Monthly Archives: December 2014

GoodWill Letters: Examples Included

Goodwill Letter Examples

GoodWill Letters and How to use them. Good Will Letter Examples and Samples Included. 

GoodWill Letter Example Letter 1

GoodWill Letter Example Letter 2

GoodWill Letter Example Letter 3

Q: How can I delete a negative trade line when it remained on my report after a pay for delete?

The basics of private mortgage insurance (PMI)

Buying a home

If your down payment on a home is less than 20 percent of the appraised value or sale price, your lender will require you to get mortgage insurance. A mortgage insurance policy protects your lender in case you default on the payments. As a borrower, you pay the premiums, and the lender is the beneficiary.

There are two types of mortgage insurers: government and private. The main government mortgage insurer is the Federal Housing Administration. Several corporations underwrite private mortgage insurance, often called PMI.

Buying a homePMI fees vary, depending on the size of the down payment and the loan, from around 0.3 percent to 1.15 percent of the original loan amount per year. Mortgage insurance premiums are tax-deductible through 2013, and it is possible that Congress could extend deductibility longer than that.


Let’s say you buy a $175,000 house and make a 10 percent down payment, meaning that you borrow $157,500. The mortgage insurer charges an annual premium of 0.49 percent. The insurer multiplies the loan amount by 0.0049, for an annual premium of $771.75, which is divided into 12 monthly payments of $64.31.


Keep track of your payments on the principal of the mortgage. When you reach the point where the loan-to-value ratio hits 80 percent, notify the lender that it is time to discontinue the PMI premiums. Federal law requires lenders to tell the buyer at closing how many years and months it will take for them to reach that 80 percent level and cancel PMI. Lenders must automatically cancel PMI when the balance hits 78 percent.

Some FHA loans require payment of mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan.

Best Secured Cards 2016

Find your Best Secured Card to Rebuild your Credit

Best Secured Cards 2016

If you’ve seen your credit suffer due to bankruptcy, joblessness, medical bills or just a pattern of poor decisions, there is always a way for you to re-establish your credit.

The problem is that you must obtain credit in order to build it, but it can be difficult to find a reputable lender when you have poor credit. However, a secured credit card can be a helpful solution. These are cards that require users to place a deposit with the bank as a condition of opening their account.

The deposit is held as a security against default, but in all other ways secured cards are just like standard credit cards. Cardholders receive monthly bills that they must pay, and will incur interest on any balance they carry over until the next month. The good news is that payments are reported to the major consumer credit reporting agencies, so that your credit score will rise with your record of timely payments. Also, some of these cards come with benefits such as rental car collision damage waiver coverage, and standard consumer protections under federal law. For example, the Fair Credit Billing Act ensures that credit card users do not have to pay for fraudulent charges or goods not received. Finally, nearly anyone can qualify for a secured card once they have discharged any bankruptcies and proven their identity.

This month, we took a look at the best secured credit cards and determined which ones ranked among the best. We have the Best Secured Cards 2015,

How We Chose the Winners

While there are some excellent secured cards on the market, there are also some inferior products with excessively high rates and fees. We looked for cards with a low annual fee, low interest rates and an affordable minimum deposit. Other valuable benefits can include rental car coverage, a credit limit beyond the deposit amount, cellphone insurance, and even a travel rewards program. These are all things applicants should consider when trying to find the best secured credit card.

As you work to build credit with a secured credit card, it’s also good to get into the habit of monitoring your credit. There are free tools that can help you do that, like at, where you get two credit scores and an overview of your credit profile updated every month, along with a personalized plan to help you build your credit over time.

Now, let’s take a look at this month’s Best Credit Cards in America picks for the best secured credit cards.

Harley Davidson Visa Secured Card from US BankThe Winner: Harley Davidson Visa Secured Card from US Bank

There are many different secured credit cards offered by the major banks, but this is the only one with no annual fee.

Why it won: This card features no annual fee as well as a rewards program.

The benefits: Customers place a deposit that becomes their credit limit. They can then enjoy benefits such as auto rental collision damage waiver and automatic bill payment. Cardholders also earn Harley Davidson rewards points, but with no annual fee, this card can appeal to those who aren’t even riders.

