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Old 06-09-2009, 06:07 AM   #21
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I should check it out. Just refinanced 3 or 4 months ago and got my official numbers as part of the process. I'd like to see how they may have changed since I've paid off a couple car loans and got a new mortgage.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:15 AM   #22
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Sorry about that--shouldn't have abbreviated Wall Street Journal to WSJ. That is how we refer to it around the office. My bad.
No problem. I actually knew what WSJ was.
My former empl*yment has caused me to be very very careful about stuff like this. We were a favorite target for hackers and phishing and spam and...
So when I saw "Free" and "Enter your SS number online" in the same sentence...ding ding ding.

Onward and upward we go.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:11 AM   #23
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They can't provide a credit score if you have a credit freeze in place, so I'm out of luck. We use the 'nuclear option' of freezing to prevent identity theft. Since we rarely ever apply for credit, it works for us, but has the downside of not being able to take a peek at our credit score.
Hershey--how do you initiate a credit freeze? I'm very interested in this, as it seems the perfect solution to identity theft. Currently I have a "fraud alert" on my credit because some dumbass at the medical clinic lost a laptop with a few thousand patient records on it. Anyhow, I'd appreciate any info.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:18 PM   #24
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Did my "free annual credit report" end of April. Also paid for their "Vantage Score" which was 880 on a scale of 501-990. My score in 2007 was 945. All of this was through Experian. Wrote them a letter 5-1-09 asking what did I do to deserve this reduction. Haven't heard from them. Don't expect to either. Talked to them on the phone later and they had a hard time explaining-in fact they couldn't. Their famous response is that "your credit score is just a snapshot in time". They told me I could get a different number in a couple days. Why? Because a credit card might have received a payment in the interim. Note, all credit cards are paid in full every month by the due date. Four things they noted in my credit report:

1. "Your report does not show usable/valid real estate loans such as a mortgage".
I have not had a mortgage for eight years. Asked them why they don't have past records and they couldn't explain. They did say it's mortgage companies responsibility to forward the info.

2. "The balance amount paid down acress open installments such as auto loans is too low. Paying down the balance would help the credit score." Ours is a lease and it would be foolish to pay this down.

3. "Report shows available credit across open revolving accounts is too low. Having low available credit amounts has a negative impact on credit score." I have since closed cards with low credit limits and got the three main cards jacked up to $15k minimum.

4. "Your report shows the ratio of balances-to-credit-limits is too high". That was hurt by some cards with low limits. As I said, I cancelled those cards and got the limits raised on the three major cards.

That was all done 5-1-09. On 7-1-09 I'm going to request a report from TransUnion and then about November request one from Equifax. I'm looking for FICO scores next time also. All this is really important because I get the best rates from insurance companies. You have to stay on top of it.

Sorry for the long post, but couldn't do it in less words.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:48 PM   #25
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Johnnie, did you try the creditkarma free one listed in the article?
I guess the thing to remember is that credit reports and scores are a commodity and every one of the companies offering them wants to offer you something just a little bit different to make it seem like their score is the "best" one for your needs.

As long as your credit report is clear, you'll get the good rates on insurance and the like. Beyond that, the scores are just more about, ahem, size.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:51 PM   #26
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Hershey--how do you initiate a credit freeze? I'm very interested in this, as it seems the perfect solution to identity theft. Currently I have a "fraud alert" on my credit because some dumbass at the medical clinic lost a laptop with a few thousand patient records on it. Anyhow, I'd appreciate any info.
If I may...credit freeze info is halfway down at this page
DEFEND: Recover From Identity Theft - Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:52 PM   #27
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How funny, I was just on the FTC site a few minutes ago for a school-related question about scams and read that section, freebird. Great minds....
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:03 PM   #28
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Interesting. I got dinged on the "Average Age of Open Credit Lines" portion. Must be due to the re-financing and switching between credit cards. I also got a "C" on "Total Accounts" at 26. ?!? I need to check that.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:17 PM   #29
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I also got a "C" on "Total Accounts" at 26. ?!? I need to check that.
I got a D in that one for having "only" 19 accounts.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:23 PM   #30
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I got a D in that one for having "only" 19 accounts.
Deadbeat.

I should've figured. More accounts = better score.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:24 PM   #31
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Deadbeat.

I should've figured. More accounts = better score.
Maybe Dave Ramsey is right when he calls it an "I Love Debt" score...
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:53 PM   #32
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Mine was only 762, last time I looked it was 805. My average card is only 6 years and I had 3 hard inquires but 44 lines and 100% on time out of 837 payments. I guess I can close newer credit cards.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:27 PM   #33
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One thing I found out about credit cards; if you have one with a high limit, hang onto it. Use it once in a while even if you don't like the rewards or cash back or whatever. We had a JC Penney card for years, didn't use it very much, found out it only had a limit of $1000, tried to get it raised, Pennys denied us because we didn't use the card enough, so I cancelled it. I screwed up on another card that had a $9000 limit but because we didn't use it much I cancelled it. Should have kept that one. The credit bureaus like high available limits on cards.

I'm not going to try the creditkarma.com site as I have my own methods and I don't enjoy putting my SS number out there.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:53 PM   #34
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Sounds like you are on the ball Alan. He has a good dad
Thanks. With both him and his sister, from about age 16 we would buy them luggage for birthdays just to remind them of our promise to them -- "When you're 18, you're out the door "
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:58 PM   #35
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How funny, I was just on the FTC site a few minutes ago for a school-related question about scams and read that section, freebird. Great minds....
...almost collided in cyberspace.

Um...your left blinker is still on.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:04 PM   #36
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One thing I found out about credit cards; if you have one with a high limit, hang onto it. Use it once in a while even if you don't like the rewards or cash back or whatever.
Also true if you have a card you've had for a very long time.

I have only one credit card left that gives no rewards: a Visa from my CU which has a $20K limit and has been open since the early 1990s. I make sure to use it for a small purchase at least once a quarter, because it substantially improves both my utilization ratio and age of open accounts.
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RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:42 PM   #37
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My credit score is going to get worse. USAA just offered me another 0% interest no-fee balance transfer. I am compelled to take them up on their offer for the 3rd year in a row. You will probably get the same offer if you haven't already.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:04 PM   #38
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Also true if you have a card you've had for a very long time.

I have only one credit card left that gives no rewards: a Visa from my CU which has a $20K limit and has been open since the early 1990s. I make sure to use it for a small purchase at least once a quarter, because it substantially improves both my utilization ratio and age of open accounts.
Yes Ziggy, that's a good point; however, JC Penney got to me when they wouldn't raise the limit because I didn't use the card enough. What an excuse. Had that card for about 15 years and had a perfect record with them. When they wouldn't raise the limit I cancelled the card and cut it up.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:46 AM   #39
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Thanks for the link. My score is 778. Just for a sanity check, is that good? Is the max 850? I have no mortgage, so my score seems good, but I wanted a sanity check.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:10 AM   #40
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Yep, David, that is good, upper percentile, just fine for getting good insurance rates, etc.

You can make it higher if you want to waste a bunch of time gaming the system, but it is entirely within the realm of very good.

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