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Five Steps You Can Take to Help Improve Your Credit Score and Creditworthiness

Written by Equifax Experts on September 27, 2013 in Credit  |   128 comments

If you’ve run into financial trouble, you know it can be frustrating when negative information appears on your credit report. Luckily, you have some control over your credit score. Equifax Experts explain steps you can take to help build it back up.

credit report, credit scoreIf you’ve ever run into financial trouble, you know how frustrating it can be when that information shows up on your credit report. Lenders use the information on your credit report to assess your risk as a borrower, and late or missed payments could make you seem like more of a risk. In addition, your credit score may be negatively impacted.

Luckily, you have some control over your credit score. Just like missing payments and not paying your debts can bring down your score, you can do things to build it back up. It takes some effort, but it is not impossible.

1. Understand your score.

The first step on the path to positively affecting your credit score is understanding what goes into it. A credit score is based on several different factors in your credit history, including your payment history, how much you owe, how much credit is available to you, the length of your credit history, and the types of credit you have.

However, two things influence your credit score the most: on time payment of your bills and your available balance.

2. Get your debt under control.

Start with getting a handle on your payments and total debt. If it’s tough to keep up with credit card bills, call the card issuer to explain your situation and try to negotiate a payment you can afford. Once you have that in hand, try to keep a balance of less than 30 percent of your available credit limit.

3. Remember: The length of your credit history matters.

You may want to avoid opening new credit accounts just to increase your available credit or applying for multiple credit cards over a short period of time. Either of these could have a negative effect on your credit score because of the impact of the length of your credit history.

4. Check your credit report.

Start making a habit of checking your credit score and looking through your credit report. You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. The site also lets you check your credit score for a small fee. Look for inaccurate information, and correct any mistakes. In addition to telling you more about what’s going with your credit score, checking your report can work as an early-warning system for identity theft.

5. Be patient.

It takes time to rebuild your credit history and positively impact your score. Don’t get discouraged if your report doesn’t immediately reflect the work you’ve put into rehabbing your credit file. Just be patient and continue working to gain more control over your finances.

In addition to keeping an eye on your credit balances and accounts, you may want to consider other methods of getting control of your personal finances, such as reducing household spending or creating a detailed budget.

You can also write a personal statement for your credit report. It won’t impact your score, but it can be read by anyone checking your credit report, from prospective employers to potential lenders.

With a little patience and discipline, you can positively impact your credit score and credit file. It will take time, but these steps can help you get control of your financial life.

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. April says:

    I paid off a collection account, and agency submitted for a delete, it was deleted, and my score didn’t increase by one single point. Makes you think and wonder why even bother…SMH very discouraging.

    • Lucy says:

      When accounts are removed the score would recalculate itself to represent that information no longer being on the credit report…. With that being said, it could have been that the account was A. Not even affecting you enough to move your score/at all or B. The amount of bad items on your credit was still weighing heavily enough to where it would not move.. Both are possibilities and if these are not something your credit would fall under then it could be that the source in which you are viewing your score could be inaccurate/outdated and possibly would need to be updated. It is really hard to come to a definite conclusion since so many things affect the credit and as I’ve come to learn from personal experience with speaking with customer service at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion not even representatives can come to a 100% correct answer.. The most they’re always able to give is what is affecting the credit which is a lot more helpful than not receiving any answer at all.

      • Kelley says:

        I agree. It is almost impossible to increase your score. I have a better chance winning the lottery.

        • Dori says:

          I have been watching my scores and using my credit cards to change them. I have 3 cards. One is for cash, and the other two are for merchants. I always pay the cash one down to 0 balance each month and the others I use and pay them down to at least under %50 of the credit limit. My scores change each month anywhere from 2 points to 10 points. Credit inquiries drop your score about 10 points so be careful about letting anyone do that if you can avoid it. I filed bankruptcy after a divorce in 2008 and I have been working on my credit scores for 2 years they are back up to between 650 and 700.

          • Karen says:

            I have been using & paying off my credit cards every month, for the last year. I don’t have any loans, and yet my credit score has not gone up at all. I cannot get it near 700. I just do not understand the system in this country.

          • Taralyn Rose-California Coast Credit Union says:

            Know when your creditors report their balances to the credit bureaus. If you are paying it in full on the 20th but they are reporting balances on the 15th, your score won’t change because the score will be calculated with the balance the creditor reported, not your current paid in full balance. Keep EVERY card balance less than 30% of the card’s limit. Once all debtis paid off, charge a gallon of milk, pay the balance in full and on time, and you will see your score increase. You have to use credit to have a credit score. If you don’t use your cards, your score will decrease because there is no payment history. No history means the bureaus can’t calculate your risk level for repaying debt.

          • Anonymous says:

            thanks. you just gave me hope

        • James says:

          I’ve had mine in the high 700s for years by simply paying on time, array of accounts (mortgage, car, cc, loans) and it jumps as you pay those off over time.

          The only one you really have little control over is length of history. It wasn’t until I hit my 20th year of credit history that it jumped over 800 when nothing else materially changed.

