and you should be careful to cosign any loans for this reason. Since you cosigned on her loans, your good credit score was used to help her obtain a loan. It will remain on your credit report since you both opened the account. You might want to consider talking with her to see how you can both get the account back in good standing. Here are tips on how to protect yourself and your credit when you do cosign any loans: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/protect-yourself-and-your-credit-when-choosing-a-co-signer/ I hope this helps.

      • Cesar Varela says:

        Thanks for the response but the damage was already done, this loan was taken out years ago when I thought we were going to end up married; but she now has been consistently late for a period and didn’t bother to tell me. So now I just need help bringing up my score.


  35. jillione says:

    i am trying to clean my debt so i can buy a house and car. i always start and then stop. i really need to handle this problem before it gets to late. please help me clean my credit up

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Jillione, I am so glad to hear of your goals! Paying off your debt can feel overwhelming, but it’ll feel great to live debt-free. Click here for tips on how to pay off your debt without feeling overwhelmed. Keep at it though and don’t give up. Let us know how your progress goes and thanks for posting.

  36. amandab says:

    Are my student loans the ones keeping my credit score from being better? They are high but I am still in school and will eventually pay them off. It seems as if they are really negatively impacting my score.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also to add, my student loan accounts are all in good standing

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Amanda, Your student loans could be affecting your debt to available credit limit ratio. This is one of the factors that is considered when calculating your score. Click here to read more about what is considered when calculating your credit score.

      I hope this helps. Thanks for posting.

  37. Matsuhunter says:

    The Bottum Line is the Credit systems in this country are flawed to a level that completely irritates me. Theres too many systems and none of them match each other. Your Equifiax is always the lowest score, Experian no one will accept unless its mortgage, and Transunion will never even be considered for auto,Recreation etc. Theres literally an Equifax auto, Equifax mortgage, equifax credit all different scoring for different institutions. Ten years ago i had a BK that they took 100 points off. It finally fell off my credit last October and NO points gain! Paid off two accounts NO points gain. Called to dispute the fact and of course the person on the other line doesnt care, won’t help and tells you its all AUTOMATED! a computer is in control of your credit. This company again does nothing but disgust me and is one of the reasons americans can’t get bought on purchases. Done paying you money every month for nothing

  38. Joe-JOe says:

    i was put on an as an authorized user on my parents acount 2 years ago to establish credit . I have 698 equifax 710 TransU and 701Exp it payment history excellent. the limit on the authorized card is 11,500. . the other 2 credit cards i have as my own only have 500.00 capital 1 and 1600.00 discover the balance on my 2 cards are always usually 0 because i always pay them off but my parents remain at a 6500 balance. puting me as using 51 percent of aavailable credit. i think this is hurting my credit. but i remove myself as authorize user . i was told that also will hurt credit …what is best to do?

  39. Landon says:

    I am just starting to understand my credit and need it in good shape. I have negative balances and collections. What do i do to pay them off?? Do i contact the places or is there a way to get them all together as one and pay monthly? Also, I was told medical bills don’t count against you? Is this true? Can i pick and choose which ones i want to pay? When I do start paying, how long does it take before my credit report reflects this?

  40. Ellen says:

    Hi, I have had excellent credit all my life. I recently had a credit card closed by the company because I was 90 days past due. The credit card company admitted that they had not sent emails as to payments due. I was not aware that I owed anything on this credit card. Consequently, my credit score is in the tank.I did pay the outstanding balance. What can I do to bring my credit score back up? I am very concerned as you can imagine. My credit score went from the 800’s to the 600’s.UGH!!

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Ellen, I am so sorry to hear this. Email statements can be convenient but can also get lost in Spam folders or get bounced back without knowing. Technology sadly isn’t foolproof. If you haven’t received a statement in awhile, it’s helpful to login and make sure all the contact information is correct. You can review these tips on improving your creditworthiness. I hope this helps.

  41. Anonymous says:

    An invoice for some work I had done was sent to the wrong address. It was a minor amount (~$90) so I never even missed it. Six months later it went to collections. I paid it off as soon as I found out about it but my credit score dropped by 100 pts. Is there any way to have this removed since it was the vendor’s fault that I never received the invoice?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. Paying bills isn’t fun but becomes a lot harder when they are sent to the wrong address. If you think think the item on your credit report is in error because of it, you can file a dispute. It could help to provide additional information, such as a letter from the lender confirming you did not get the initial bill. I hope this helps.

  42. Christine says:

    Once a bankruptcy has been discharged for 10 years and falls off a credit report, how much does a score increase?

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