The costs: This card has an interest rate of 22.99% that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3%.

1st Runner-Up: Wells Fargo Secured Card

Why it’s 1st runner-up: With low fees and impressive benefits, Wells Fargo allows customers to rebuild their credit quickly and easily.

The benefits: This card offers a complete range of Visa benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver policy, roadside dispatch, as well as travel and emergency assistance services. In fact, cardholders are even covered by a mobile phone protection policy that covers against theft or damage up to $600, with a $25 deductible.

The costs: There is a $25 annual fee for this card. The 18.99% APR interest rate is very competitive for a secured card. This rate applies to balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee), and the cash advance rate is 23.99%.

2nd Runner-Up: Capital One Secured MasterCard

Why it’s 2nd runner-up: This card has the lowest minimum deposit and is the rare secured card with no foreign transaction fees.

The benefits: Cardholders place a minimum deposit of $49 but then receive a credit line of at least $200.

The costs: There is an annual fee of $29 for this card, and an interest rate of 22.9% that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3%.

How to use a Secured Card to Rebuild your Credit.

How To Use A Secured Card To Rebuild Your Credit

Find your Best Secured Card to Rebuild your Credit

Who among us hasn’t needed a second chance? Or a first opportunity? For the millions of Americans who were battered by the Great Recession and came out of it with a tattered credit score, plus the legions of young people who haven’t had a chance to earn and spend money wisely, these are not abstract questions.

Even though the emergence of financial products like prepaid debit cards have made it easier to get some of the ease and benefits of plastic, solid credit still matters. Try to buy a house or a car and you’ll quickly learn how important it is. If you have bad or no credit, you’ll be turned down for a loan or offered an ugly interest rate.

This is where secured credit cards come in. Secured cards are a bit like a bicycle with training wheels – a tool to practice on and demonstrate your capacity to operate something bigger, faster and potentially more dangerous. Unlike unsecured credit cards, the secured variety typically requires a cash deposit in order to establish a credit line. If you put down a $500 deposit, you’ll have a credit limit of $500 (keep in mind that the money you put upfront is not used to pay off monthly charges). This initial deposit is the bank’s way of insuring that it doesn’t get burned if you do not pay your bills.

The best thing about secured credit cards is that, in most cases, the issuer reports your repayment behavior to the three main credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Translated, this means that paying your bill on time and following the terms and conditions of the card can, over time, boost your credit score. This makes a secured credit card an extremely valuable tool if, and this can’t be emphasized strongly enough, you are timely and consistent in paying your bill.

Still, there are red flags to watch out for with secured cards. Start by making sure that any secured card you consider will, in fact, report to the three main credit bureaus. If they do not, and your goal is to establish good credit, you’re wasting your time. Like any financial product, it is important to know that not all secured cards are equal when it comes to fees. Shop around. While secured cards generally have higher fees than unsecured ones, there can be big differences in the interest rates, activation charges and account maintenance fees. It’s also smart to know the card issuer’s policy regarding returning your initial deposit when you close the account. Sometimes it can take a few days to get your money back.

Be careful to avoid any secured credit cards that do not have a payment grace period. If it does not, that means you will pay interest on any charge you make from the moment your card is swiped. “With no grace period, there is no way to avoid paying interest,” says Amber Stubbs, editor of “With regular credit cards you can avoid interest altogether if you pay your statement in full.” Fortunately, the lack of a grace period is a rarity, although the Horizon Gold Card is one that does this. Also watch out for limitations on how you can use the card. The Horizon card, for instance, can only be used to make purchases on a Horizon outlet store website.

None of these cautions are meant to scare you away from using a secured credit card to rebuild your credit. But being aware of some of the potential problems will allow you to safely ride your training wheel equipped bike without falling into potholes or getting run off the road.

Find your Best Secured Card.

Statutes of Limitations for the 50 States

Statutes of Limitations for all 50 States

We provide this chart as a rough guide. Check your state’s actual statutes of limitation for the time limit for your specific claim, which may be different than what you read here. For example, time limits for filing a lawsuit to recover on a bad debt are often shorter than the time limits for filing a lawsuit for breaches of other types of contracts. (See Nolo’s Legal Research area for tips and links to websites where you can read your state’s statutes online.)