      • Anonymous says:


    • marvin koch says:

      April: credit reporting and accounts can be very complicating. Correcting one collection may not have any affect on your score depending on what your history is. Remember that certain information is on your record/history for years for anyone to view. Increasing your score is not an easy matter based on your history and other matters. A good approach is to lock your accounts for five years only to be viewed by those you authorize. Remember, any action by you to obtain any credit or open accounts authorizes access to your credit. Use caution if you don’t want anyone to view your credit.

    • Michael says:

      April (and Kelley) –

      Keep working at it! The score will start to move. You can get into a credit score problem in a hurry, but it will almost always take time to improve it. Several things to consider:
      (1) Time heals credit scores. A collection account paid off last month will impact your score more than a collection account paid off 3 years ago.
      (2) Pay everything on time from this point forward. Every month of good payment history will help to pull your credit score up.
      (3) Don’t charge your credit cards up to the limit (or even approaching the limit). This will kill your scores – but it only does it for the month (or months) the balance is high. Also remember, the reported balance is usually the balance shown on your statement each month, so if you are planning on needing a good score, pay the balance down before the account cycles so it is low at the reporting date.

      Good luck! It will work, but it will also take time.

    • Kevin says:

      According Susie Orman you credit score will not go up one point if you pay off a past collection. You are better off getting a secure card or opening new accounts and keeping them up to date and you will get a much bigger boast.

      • Greg says:

        I strongly disagree with this logic as a blanket statement. I have seen time and time again that if you pay off a collection that is reporting a “past due” balance on a credit report you will most certainly get a boost. Keep in mind, all collection agencies don’t show the balance in the past due column, but those that do, pay them and you will most likely see an increase.

        • Lori says:

          You are correct Greg…not only will it help your score a little but it will enable you to get credit. An unpaid collection is a red flag to a potential lender from whom you are seeking credit. A paid collection shows a lender that although there was an issue, you took the necessary steps to rectify the problem.

          Also. NEVER charge your credit card to the max and pay it out each month. Your card will almost always show as being at a full balance because of how it reports to the bureau. Don’t go over 50% of your limit.

          I’m a finance manager and I see the max credit card balance issue almost every day.

          • Marcia says:

            If you use your credit card max 8 per cent of your limit (every mnth) and pay on time full balance, your credit score will bump up a lot. If you did not have a credit card and this is your fisrt and only, your scores goes up to 44 points.

        • lauraabd. says:

          That is incorrect, paying a charge off will help your credit as the account is with the original creditor still, but once the account goes to a collection agency, it will not help your score to pay it off. If this were true, a person could just pay their bills once a year and maintain an awesome credit score.

    • Jaime Gonzalez says:

      I agree and if your late on a payment they quickly drop your score down by 5 points how convenient.

      • rbl says:

        By law, they are only allowed to report it when you are over 30 days late from the due date. Sometimes, a mistake also happens when you pay less than the minimum amount, which causes it as a late payment.

    • Mike says:

      Hi April; Last March, I took the advice of a mortgage broker, and started with a credit score of 515 and now 6 months later, I’m at 648…. Get yourself 2 or 3 secured credit cards, and start paying off old collections, never miss a payment on any open accounts and keep your balances under 30% of your limit…. In a few months, things will look brighter

      • Greg says:

        Good advice sir. It works 100% of the time. It just takes being patient.

        As for those of you that say you should never pay off an old collection, here is why I disagree. Sure, paying off a collection can cost you some points in the short term. Let’s say you didn’t pay off that collection and just went with the method of establishing new credit. You will see a score increase but what happens in 6 to 12 months when collection company A sells to collection company B and it reports to your credit report? Your score drops and all the work you have done is reversed.

        Pay your collections if they are yours. If not, dispute them with both the credit bureaus and the collection agencies.

      • Ray says:

        Hi Mike, My current score is 515 and I am trying everything to get my score up! Can you maybe help me or even direct me to someone who I can talk to about what steps to take to increase?

    • workinghard says:

      Your score will go up every month when the 3 bureaus report again. Your score will not jump up instantly. Also my scores that I received from the credit bureaus through on-line monitoring did not match the scores I received from my lender. Personal on-line monitoring scores are not accurate. Cheer up, paying your debts off will pay off within 6mos-1yr., just not overnight.

    • Robert Butcavage says:

      agree with this statement. It takes up to 7 years to get bad credit off of your credit report which I think stinks.

    • Brian says:

      be patient i did the same thing and my credit jumped 15 points the next month that they reported and i also had to call them because mine dropped 5 points and they next month they increased my score


    How can we repair a score when credit bureaus don’t do their due diligence in TRULY investigating a inquiry that something is not correct on a credit report?


    • marvin koch says:

      Karen: Because of false/fraudulent credit reporting the credit reporting agencies recently came under the review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB) This is the venue to correct false and/or fraudulent reporting.

    • Karen H says:

      You are absolutely right! I got divorced and my dad died soon after I took all the money he left me and paid off al my bills on my credit report from my divorce (most of which my ex charged up). I called each company paid the bill with the guarantee they soul remove it from my report. They never came off just showed as paid late and reset the date they will sit there now for 7 MORE YEARS! I got letters from all the creditors sent them in disputed them all absolutely nothing happened. My lawyer and the consumer credit dept told me I shouldn’t have paid them they would have been gone all of them within 18 mos and I would have been better off. That’s what you get for doing the right thing! I could have bought a new car or something instead!

