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  #1  
Old 07-04-2016, 05:19 PM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is offline
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My credit rating and how to clean things up.

So. I ran that once a year free credit report from "Free Credit Reports Dot Com".

It informs me that I have several lines of credit open which I have no memory of opening. They are all pretty old- the oldest goes back to 1991.

In the aggregate, I apparently have credit card accounts open with zero due, no yearly renewal fee, and something akin to $ 21, 400 in available credit that I do not use and really do not want.

Or...do I? My dearly beloved is under the impression that the very best thing I can have is long-standing credit available that I never make use of. That it's good for my credit rating. Me, I see this as a chance for a fraudster / identity thief to make use of those accounts - none of which are sending me statements and I knew about none of them till I ran this report - to run up fraudulent charges.

Is it an urban myth that having this kind of very old open credit card with zero balance due for decades is good for my rating?
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2016, 05:36 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Part of your score is the ratio of credit in use to available credit. So if you charge $1000 every month out of $20,000 available (5% usage, even if you pay it off) that is a more favorable ratio than if you charge that same $1000 out of an available $2000 (50%) usage.

I use Credit Karma (totally free, no cc needed) and you can play with parameters to see how they predict it will affect your score.

Last edited by IvoryTowerDenizen; 07-04-2016 at 05:37 PM.
  #3  
Old 07-04-2016, 06:28 PM
leahcim leahcim is offline
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One other thing that goes into your credit score is the average age of accounts. If the accounts you want to close are significantly older than the rest, killing them will lower your average age of account.
  #4  
Old 07-04-2016, 06:54 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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Since you don't remember them, and presumably don't get any statements, I would question the accuracy of the report.
  #5  
Old 07-04-2016, 07:22 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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First:
Contact the "Creditors" of whom you are not aware.

Find out what address they have for you - that may tell you if it is your memory that is failing or the accounts are, in fact, fraudulent.

Another vote for Credit Karma.
And yes, age of account + number of accounts + credit usage all factor into FICO.

Did you have the report sent hard copy? Can you still view it?
Get all the info on all the accounts and start. Email if it works, real, live letters (have copies of your driver's license and SS Card handy to prove you are who you say you are.

Take a deep breath and start digging. You can hire "Credit Repair" groups - all they do is write the letters for you.
Their "cleaning" consists of challenging every last negative item on your report, using boilerplate letters. It sounds like you need to find out who/where/when these accounts originated.
  #6  
Old 07-04-2016, 07:51 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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The onve a year free credit report is at annualcreditreport.com
Experian runs the one you mentioned in the OP as a profit generating site. Make sure you didn't end up paying for a recurring membership in their credit monitoring service or something.
  #7  
Old 07-04-2016, 08:19 PM
pidgeon92 pidgeon92 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
The onve a year free credit report is at annualcreditreport.com
Experian runs the one you mentioned in the OP as a profit generating site. Make sure you didn't end up paying for a recurring membership in their credit monitoring service or something.
Yes, I was going to mention the same.
  #8  
Old 07-04-2016, 11:31 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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On annualcreditreport:

Federal law entitles you to one report per year PER AGENCY.

Since all 3 use essentially the same info, you can get a report every 4 months by getting one from each agency.
Many folks will get all 3 at once, thus unable to get another report for a year..
  #9  
Old 07-05-2016, 12:20 AM
Projammer Projammer is offline
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Credit Karma let's you see a snapshot of you credit score that seems to be pretty accurate at least in my case. It also has a credit simulator which let's you model what effect some changes to your credit records will have on your score including closing your oldest account. Also, in the credit factors section it claims that the average age of your credit history has a medium impact on your score.
  #10  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:02 AM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
One other thing that goes into your credit score is the average age of accounts. If the accounts you want to close are significantly older than the rest, killing them will lower your average age of account.
Both you and usedtobe mention "age of account"- but neither of you mention if age is a good thing or a bad thing. Seriously. If "older aged" accounts with a zero balance are very good for my overall credit score, then why would I close any of these? If the reverse is the case, then I will aggressively pursue closing all of them except my current credit card. That card is paid 100 % every month and so I carry zero credit debt of any kind.

Paid off the Prius last year. I actually live with zero debt of any kind. I rent an apartment, I own my car, I do not carry any debt for my kids' student loans.

Want to have the highest number possible, and want to do anything I can to elevate and maintain that.
  #11  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:28 AM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cartooniverse View Post
Both you and usedtobe mention "age of account"- but neither of you mention if age is a good thing or a bad thing. Seriously. If "older aged" accounts with a zero balance are very good for my overall credit score, then why would I close any of these? If the reverse is the case, then I will aggressively pursue closing all of them except my current credit card. That card is paid 100 % every month and so I carry zero credit debt of any kind.

Paid off the Prius last year. I actually live with zero debt of any kind. I rent an apartment, I own my car, I do not carry any debt for my kids' student loans.

Want to have the highest number possible, and want to do anything I can to elevate and maintain that.
Older accounts are a good thing. If I may ask, why do you want the highest number possible? Once you've hit 760 there's little, if any, benefit to raising the score beyond that, you'll get the best rate on any loans. Going through time and trouble and possible expense to turn a 760 into a 780 is a pointless exercise.
  #12  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:59 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is online now
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Older accounts are good. The credit modeling others mentioned gives me more of a ding if I close my 25yr old account versus a 3 year old account. I guess older accounts show stability.
  #13  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:11 AM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cartooniverse View Post

Want to have the highest number possible, and want to do anything I can to elevate and maintain that.
Again, Credit Karma is great because it lets you play with certain parameters and see the hypothetical effect on your score.
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