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Below are some common questions and answers related to credit reports. If you have any additional questions, please contact us.

Q: What is the average amount of time that negative, or black marks, stay listed on my credit report?
A: Typically, all types of credit information, good or bad, will stay present on your credit file for no more than seven years from the time of activity until the time the accounts are closed or paid in full.

There are instances when good and bad credit will stay listed on your credit report for longer than seven years. For example, credit cards and mortgages are two types of accounts that will remain on your credit file for longer periods of time. This is because these types of accounts have usually been active for many years. Bankruptcies will remain present on your credit file for 10 years. Unpaid tax liens will stay on your file forever! Defaulted government student loans will also remain on your credit report indefinitely.

Q: How can I be certain that the negative data will be removed from my credit report timely?
A: All of the credit reporting agencies have programmed their systems to automatically eliminate material once they hit their respective seven and ten year anniversaries. It is still wise to check your report to ensure that the information is in fact removed when it is supposed to be.

Q: How come there are three different credit reporting companies? What is the difference between each?
A: In the past there were many small credit reporting companies. Over time, the current three major companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, have taken over these smaller companies.

Having three companies instead of one ensures that all of your information is present when combining the info of all three. The three companies are different from each other. Here is how:

  -- Because it is not mandatory to do so, not all creditors report to all three credit agencies.  Therefore, there will be information missing from your credit file as reported by one or more bureaus.
  -- Even if you information is reported by a lender to all three bureaus, it is likely that the reported info is going to be different when compared at the same time. Why? Because each bureau will receive information at a different time, and report it at different times.
  -- Some creditors will not utilize all three credit bureaus when pulling your credit file. Therefore, the mark on your credit report for the 'inquiries' are going to be different for each bureau.

Q: What if there are outstanding judgments on my credit file? Should I pay them?
A: Yes, you should always look to pay-off any outstanding debts as soon as you can. Not only will doing so help improve your credit score, it will help increase your chances of approval when you apply for any type of loan or credit. 

Q: Are all types of outstanding debts reported on my credit report?
A: Traditional credit like auto loans, mortgages, student loans, and all types of credit cards are always listed on your credit report. Non-traditional types of credit like your cell phone bill, utilities and Dr. Invoices are not reported on your credit report. However, if you stop making payments on any non-traditional item, it will adversely be reported and reflected in your credit.

Q: How long does it take for new credit to start showing on my credit report?
You will most likely need to have at least one account that has been opened for a minimum of 3 - 6 months and one that has been open for a minimum of 6 - 12 months to show any signs of positive credit.

Q: If my credit score hurt when I get a copy of my credit report for my own viewing?
A: Your credit score will never be impacted when you get a copy of your credit report for yourself. This is called a “consumer disclosure” request. However, keep in mind that your scores will be impacted every time someone pulls your file for any type of loan or credit.

Q: How is my credit impacted when a creditor pulls my credit?
Every time someone other than you pulls your credit it is called a credit inquiry. A credit inquiry is merely a record of who pulled your credit and when. Usually, your credit file will reflect all credit inquiries for 24 months.

You are going to be considered high-risk if you have many credit inquires on your file, also lowering your credit score.

There are some exceptions were it is OK to have multiple credit inquiries, this not lowering your score. Specifically, it is not uncommon for people looking for auto loans and mortgages to shop around for premium interest rates by applying for a loan with more than one company in a short period of time. Learn more about how your credit is affected when inquiries are made.

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