      • Moses Kollie says:

        I had the same issue when I was laid off my job in 2008 where I worked for 10years. Paid credit cards and loans but today they are still on my credit reports. Or I should have left some of the cards opened to balance my credit rating but fear when will I get a job or how do I keep payment up to date?

    • Robert says:

      Karen, I agree. Equifax doesnt investigate anything. You are wasting your time fooling with them.

      • Amanda W says:

        I disagree. I had a bankruptcy on my report… I never filed just spoke with a lawyer and it was on my report as a dismissed bankruptcy. I wrote to all three and they deleted it along with a couple of other accounts. So if you follow how to dispute it they will investigate…NEVER do the online form. Type them a letter and then mail it. It will get done faster.

    • Melissa Bristol says:

      I had several accounts on my credit file that were fraudulent or didn’t belong to me. It was the result of a family member using my social before I was even 18. I submitted several disputes and nothing was done. The only way I finally got it fixed was to file a report with the FTC, make a police report and send that and a list of the accounts to the credit bureaus. They fixed it within 2 days, and my credit score improved about 150 points. Disputing appears to do absolutely no good.

      • Johnathan Hurst says:

        So, you’re saying that the only way you were able to get them to change the information resulting from identity theft was by following the procedure that you were supposed to follow for identity theft? How terrible of them to make you actually put effort into it

    • joanne says:

      My Mother signed over her house to my sister and I before she died. I live in the house and pay the mortgage..which shows as ” The Estate of….” I owe my Sister 25,000.00 which we agreed to. I owe 38,000.00 on my house and its appraised for 260,000.00 . I could not refi at the time of my Mothers death because I’m still showing on a mortgage that I have with my Ex Husband..We did have a bankruptcy, which has been discharged. I have no bills, just my household and a personal loan thatI help my ex pay since we both signed on for it 5 years ago… Couple of questions…since the mortgage company shows in the estate of…they do no report my payment history to the credit bureaus, is there a way to have the mortgage company report under my name while its showing j n the estate of? Would it be beneficial to pay extra on my principle to get the loan paid off , so that I can take a loan to pay my sister out?.. since my credit is only in the low 600s?.. and lastly if I get a loan.im sure at a high interest rate or a hard money loan .and pay on time every mth..is 12 mths enough to repair my credit ?

  3. Jackie says:

    How do I get my husband’s accounts off of my score?

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Jackie, that’s a great question. They do not maintain joint files for spouses. Only accounts that are in both names will show up on both files. Any account for which you are a cosigner or an authorized user will also show up on your file.

      You can close all joint accounts (making sure the balance is paid in full and on time) and reopen accounts in your name only. You should be able to avoid future credit tangles with new accounts.

      However, closing out joint accounts and reestablishing individual accounts may affect your credit score. You might also be able to work with your creditor to separate the debt (if possible) and reestablish the account in your name only.

      Here is a link with more information: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/what-does-divorce-do-to-my-credit/

      • DEBORAH DIXON says:


      • Alphonzo says:

        Keep in mind that closing your joint account with your hubby also lowers your credit score if its one of your oldest revolving credit account because after it’s closed the credit history length is shortened of wich lowers your credit score, but if the joint account with hubby is one of the newest accounts your fine to close it without a negative impact. Good advice for you newly wed love birds is to open a single account in your name only and add your significant other as a sighner and they would still get a credit card in their name and it boost both credit scores (if payments made on time) but only one person is liable. The good thing about this is it’s easy to shut the signer down if need be with one phone call without involving courts or the spouse running up a huge bill and not paying it cause you shut down their credit card before the shopping spree begins when you know the relationship is headed south of love or you get upset at each other. Don’t let love blind you to the reality of finances. I’m not married yet but I’m ready to not mix my finances when I do with joint accounts but I’ll add her as a signer and say here you go babe your credit card but be responsible please. Make sure you sign up with text alerts on your cell phone do every time the credit card is used in her name you receive an imediate detailed transaction alert of purchase price and store.

  4. Spencer Willis says:

    I live in Georgia. I have an credit card account that was opened in 2005 shortly after I used it I lost my job. What are the statute of limitations on debt collectors continuing to report this debt and not reporting the correct opening date on my report? The are reporting that the account was opened in 2011, which is completely false. I have disputed this before but it keeps popping back up. What should I do?

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Spencer Willis, sorry to hear about your situation. If your information is incorrect, our investigators would like to help you free of charge. If you have any supporting documents, please mail a copy of them to us. Here is a link with the information on how to do so: https://help.equifax.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/32/noIntercept/1

    • leelong says:

      spencer it takes 7 years from the last payment but if they took it off they cant put it on your report again you should talk to a attoney that happen to me befour and i did collect off from the collection

      • Anonymous says:

        leelong, I hate to tell you but they can put it back on after they have taken it off. Fingerhut has listed that they have a charge off TWICE on my account. When in fact I called in and paid my account and closed it. Then they sent it to collections. The collection agency never even contacted me and they put it on as a charge off, too. That’s not fair to me. I paid them. But it is the way they do it and there’s nothing we can do about it. I disputed the original and Fingerhut said “its accurate” and they took Fingerhut’s word for it and left it on there.