Statutes of Limitations for the 50 States (and the District of Columbia)

State Statute Written contract Oral contract Injury Property damage
Alabama Ala. Code § 6-2-2 et seq. * 6 6 2 6
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 09.10.010 et seq. 3 3 2 6 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-541 et seq. 6 3 2 2
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-101 et seq. 5 3 3 3
California Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 et seq. 4 2 2 3
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102 et seq. 3 (6 most debts; rent)
(2 tortious breach)
3 (6 short-term debt/rent )
(2 tortious breach)
2 2
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq. 6 3 2 2
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq. 3 3 2 2
District of Columbia D.C. Code § 12-301 et seq. 3 3 3 3
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq. 5 4 4 4
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-20 et seq. 6 4 2 4
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1 et seq. 6 6 2 2
Idaho Idaho Code § 5-201 et seq. 5 4 2 3
Illinois 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201 et seq. 10 5 2 5
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq. 10 6 2 6 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Iowa Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1 et seq. 10 5 2 5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-501 et seq. 5 3 2 2
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.080 et seq. 15 5 1 5 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Louisiana La. civil code § 3492 et seq. 10 10 1 1
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 751 et seq. 6 6 6 6
Maryland Md. Courts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101 et seq. 3 3 3 3
Massachusetts Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 260, § 1 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5801 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 541.01 et seq. 6 6 2 6
Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq. 6 3 3 3
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq. 5 5 5 5
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-2021 et seq. 8 5 3 2
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-201 et seq. 5 4 4 4
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.010 et seq. 6 4 2 3
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:1 et seq. 3 3 3 3
New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2a:14-1 et seq. 6 6 2 6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-1 et seq. 6 4 3 4
New York N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 201 et seq. 6 6 3 3
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-46 et seq. 3 3 3 3
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq. 6 6 6 6
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.03 et seq. 8 6 2 4
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 91 et seq. 5 3 2 2
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq. 6 6 2 6
Pennsylvania 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq. 4 4 2 2
Rhode Island R. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq. 10 10 3 10
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq. 3 3 3 3
South Dakota S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-2-1 et seq. 6 6 3 6
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-101 et seq. 6 6 1 3
Texas Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq. 4 4 2 2
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 78B-2-101 et seq. 6 4 4 3
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 461 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-228 et seq. 5 3 2 5
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.005 et seq. 6 3 3 3
West Virginia W. Va. Code § 55-2-1 et seq. 10 5 2 2
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 893.01 et seq. 6 6 3 6
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 1-3-102 et seq. 10 8 4 4

Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2014

Credit Disputes

With identity theft on the rise, now is the time to find the best credit monitoring service so you can protect yourself before it happens. According to the most recent “Victims of Identity Theft” report published by the Bureau of Justice in 2013, approximately 16.6 million persons (7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older) were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft in 2012.

If you don’t think that’s very much, consider that losses from ID theft were $24.7 billion. That’s $10 billion more than all other property theft combined.

With ID theft on the rise, and sparked by a recent ID theft scare experienced by a close family member, I conducted some serious research on the best credit monitoring services available today. My focus was mainly on comprehensive credit monitoring with ID theft protection, but I also found some great options that work well for low-cost credit report monitoring.

The Best Credit Monitoring Service

My research led me to choose Identity Guard as the best credit monitoring service because it is a comprehensive program that monitors changes in your credit score and provides some of the best ID theft protection in the industry.

Identity Guard has many different package options to fit any budget. Any plan you choose comes with:

  • Social Security number monitoring
  • ID theft victim’s assistance
  • Lost-wallet protection
  • $1 million ID theft insurance

In case Identity Guard is not for you, several other strong companies worth looking into emerged from my research.

Here is my full list of the 5 best credit monitoring services:

  1. Identity Guard
  2. LifeLock
  3. Identity Force
  4. Experian
  5. TransUnion

What exactly does credit monitoring entail?

There are two main reasons you’ll want to use a credit monitoring service:

  1. You’re concerned about identity theft and want to protect against it.
  2. You need to improve or repair your credit score, but you’re not as concerned about ID theft protection.

