Monthly Archives: April 2012

Credit Score Breakdown

I came across this some time ago but thought I would post it as it provides a breakdown of what weight certain factors play in determining your credit score.

As you can see the largest overall factor in determining your credit score is your payment history followed closely by the amounts owed.

One thing that always seems to affect my credit is the length of credit history. Because I moved to the USA from another country my credit history is relatively short compared to that of most Americans the same age as me.

Here is another grahpic from Experian showing the “credit quality” of certain types of credit.

I currently don’t have a mortgage so that could be hurting my credit. I do have an auto loan though which is a type of installment loan. Obviously, I have some credit cards but also some retail cards like Walmart and Amazon.

Credit Monitoring Services

I thought I would provide some details about which credit monitoring services I have been using to track my credit. I signed up ages ago to services from all three of the major credit bureaus.

Triple Advantage from Experian – Currently costs me $17.95 per month

Complete Premier from Equifax – Currently costs me $17.95 per month

TrueCredit from TransUnion – Currently costs me $19.95 per month

A lot of people think these services are a ripoff and they don’t even provide you with a proper FICO score. However, I enjoy keeping track of changes to my credit file and so for me it’s worth the monthly fee as I am always checking my credit file.

I have also previously used myFICO which is an excellent service (and website).

If you’re on a budget but want to improve your credit you don’t have to signup for all these services. You can usually get your credit report for free once a year from all three credit bureaus. Check out this website for your free yearly credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.


My Credit Scores: 26th April 2012

These are the latest scores from my credit monitoring services with each of the credit bureaus. It’s important to realise that these are not accurate FICO scores but they give a snapshot of my credit with each of the credit bureaus.

Experian: 721
Equifax: 652
TransUnion: 756

I also have these recent FICO scores from applications and other sources.

Experian: 724 (from Bank of American denial January 18th 2012)
Equifax: 719 (from US Bank denial letter April 11th 2012)
TransUnion: 761 (from MyFico Febuary 2nd 2012)

Removal of Avis Hard Inquiries

I’m always looking for ways to improve my credit score and since I don’t have any negatives on my credit report like collections or bankruptcies I decided to look at getting some of my hard inquiries removed or recoded to soft inquiries.

I know it’s possible to dispute inquries but I don’t want to go that route since all the inquiries on my credit report are legitimate and made by me at one time or another. Inquiries are supposed to stay on your credit file for 2 years but lenders often only look at inquiries in the past 6 or 12 months.

One reason I have been denied credit recently is the amount of inquiries in the past 12 months. This is why I am taking a look at my inquiries to see if there is any way I can shift some of them.

The first inquiries I am going to attempt to remove are from Avis. I’ve been renting from Avis for some time and last year had quite a lot of rentals with them since I was without my own car for most of the year. One thing many people don’t realise about rental cars is that many rental companies will do a hard pull on your credit file when paying with a debit card.

I become a preferred member with Avis last year which apparently removes the need for them to run your credit every time you pay with a debit card. However, I still seem to have 4 hard pulls on my Equifax credit report from Avis.

So I got my wife to call Avis and ask if they would consider either removal or recoding of these. The lady she spoke to was very helpful and has already removed 3 of the 4 inquiries. If the 4th hasn’t gone in a few days we will call her back.

The credit score shown on my Equifax credit monitoring (although not a FICO score) has already gone from 644 to 652!