    • marvin koch says:

      Spencer: It’s not clear what your position is. But, some credit information can remain on record for 7 plus years. If any thing happened to your account following the initial reporting, reporters often re-start your account beginning date. Check your status with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB).

    • DEBORAH DIXON says:


      • rhonda pa says:

        if this is true then your agency is wrong have account 7 years old since date of last activity disputed it was updated and my time was made longer then it should have been removed

    • CC Lloyd says:

      The statute of limitations is 7 years from the date of first delinquency. The credit report should show who the original creditor is (even though it may have been assigned to the collection agency in 2011 that is now reporting) and it should also show the date of your first late payment.

      All this information should be on a detailed credit report from Equifax.com.

    • John says:

      Spencer, usually when a customer stops making payments to a credit card, they will end up writing off the debt on their taxes and or sell the account to a third party for collections. The third party pays pennies on the dollar for your account and then tries to bill you for the original amount. When this sale occurs or if it is resold again, it will show up on your account as having been opened much later than when you actually opened it. Most times, the original bank will have no record of your old account. I don’t know how long they can keep trying to collect but if you do end up paying, which you should because you used the money, it will get closed just make sure to ask for confirmation. Also, you can request a monthly payment schedule to pay it back. Or, you could even take their offers to pay back a portion of the debt. If you go this route, the pardoned amount would be considered income and would need to get reported on your taxes.

    • Paphijohn says:

      In actuality, an account that is taken over by a collection agency should not be reporting any longer than the date of the initial default. As per FCRA section 623 (a) (5), a collection agency is supposed to state the date of the first delinquency within 90 days of having reported the account. In other words, it can not be reported as a new delinquency as that is a violation to the FCRA. You may also want to send the CA a Validation letter and request they state the initial delinquency date. You will have to do some research, but once you have all the necessary information, dispute it with the CRAs and the CA. Good Luck!!!

      • Paphijohn says:

        Clarification/Correction. should not be reporting any longer than 7 years from the date of the initial default.

        In actuality, an account that is taken over by a collection agency should not be reporting any longer than 7 years from the initial default date. As per FCRA section 623 (a) (5), a collection agency is supposed to state the date of the first delinquency within 90 days of having reported the account. In other words, it cannot be reported as a new delinquency as that is a violation to the FCRA. You may also want to send the CA a Validation letter and request they state the initial delinquency date. You will have to do some research, but once you have all the necessary information, dispute it with the CRAs and the CA. Good Luck!!!

  5. Daphne Solomon says:

    I’m not quite sure what is meant when talking about removing negative reports from your credit report based on the date of last activity.

    • Greg says:

      The date of last activity//date of first delinquency is the date they go from before an account is aged off of a credit file. For example if the date of last activity//date of first delinquency is 10/2006 on a negative account it would age off of credit file 10/2013, seven years. If the account is positive it would report for ten years from the date of last activity. 10/2006 would age off of file 10/2016.

  6. John says:

    So how long is considered a good length of time for credit history?

    • James says:

      From my experience my score jumped over 800 on my 20th year of history anniversary. Nothing else materially had changed at that point, so it was the only thing I could point to as the cause.

  7. I.P Freely says:

    I paid off every single debt we had excluding a house and mortgage payment. 6 months later, nothing changed on my credit score.

    The best though: 3 credit agencies have different scores. One had a car I paid off 5 years ago still saying I owed the amount I paid for it. Submitted the payoff from the bank, scanned the title, still did nothing

    Credit Reports suck – period.

    • Anonymous says:



  8. Linda says:

    Is it better to pay off credit cards first or Line of Credit? How long after paying these off will it take to reflect positively on your credit report?

  9. marvin koch says:

    Having three credit reporting agencies all reporting at times different information has been a problem for years. And, changing or updating personal credit information can be a challenge. I have been working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB) for a few years. Due to the amount of false credit reports made to personal reports and the lack of attention/investigation by the credit reporting agencies, all agencies have recently come under the direct review of the CFPB. We cannot expect a quick solution to our credit problems. And, we need to check our check frequently. I have an account with one of the credit reporting agencies and receive alerts to my reports. My best information is to work with the CFPB to correct any false/fraudulent reporting. I have been told by the credit reporting agencies that they are not required by law to investigate, but only to take the word of those making false/fraudulent reporting as BEING TRUE. We should have only ONE agency under government control to receive.investigate and report credit information. This is a matter of more government control to protect our rights. I don’t have much use for politicians. Working with the CFPB is our best approach to gain our rights.

  10. Megan says:

    Why are credit scores reported differently to different creditors? The credit score I see in my Equifax monitoring account is not the same as the score a creditor sees when they perform an inquiry. In addition, different creditors receive different scores from the same reporting agency during the same period of time. We just refinanced out house and received conflicting info from 3 creditors and none of them were close to the scores I pay to see with Equifax.

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Megan, that’s a good question.

      Your credit scores are determined by a variety of factors, including the number of accounts you have, the types of accounts, your available credit, your payment history, and the length of your credit history. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why your credit scores are different because those differences can be related to these and other variables.