Credit monitoring tracks your credit reports and notifies you of any significant changes. Since all things financial flow to your credit report, including loans, credit cards, and payment histories, your credit report is a major factor that financial companies use to extend you any type of loan.

Many times, people are unaware of derogatory reports that show up on their credit report until they actually apply for a loan — when it’s already too late. Knowing what’s in your credit report is extremely important for this reason. Derogatory reports like a delinquency from a creditor can affect your credit score for years. You’ll also want to know your score prior to applying for any credit cards so you know you’ll be accepted.

The other important way people use credit monitoring services is to prevent identity theft. Any financial account that is opened in your name with your Social Security number will show up on this report. Identity thieves prey on unsuspecting people by taking information about them and using it to use or open new financial accounts in the unsuspecting person’s name. Credit monitoring services notify you any time a new account is opened so you can respond quickly.

There are a number of steps you can take to better protect yourself, but having your credit monitored by a professional team can give you the greatest edge by letting you know — in near real time — what is affecting your credit.

What are identity thieves looking for?

In a USA Today article, Phoenix-based cybersecurity expert Mark Pribish says identity thieves look for specific pieces of information.

Here is what identity thieves look for:

  • User names, passwords, and PIN numbers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Phone and utility account numbers
  • Bank and credit account numbers
  • Employment and student identification numbers
  • Driver’s license and passport numbers
  • Professional license numbers
  • Insurance identification numbers
  • College or university financial-aid form information

For most ID theft victims, having new accounts opened in their names is not the main issue, so credit report monitoring alone isn’t adequate. The big problem is that ID thieves use the above information to gain access to and control current bank, credit card, loan, and other accounts, which is where more proactive measures come in handy.

According the Bureau of Justice, for 85% of identity theft victims, the most recent incident involved the unauthorized use of an existing account.

This key statistic has great ramifications for determining which of the best credit monitoring service features have the most impact when it comes to combating ID theft.

How can the best credit monitoring services protect my existing accounts?

Simply monitoring a credit report only shows you when a new account has been opened, but doesn’t show you when your credit card has been used by someone else nor when your bank account has been accessed.

The best credit monitoring services that make this list protect your open accounts with:

  • ID verification alerts
  • Account takeover alerts
  • Lost-wallet protection
  • ID theft victim assistance

The Most Comprehensive Credit Monitoring Services

The first three products listed below will be able to provide full credit monitoring services, identity theft protection, and access to credit reports. If you’re looking for the most comprehensive services to stay protected, these are your best options.

Identity Guard

For comprehensive monitoring, including proactive identity theft protection, Identity Guard is your clear choice.

They monitor all three major credit bureaus for changes to your reports, helping you make more informed financial decisions. On top of this, they monitor personal information like your name and Social Security number across thousands of databases.

ID verification alerts and account takeover alerts proactively notify you every time your online account information has been accessed or changed. This way, you can quickly take action if the accounts were accessed fraudulently. These services are included in the same plans as their credit monitoring service so you just pay a single monthly fee for both.

If you happen to become a victim of ID theft, Identity Guard has the services to get you back on your feet fast. A victim hotline gives you access to a trained expert who helps you through your stressful situation. Lost-wallet protection gets your credit cards cancelled and replaced fast, and $1 million in ID theft insurance covers all of your losses due to ID theft.


  • Social Security Number Monitoring
  • ID Verification Alerts
  • Account Takeover Alerts
  • Identity Theft Victim Assistance
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • ID Vault® Password Protection


LifeLock® identity theft protection helps proactively safeguard your identity and your credit. LifeLock actively monitors applications for credit cards, bank accounts, utilities, and other services within an extensive network for attempts to use your personal information. Whenever suspicious activity is detected, you receive an alert via email or phone. If your wallet goes missing, LifeLock helps cancel or replace the contents quickly.

LifeLock® monitors thousands of black-market websites where ID thieves buy and sell stolen information. If your personal information shows up there, you are alerted. They also work with the credit bureaus to reduce the number of annoying preapproved credit card offers by taking your name off mailing lists.

With LifeLock® Junior, you can also protect your child’s identity, which makes LifeLock perfect for families. Children’s clean credit is often a gold mine for thieves because they are largely unmonitored. If your child’s information was stolen and used, it may go undetected for years and do lasting damage.