      Plus, a credit score is a moving target. It could change every day as credit grantors, public records, and collection agencies report data.

      Here is a link with more information on why your scores may differ: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/why-are-my-three-credit-scores-different/

      • Megan says:

        Thank you very much for the response. I actually meant the score from one agency, for example Equifax, reports my score differently to me, and differently to each creditor. A person might see 786 in their Equifax profile, but it is reported as 740 to one bank and 754 to another bank. I experienced discrepancies with all three agencies, not just Equifax. However my Equifax score in my profile is not the same score the banks saw when they pulled my credit.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was told by a credit counselor that alot of companies sell there collections cases to different collection agencies to keep the accounts current

  12. Richard says:

    I have an old account that was closed 4 years ago that shows as closed at two credit bureaus but still says open and is reported to monthly at the third credit bureau. How do I get them to close that account at the third bureau?

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Richard, sorry for your situation.

      You can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency, which will then work to resolve the issue. You should be able to file the dispute online, by mail, or by phone.

      If you have any copies of documents to show your information is incorrect, consider mailing them to the agency.

      If you are told an error will be corrected, follow up to ensure that the correction is made.

      Click here for more information.

  13. James says:

    Yes please explain to me why an inquiry hurt your credit score it is so many little thing that brings your score down that it is nearly impossible to raise your score because I have been paying all my bills on time and done every thing you all said to do for the last TWO YEARS and my score has done nothing but dropped so I call and ask why and you all said that it was because I applied for a credit card but you guys were the ones who told me that I need a credit card to show a revolving account but you didn’t tell me that it was gonna drop my score 12 points I really don’t think that you all are being fair to people who have made mistakes in the past but is now trying to better themselves . So please explain.

    • Anonymous says:















  14. Bill S says:

    What a crock. If you really want to purchase any item, save the money and pay cash. Banks and these credit agencies are blood sucking parasites.

    • Carlos B says:

      Well Spoken Bill S!

      • Anonymous says:

        I totally agree Bill. I thought it was such a contradictory of terms when during the big financial crisis with the banks in the UK, when they were basically financially crippled and were bailed out at the British taxpayers expense, these banks then turned down thousands of applications for mortgages & credit cards, due to people’s credit score. Talk about double standards. We are all made to believe by government ‘s and credit agencies that having a good credit score helps define a person in someway. Years ago people worked hard and saved up to purchase TV’s, sofa’s, holidays etc. but due to high unemployment, lack of wage increase, alas to most of us we have no choice but to ‘use our plastic’.

  15. Art M. says:

    Who cares about credit scores when our own government will eventually file bankruptcy. The whole credit score thing is overblown and a way for a bank to say we need to charge you a higher interest rate. Interest rates are low because our government wouldn’t be able to make their loan payments. That should tell you how important a credit score is.

  16. Tony 20 says:

    I have collection accounts that are not mine and I have verified them. I have sent proof 2 times and it shows clearly it is not mine
    I am talking about several accounts. I have ask for the system used by collection agency and credit bureaus because I can not tell what is more accurately than written in black and white and why they will not remove them. I have inquires that I did not authorize and have requested information where I authorized these inquires. I have never received any proof. I have been working on this for over 1 1/2 years and have never won a dispute. The worst thing I have seen is where 2 accounts where deleted last year and now those accounts are back under a different collection agency. If I can see it why can’t they. They will tell you anything on the phone but nothing ever changes. It’s odd all my accounts are medical and to same place and there are not any past 2009. I have information where some of the accounts that are not mine but was filed on my insurance. There are medical bills that are on my credit report that are the same bill and report 3 different ways. There is no way to beat them even if you have proof and show them. I will fight them all the way

  17. Sharon Dodson says:

    I have had 3 three count them again 3 identity thefts. I have it all documented. I have asked all three major credit bureau agency to contact me if anyone attempted to check my credit. Just this past year I have had well over 14 hits on my report that I had and still have no idea who they are.
    Supposedly I’m on a fraud alert.
    When I confronted Transunion, their remark was, we have no fraud alert for you. Just another way for the bureaucrats to galge more money out of you. Plus I just paid two cards off over 12,000.00, my score took another hit and went down.

    It’s all BS.

    • James says:

      I actually have my account blocked. It’s worked so well I even got myself denied when going to do some home improvement loans. I was a bit confused since my score was right at 800 until I remembered I had actually blocked any credit pulls.

      If I block myself I’m hoping it keeps others out too.

  18. Dr. Michael Swindle says:

    I just had a decrease in FICO for increase in balance and another decrease in FICO for DECREASE in balance on an account. The Customer Service at Equifax is non-existent. The Customer Service at Equifax hires too many people with American names and their language skills in English are pitiful.

    • James Sasser says:

      You do realize that Equifax doesn’t deal with your FICO score right? FICO scores based on your EQ report but the calculating is done by FICO. Why would you complain about EQ for FICO meesing up your score? That’s like complaining to sears because walmart overcharged you

  19. Gerald Wilson says:

    I applied for a Car Loan at a Dealer.
    The Dealer Inquiry and the 10 other Hard Inquiries are killing my score.
    All were in the period of 24 hours – 2 days – and submitted by the dealer to Banks and CU’s.

  20. Patricia H. Scott says:

    My credit report is lengthy but I have zero late payment and several zero balances. Many of these account are several years old and I have no plans to use them. What is the process for closing several of these accounts and will it negatively impact my credit report?

    • Anonymous says:



  21. DJ says:

    I have submitted notarized documents to credit bureaus trans union, experian, and equifax and the other two have remove multiple inquiries and information off, equifax has not deleted anything. Why does equifax takes so long to update information or delete information of your credit?

  22. Tim says:

    reported to the consumer protection agency. Part of the Federal Trade Commissionthey should be able to help you get that result its called reaging and it’s illegal

  23. Anna says:

    I noticed that removing an authorized user from the account like a credit card didn’t automatically removed that from the credit report. Also, as an authorized user is my score being affect by the debt of the person that the account is under?

  24. Anna says:

    Another question, what if the accounts show up duplicated in my credit report? Does it count twice towards my score and how to fix it?

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Hi Anna, again it’s great you are checking the accuracy of the information within your credit report.

      If you think that information in your credit file is incomplete or incorrect, you can notify the credit reporting agency directly, to initiate a dispute, free of charge.

      If you find an inaccuracy with one CRA, you may want to get your credit file from the other two credit agencies to see if their files contain the same error.

      Here is a link with more information on errors in a credit report: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/what-to-do-if-you-think-theres-an-error-on-your-credit-report/

  25. T2tx says:

    It’s up to the consumer to educate themselves on the state and federal laws. Big money has the upper hand, always has, always will. The average consumer didn’t always have access to their consumer credit files. Don’t count on the Credit Reporting Bureaus to accurately and completely verify the info that goes into your report. Count on much ineptness and apathy in the rank & file in these agencies. With identity theft, and the junk debt market thriving, check your reports often and vigilantly

  26. T2tx says:

    And, remember the big three bureaus don’t have the common consumers best interest. Never had, never will. Their actions belie any lip service to the contrary. Any number of entities may be illegally poking around in your credit files at any time. There aren’t enough people, or profit to properly enforce the laws on the books in place to protect the common consumer from identity thieves, and the scummy junk debt thieves. The big three CRA’s don’t care as much as they lead you to believe.

  27. Anonymous says:

    sue them? and dont play with them reach the ceo it online web search is easy I have dont it and it work

    • Anonymous says:

      Really now? Care to provide the court case information? Or just any information whatsoever about the issue that you supposedly “sued” them over?

  28. rl says:

    I had duplicates happen. Also had a couple errors along with accurate ones after someone used my info to gets cards and a phone. I have filled the right papers, i have talked to the right people, only half were ever fixed. The others arestill there. After i filled a comment about them on my reports my credit went down drastically again! It doesn’t pay to try and be honest, i feel like i got the short end when the fraud occurred, and again trying to fix it. Now I’m told all i can do is wait for them to drop off, which will be longer because when i made the comments and disputed others still there i was told the clock started over! No way to win.

  29. gen says:

    I think it is crazy that we are judged by a score but aren’t allowed to know the exact formula by whiched we are judged because it is priority infomation.

  30. JB says:

    Due to identity theft last year where 3 credit cards were opened, I have been trying to pay them off but lost my job and can no longer do this. The credit cards wrote off a portion of the cards but said I am responsible for the remainder even though I did not even see the cards much less use them. I have a fraud alert with the credit agencies. What can I do at this point?

  31. Michael says:

    I had numerous success with having items deleted from all 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian & Transunion). I sent a letter requesting them to have incorrect & inaccurate information deleted according to Fair Credit Report Act (F.C.R.A.). When dealing with the credit bureaus you need to be persistent by requesting at least 3 times that the items you want deleted be deleted according to F.C.R.A. You should always send copies of payments that were made & most definitely the copies of paid-off accounts. When you have done all that you can do directly with the credit bureaus, then you should contact Consumer Financial Protection Bureau & explain your situation that you are having with the credit bureau(s).

  32. Kevin Small says:

    In my fifty years of living on this planet a couple things are clear. One of these things is for gods sake don’t miss payments or have a repossion or have an account go to a collection agency. If you find yourself in one of these unfortunate credit circumstances say bye bye to your credit worthiness for ten long years. Second thing is unless you acquire a home loan your credit score is basically capped. I’ve paid off two car loans had flawless credit card payments,and no negative info on my record for ten years. My FICO will not go over seven hundred regardless. It’s all a scam don’t believe all the propaganda from credit companies. The system is fixed and rigged for the wealthy. If your in the lower income range you got no good credit,unless your born into wealth.



  34. richard says:

    I have a lot of available dollars…very high credit limits that I have no use for. If I lower them, will this improve my score.

  35. Rock Lively Sr. says:

    Why is it that creditors continue to LOWER my available credit thus INCREASING my debt percentage on accts? Directly affecting my DEBT/INCOME ratio. They know this effects the credit scores of countless hard-working Americans. What can be done to reverse this?