  • Identity Threat Detection and Alerts
  • Black-Market Website Monitoring
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • $1 Million Total Service Guarantee
  • Public Records Monitoring
  • Sex Offender Registry Reports
  • Monthly Credit Score Tracking

Identity Force

Identity Force is another top service for credit monitoring. They monitor all three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and notify you by email if any changes occur on your reports. A monthly statement comes in handy to help keep you informed of what’s going on with your credit files.

On the ID protection front, Identity Force also offers a variety of tools available to protect your personal information. Their comprehensive monitoring feature keeps tabs on any address changes, court records, credit reports, payday loans, and sex offender lists to make sure your information is not being used without your knowing.

In the event a problem occurs, you have 24/7 access to Identity Restoration Specialists who save you lots of time and headaches by completing all the paperwork, making calls, and doing all the heavy lifting to make sure your identity is restored.

Identity Force is another great choice for a families. Like LifeLock, this company can protect your children. Their Child Watch service delivers proactive credit monitoring, identity monitoring, and ID theft insurance for your kids.


  • Identity Threat Detection and Alerts
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • ID Theft Insurance
  • Identity Restoration Specialists
  • Child Watch ID Theft Services
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

The Best Credit Monitoring Services — Credit Reporting Bureaus

If you’re less concerned with ID theft protection, credit monitoring services from one of the main credit reporting bureaus is a great place to start.

These options can be more affordable and have flat fees for one-time access to your credit report if you just want to know where you stand before applying for a loan. Here are the top two options:


Experian makes the list of the best credit monitoring services by offering triple-bureau credit monitoring with a variety of options for one-time access to your credit report. You can purchase your Experian credit report for $14.95 or get all three credit bureau reports for $39.95. This feature is great if you just need to check in on your credit score once in a while.

For more active monitoring, select the Experian Credit Tracker. For $4.95 per month, you get your Experian credit score and credit report, plus triple-bureau credit monitoring and dedicated fraud resolution support.

Experian does have some ID protection features, but they fall short of the more comprehensive services like Identity Guard. The Experian ProtectMyID® service takes the Experian Credit Tracker features and adds daily Internet ID scanning to look for your personal information that may be publicly available on the Internet.

Finally, Experian also offers credit reports and credit monitoring for your small business. This is a rare service only offered by the major credit bureaus.


  • 3-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Dedicated Fraud Resolution Support
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • ID Theft Insurance


Like Experian, TransUnion is another credit reporting bureau that provides some of the best credit monitoring services. As a member, you have access to triple-bureau credit monitoring alerts, so you will be notified of any suspicious activity. TransUnion used to only monitor their own report. This flaw kept them from being one of the best credit monitoring services in the past.

If you’re looking to get one-time access to your credit report, you can receive your TransUnion score for free and credit report for just $1 by signing up for a free seven-day trial. Cancel at any time during the seven days and you won’t be charged the $17.95 membership fee. You also have the option to purchase your triple-bureau credit report for $39.95 without ongoing membership.

You can add some ID theft protection by signing up for True Identity. This service monitors many of the same public records as other services and alerts you if your information shows up there.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, the security freeze feature prevents lenders from accessing your TransUnion credit report entirely. This makes it less likely that a lender will extend credit to someone posing as you. Tools like these offer you peace of mind since they allow you a greater level of control over your account.


  • 3-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Identity Restoration Services
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • ID Theft Insurance
  • Security Freeze

Choosing the Best Credit Monitoring Services

Here’s an outline of how I got to my final choices:

  1. Conducted research to find a list of all services
  2. Removed companies that did not belong on the list because they feed business to other companies
  3. Segmented the remaining companies based on their features
  4. Analyzed features deeper to select a top product

For a more detailed look into my process for selecting these services, continue reading below.

I started my research by compiling a comprehensive list of credit monitoring services from multiple Internet sources. I found 20 companies to investigate further.

As I dug deeper, I found that several companies on my list were actually lead-generation sites for other companies on the list. Two examples are and, both owned by Experian. I instantly eliminated these companies and don’t recommend them.

The next step was segmentation. I found that while all the companies on the list provided some form of credit monitoring, some focused more on detecting and preventing ID theft while others were more focused on tracking your credit score and report to provide you with valuable information when applying for credit.