  36. Earl says:

    I am not sure my 2 simple questions all goes under here , but I am a first time poster!
    I am buying a house and moved into it as renter for first three months as seller needed to hold off for some reason to close, ok, with us so we moved in and waited on Mortgage. Now , I moved exactly 3 miles but all utility company’s ran my credit as the move was acrossCounty line. I had been at last owned house 10 years without even a deposit needed for those utilities, NOW I GO TO GET A MORTGAGE AND MY SCORE HAS DROPPED 40 points for all the New utilities that ran a hard hit on my credit?? My Mortgage rate went up because I dropped under 760? How can anyone move, have excellent credit and lose it for Utility hits on there credit? That is a stupid way to evaluate credit, and Bank themselves told me they use only Equifax and ONLY THING SHOWING DIFFERENT ON SCORE DROP IS UTILITY HITS???
    2nd) is I a m a Premeir member, paying Annually ; PLEASE TELL ME , what do I get for that? If I want credit scores updated have to pay extra? IF I CALL an Get Lucky to get a real person , their name is PAO? They can’t answer any questions or see my account and that is on the Number I was sent an email on to get an answer on an email I sent in ??????? How do Premeir members get help inEnglish and why send the phone number in email responding to me If person on other end can’t see your account or answer your Question you were told to call them for???? Ok, so forget PAO, that is terrible service but answer why unities hits cost me my rate on my Mortgage for just moving 3 miles and WHY utilities count as hard hits?

    • Mike Egleston says:

      Unfortunately you went the wrong way about securing your mortgage rate vs. your utilities.When applying for a mortgage, DO NOT apply for ANY other credit whatsoever, utilities, etc. until you have closed on your loan and it is final.Based on your current situation, I would pay your mortgage on time, if not early, and start shopping for a re-finance package if the rate is significantly better and the closing fees are minimal. In the mean time your score will start to climb back up and better rates will be available to you.

  37. Cynthia says:

    How do you close open credit accounts for companies that are no longer in business? I have a few of these from years ago for which I don’t even have the cards. Yet they show as available credit on my report.

  38. Cheryl says:

    My client never disputed his student loans but all three bureau’s are reporting a dispute after resolution which is causing automatic underwriting to deny his loan. He tried to call but he only gets an automated system and can never get a live representative to help him and there is not prompt that speaks to his specific need. Do you have a number he can call and talk to a live representative?

  39. John D - CT says:

    my credit score took a 30 point hit and it says its due to too many inquiries. There were 3 inquiries since November, and only one that I knew about. Two others were by a company I don’t recognize. I don’t know who they are or why they were checking my score, but they’ve had a negative impact on my credit score so I want to know how to keep them out. Is it possible for me to prevent companies from getting my credit score without my approval?

    • Judy says:

      You can add a security freeze to your credit report which would freeze up your credit report and stop companies from viewing your reports. The other options is a credit report control lock which is included with an Equifax product called ID Patrol. ID Patrol would basically lock the credit report to stop hard inquiries and notify you via email whenever there is a change to your credit reports whether it be through Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

  40. C.B. says:

    I hope that everyone on this forum realizes that Credit Reporting Agencies are businesses for profit. They get this profit from subscribers. The subscribers are the organizations that grant you credit. This is why some of your accounts post on some reports and not others. When you dispute an account who do you think has favor with the credit bureau? The federal law is a joke in the eyes of the CRA. They know and understand that there is no enforcement in this area. Believe me Equifax is the worst, evidenced by the lawsuit they recently lost to a woman who tried 8-10 times to get verifiably innacurate information removed from her report. They do not investigate, let me repeat….they DO NOT investigate. I disputed information on my report from a company that had gone out of business and they replied back…”verified”…..what a joke. The use of credit scores has proven to be the best way to keep less affluent peolpe to remain less affluent. It works.

  41. SD says:

    About 2 1/2 years ago I lost my job and home quite suddenly. My family was homeless for about 3 months. As I had no income during that time, all of my bills got behind and by the time I found a home and another job, making 1/3 of what I had previously made, most if not all of my bills had been turned over to collections. Before all this happened, my credit score was just at 700. Since I had children to support and a much lower income, I was unable to pay on some of my bills. 1 1/2 years later, one of the credit cards that I had (and had always paid on time before becoming unemployed) successfully sued me. The other credit card that I had initially went through the same company to get their money,, but then another debt collector contacted me about that same bill. But back to the one that successfully sued me; the job that I had closed down about a month before I received the paperwork saying that the judge ruled in favor of the credit card collector (I had received notice of intent to sue, responded, but never received a court date and didn’t hear anything until I git the paper work stating I had to pay). I have been unable to find even part time work so I have been unable to pay anything at all to them. I am still searching every day for work and keeping a budget in mind for when I get back on my feet. How can I and how MUCH can I improve my credit score in 5 years. I have 5 total negatives for unpaid bills from the time I lost my job in 2011.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I paid off a credit card bill and the company sent me a settled in full letter. I sent this to the credit bureaus. How long does it take to show a zero balance?

  43. D wilk says:

    I had some wrongly reported accts disputed and removed off my report and since my score dropped
    About 80 pts. how/why does this happen?

  44. MB says:

    I’ve been steadily paying off debts since March, and it’s almost June now and I have only seen a 10pt increase despite all that I have paid off. My credit score is still down in the dumps and everything has been paid! How long will it take for it to increase more. I can’t get a credit card to help increase it either b/c it’s so low.

  45. holly says:

    I just paid off a collections item on my account. They are telling that since the account was transferred to legal I have to notify the credit bureas and tell them its paid. Is this correct and do I wait for the letter from the company saying its paid and send that to the bureas?

  46. Candace says:

    I’m selling my house and want to take half of the money to reduce credit card debt. Should I pay off the larger accounts or several smaller credit card bills. All are in good standing. My goal is to improve my credit score.

  47. Struggling says:

    The credit rating system should be abolished since it is such a mess, and so many people had their ratings lowered or completely trashed during the recession crisis. Why are we letting these people ruin our futures?

  48. Nickolas says:

    If I got a divorce and my house is now owned by my ex wife can I have that taken off my credit report.

  49. Misery says:

    I have been paying off all my delinquent accounts and they have been deleted. I still have some more to work on. Yet my score is unchanged worse its fallen from a 601 to 501. Its becoming so frustrating trying to fix a good credit score yet only to see it go from bad to worse… Is there any real solutions here or just have to live with the fact I will always have bad vredit and no hope insight…

  50. Curious says:

    Do medical bills hurt credit score when businesses are viewing the report, and should they be paid? These bills are from 2009 totaling $346. I also have two cell phone bills due to no service where I was living, but couldn’t cancel contract due to renting with utilities paid. I have been paying one of the phones until it is paid. The other was from2008 but shows 2011 to collector. I am also under 25 with a credit history only showing a year for some reason. Unfortunately I have paid cash for everything. Any ideas to boost my score?

  51. Wendy says:

    I left my ex and filed for divorce in Feb 2011. My credit report has a about $3000 in delinquent loans that are mine. And a delinquent mortgage (29 payments missed). My ex was awarded the house and has lived there without paying the payment pretty much since I left. It has destroyed my credit. Not to mention the 2 bankruptcies we had to file in the 16 yrs I was with him. The house has gone to foreclosure and reverted back to the bank. He still lives there. Is there anything I can do to remove this, or a way I can explain so creditors know what is going on?

  52. Sarah says:

    I went for a car loan in Jan. Allowed the dealership to run my credit BUT before they came back to me with the APR they got, they kept running it until they found a lower number. I was approved but the APR was still crazy high, so I paid my car in full. I DID NOT USE OR ACCEPT AN AUTO LOAN. There were 3 hard inquires added from that day alone from the dealership and then two months later, I get letters in the mail saying I was denied after NOT accepting the rates I was approved for.

    Is there a way to get this off of my credit report since I didn’t go with the loan i was approved for and they ran it many times without telling me any results? Its going to be on there for another year and half and its 3 inquires I shouldn’t have on there.

  53. name says:

    I’ve been trying to increase my credit score for the last year. It had barely moved. Got 2 new credit cards, at 50% right now but will be around 30 soon. But there’s a judgement on my account…i sued my old landlord and won but the judgement is showing under my credit. Disputed but nothing. Easy for that court to add it to my credit but no one will lift a finger to help me get it off. Wonderful system.

  54. Kara says:

    Ok. I have a few questions. I am going to get 2 secured cards to build my credit. I understand keeping them under the 30% of card limit. Now as far as what’s on my report? The accounts that r closed and charged off? Does that mean they r gone? Do I still owe? Also I have read people’s comments about just waiting the 7 years and not paying because of I pay then I start all over from the 7 year mark again? This is so confusing. Help

  55. cara says:

    Is there any way to get medical bills that are my ex-husband’s off of my credit report?

  56. Frustrated says:

    Equifax deleted two of my accounts but was only supposed to delete one. They deleted my charge-off account which was right account they were suppose to delete. The other account they deleted was my credit line that was in excellent standing. My creditor stills sends them monthly updated reports. But Equifax stills says they didn’t receive anything.I have been trying to have my credit line added back on my report since July 2014. I filed a dispute sending documents from my creditor. Stating that this account is accurate and for Equifax to update the information on my credit report. Equifax did not inform my creditor that I filed a dispute. Equifax just closed my investigation stating the account is not on my credit report. I am so frustrated. That’s why I filed the dispute. So my next step is to file a complaint with the CFPB. My question is how can Equifax delete accurate accounts they wasn’t supposed to be deleted in the first place? And why didn’t they contact my creditor about my dispute?

  57. Josh says:

    I successfully disputed an account and it was removed. It went a month,then it reappeared on my credit report. What can i do about this?

  58. Pauline says:

    In 2010, I had a 3 year car loan that I paid off 6 months early. Came to find out that the dealership/finance CO didn’t report any of my payments to any of the credit bureaus! Is there anything I can do to get this added? Also, (because of this) we couldn’t get a car loan back in 2013 due to no/poor credit. We had a friend finance for us and we have been paying the amount early every month since then (a 5 yr finance term). Is there a way I can show my proof of payments in my name (all available on the Kia website) and submit it to bureaus to be added to my report?

  59. Cheap auto insurance in Houston says:

    Tips for cheaper car insurance. Please?!?

  60. Mr. W. says:

    who do I contact to make 2 lenders put my on time paid off postive credit with the 3 bureaus?

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