So, I segmented companies into two categories:

  1. Comprehensive: for those that provided a set of credit monitoring services with a heavier emphasis on ID theft prevention.
  2. Credit Reporting Bureaus: these companies are more focused on monitoring your credit changes and less on ID theft.

Once I had two buckets to place the services, I focused more on features. For the Comprehensive category, I focused on features that could protect existing accounts because, for over 85% of identity theft victims the most recent incident involved the unauthorized use of an existing account.

The must-have features for this category include:

  • ID verification alerts
  • Account takeover alerts
  • Lost-wallet protection
  • ID theft victim assistance

For the Credit Reporting Bureau category, there are really only three options to choose from: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

In this category, the distinguishing features that made Experian and TransUnion the best are:

  • Ease of monitoring credit reports from all three bureaus
  • The alerting functions for changes to each report
  • Best options for one-time access to your credit score and credit report
  • Ability to add certain ID theft protection features

Making the Final Decision

Looking at everything that credit monitoring encompasses, I determined that Identity Guard was the best credit monitoring service.


Hands down, it has the most comprehensive features for not only monitoring changes in your credit report, but also for proactively combating the risks factors that make your identity vulnerable.


We do not

Dispute Errors on Your Credit File By Mail

Remove Inquiries from your credit

How do I correct or dispute inaccuracies on my credit file by mail?

You may want to contact each of your creditors and make sure that they have your personal information correct in their records.  Updating your personal information with your creditors will help to make sure that information reported to the credit bureaus by your creditor is correct.

If you believe that any item of information contained in your credit file is incomplete or inaccurate and notify the credit bureaus directly, they will investigate the item free of charge. Based on the results of the investigation, they will either update the current status of the disputed information (which may include letting you know if the furnisher of the information verified it was reporting correctly) or delete the item from your file.

You should dispute errors by mail if we are unable to process your request online, or if you prefer to track the dispute through certified mail.


To request an investigation by U.S. mail, please print and complete this form and mail to the following address:

Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

More details from Equifax.


Experian’s mailing address for dispute requests is:

P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Please include all of the following when requesting your dispute:

  • Your full name including middle initial (and generation such as JR, SR, II, III)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (if you have never been issued a social security number, please note that in your request)
  • All addresses where you have lived during the past two years
  • One copy of a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or state ID card, etc.
  • One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc.
  • List each item on your report that you believe is inaccurate, the account number and the specific reason you feel the information is incorrect.
  • There is no charge for submitting a dispute.

Send your completed dispute information to the address above. Only include copies and do not send original documentation. Experian cannot return copies from your mailed request.

More details from Experian.


To dispute with TransUnion, you will need to submit this form to the address below. Also attach copies of any supporting documents to the form.

TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000


As a reminder when disputing any inaccuracies on your credit report through mail, make sure you send the letter certified mail with return signature. This is just added security and well worth the small fee.


I recently submitted a dispute to the credit bureaus to have some errors corrected and information updated. Will my FICO score automatically increase when these errors are fixed?

The effect of accepted disputes on FICO® scores


Question: I recently submitted a dispute to the credit bureaus to have some errors corrected and information updated.  Will my FICO score automatically increase when these errors are fixed?


Often your score will improve when errors on your credit report are corrected.  In some situations, however, your score may not improve when credit information is corrected or updated. For example:

  • It is often thought that closing credit card accounts will improve your FICO score. This is not true.  Closing an account will neither remove it from your credit report, nor will it prevent the payment history from continuing to be displayed and considered in the calculation of your FICO score.
  • Removing negative information from your credit report may not have the impact on your FICO score that you expect. There could be additional negative information remaining that will prevent an immediate increase in your FICO score.
  • FICO scores only consider credit-related information on your credit report. If you change personal identifying information (address, SSN, employer, date of birth, etc.), the credit information on your report will not be impacted and your FICO score will probably not change. The FICO score only considers credit account, collection, and public record information.


It typically takes the credit bureau 30-45 days to respond to your dispute.

Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

Remove Inquiries from your credit

As you review your credit report, you notice at the very end of the report there is a section labeled “Credit Inquiries” or “Regular Inquiries”. These inquiries were made by companies who “pulled” your credit report and these inquiries will remain on your credit report for two years. You may not recognize their names and you have no idea why they pulled your credit so it may seem a bit unnerving.  Don’t panic, there is something you can do about it.

How Important is it to Remove Inquiries?

Many people tend to over focus on removing inquiries when their reports are full of late pays, collection accounts or even a bankruptcy. In these cases, you might want to hold off on your efforts to remove inquires until after you have successfully removed some of the bigger problems on your credit report. But, if you are tackling your other credit issues, it doesn’t hurt to tackle this problem, too.

How Do You Get Inquiries?

Every time you apply for credit and the credit grantor checks your credit report, a credit inquiry is placed on your file. Even if you receive a credit offer in the mail and you respond, your credit will almost certainly be checked and a credit inquiry will be added to your credit report.

Types of Credit Inquiries

  • Hard pull inquiries occur when you applied for new credit, like a credit card, submitted a loan application for a car or home. Hard pull inquires can affect your credit score.
  • Soft pull inquiries occur when an existing creditor pulls your credit to see what your credit situation is. A soft credit inquiry occurs when you pull your own credit report. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Does an Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score?

  • Credit inquiries are bad because too many of them can indicate to a creditor that you’re “credit hungry” and may be in financial trouble.
  • Worse yet, the creditor has reason to believe that you received many of the credit lines that are showing as inquiries, and that many of those credit lines have not yet appeared on your credit report.
  • Too many recent inquiries indicate to a potential credit grantor that your debt-to-income ratio may be much higher than you say.

You can read our full article on how inquiries impact your credit score.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Removing Inquiries

All credit inquiries should come off your credit report after two years. If you’re not willing to wait, you may take these steps:

Step 1
First, find out which credit inquiries are getting in your way by ordering all three of your credit reports. When your reports arrive, look toward the end of your credit report to find the inquiries. Some of the inquiries are only promotional and will not be shown to prospective credit grantors. You need not worry about those. Identify only the inquiries that are shown to credit grantors. You should recognize some of these as places where you applied for credit, but others may be a complete mystery to you.

Step 2
Find the addresses for each credit inquirer. Your Experian credit report will list addresses for each – TransUnion and Equifax reports will not include addresses. Match your Experian with your TransUnion and Equifax reports. You should be able to use the same addresses on the inquirers that are listed on Experian. If some of the inquirers don’t show up on Experian but do show up on either Trans Union or Equifax, you will have to call the credit bureau to get their address. It is almost impossible to get a live body on the telephone at TransUnion, but Equifax has an 800 number listed at the top of their reports. If you have an inquirer listed on your TransUnion report and you can’t reach them by phone, you might try calling the 800 directory (1-800-555-1212) and request the 800 number for the inquiring creditor.

Once you have collected all of the addresses for each inquiring creditor on each credit report, you are ready for step three.

Step 3
Prepare letters to each inquiring creditor asking them to remove their inquiry. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows only authorized inquiries to appear on the consumer credit report. You must challenge whether the inquiring creditor had proper authorization to pull your credit file.

Use our sample letter to remove inquiries.

Step 4
Some of your creditors may provide documentation that a credit inquiry was authorized by you. Read the authorization that you signed very carefully. If there is any ambiguity, you can write back and argue that the inquirer’s authorization form was too complicated and not easily understood by the layman. You can threaten to contact the State Banking Commission and complain about a deceptive and unclear authorization form if they don’t remove your inquiry.

Some creditors will try to ignore your challenge. Be sure to send each letter Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and keep close track of the time that you sent the letter. If the inquiring creditor doesn’t respond within about thirty days, you will have ample grounds to call the inquiring creditor and demand some action. At that point, it’s almost irrelevant whether or not you authorized the inquiry. Now the issue becomes the creditor’s lack of response to a consumer dispute. Be sure to hold your ground. Demand that the inquiry be removed immediately or you will complain to the State Banking Commission or similar authorities.

Many of your inquiring creditors may simply agree to delete the inquiry as a courtesy or because they cannot (or will not) verify your authorization. That’s the goal! Remember, it is not likely that you will need all of your credit inquiries removed — just enough of them to keep you from being denied credit.