Credit Plus, Inc. provides credit reports from TransUnion®, Equifax® and Experian® to lending institutions and mortgage companies that, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), must review up-to-date credit data to lend money to consumers. Credit Plus obtains these credit reports directly from the credit bureau agencies and does not maintain its own consumer credit database.
If one of our lending customers has obtained your credit report from Credit Plus, we can help you with any of the following:
- Secure a free copy of your Credit Plus Credit Report requested by our client
- Dispute incomplete and inaccurate information that is listed on your Credit Plus Credit Report
- Answer questions about your Credit Plus Credit Report
- Why does a Credit Plus inquiry appear on my credit report?
- How do I receive a copy of my credit report?
- How much does a hard inquiry lower my credit score?
- What’s the impact of hard inquiries when you are shopping for a loan?
- How can I dispute incomplete or incorrect information that appears on my Credit Plus credit report?
- What are credit enhancement schemes?
- Why are my credit scores different on CPI report to scores I have previously reviewed (Credit Karma, etc.)?
- Can hard inquiries be disputed?
- How to respond to credit fraud or identity theft
- How do I freeze and thaw my credit report?
- How do I correct errors on my credit report?
- Why did a company pull my credit report?
- What is in my credit report?
- Credit Plus called me. What should I do?
- Can Credit Plus help me understand why I was denied credit?
- Is it possible to dispute my credit score?
- What’s a hard credit inquiry & how does it affect your credit report?
Why does a Credit Plus inquiry appear on my credit report?
How do I receive a copy of my credit report?
How much does a hard inquiry lower my credit score?
According to FICO®, the impact from applying for credit will vary from person to person based on their unique credit histories. In general, credit inquiries have a small impact on your FICO Scores. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO Scores.
What’s the impact of hard inquiries when you are shopping for a loan?
When shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, multiple inquiries happen within a specific period of time— usually around 14 days—and they are counted as one inquiry. However other times, when multiple inquiries are recorded on your report, lenders might consider your repeated requests as a sign of risk. Multiple pulls in a short period of time might indicate you are having financial problems, and lenders need to be sure you are not over-extended before they extend any new debt to you.
According to FICO®, people with six or more inquiries on their report can be up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than someone with no inquiries.
How can I dispute incomplete or incorrect information that appears on my Credit Plus credit report?
If one of our lender clients requested a copy of your credit report from us and there is incorrect or incomplete information on it, you can dispute it by contacting our Consumer Disputes Department via phone (877.224.8107) or via email at email@example.com.
What are credit enhancement schemes?
Credit enhancement schemes may take various forms. In the most basic scheme, a loan officer and home builders are taking measures to encourage borrowers to have their names added to the bank accounts of friends or family members temporarily to circumvent the underwriting process to show that they have sufficient deposits on hand. Additionally, some originators and homebuilders are depositing money into the accounts of loan applicants who are in the process of trying to qualify for a mortgage to be used as an asset. Once the underwriting process qualifies the loan and it closes, the builder withdraws the money and uses it for the next potential borrower. According to Fannie Mae, perpetrators are also filing amended tax returns and paying “back taxes” on unreported income for previous years to aid in the verification of income process for a new loan application.
Why are my credit scores different on CPI report to scores I have previously reviewed (Credit Karma, etc.)?
The score you see online at any of the free credit report sites is likely different than the score lenders request and receive to evaluate your creditworthiness. There are good reasons for this.
A FICO score is used by the majority of lenders. Keep in mind that even though there are numerous versions of the FICO score – only one model is used by mortgage lenders.
There is another score called the VantageScore, that comes from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and it is calculated using yet another formula. A lot of online sites use the Vantage Score because it is cheaper, however it is not used frequently by mortgage lenders.
Different types of lenders use different credit scoring models to determine risk and some use scores that are weighted for their specific industry – so an auto lender will use a different score model than a credit card company or mortgage lender.
There are also slight credit score variations between the credit bureaus because the underlying data that is used – and how it is used – varies. Each bureau uses different data sources, different methods of combining the data, and different rules about what data to display for different people.
These variations mean that Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion each have a unique credit score for each individual – even when comparing the identical model and version.
When it comes to the credit score that you see online, you should also check with your mortgage lender to see what score they are working with to avoid surprises.
Can hard inquiries be disputed?
Accurate hard inquiries are generally not removed from credit reports, but if a business pulled your credit without your permission or by mistake, you can ask the credit bureau to remove the inquiry from your file. If you haven’t applied for a new loan but a hard inquiry appears on your credit score, it could mean that someone is using your personal information. To protect yourself from identity theft, you should monitor your credit report and the number of inquiries you have.
How to respond to credit fraud or identity theft
Experian® suggests that you follow a four-step process if you notice something unfamiliar or suspicious on one of your accounts or if someone accesses your bank account or commits any type of fraudulent activity using your identity.
Step 1: Contact Experian’s National Consumer Assistance Center to add an alert at any time of the day or night, visit its online Credit Fraud Center or Experian Fraud Division 1-888-397-3742; Equifax Fraud Division 1-800-525-6285; TransUnion Fraud Division 1-800-680-7289. An initial security alert can be immediately added to your credit file. This alerts creditors to confirm your identity before extending credit. Once an alert is added, your name will be removed from prescreened credit solicitation lists. Remember! An alert may prevent you from being approved for new credit or you may be asked to provide identity information.
- You also may request a complimentary credit report.
- The alert will be shared with the other national credit reporting companies, Equifax and TransUnion, so they can add the alert to their credit files.
Step 2: Review Complimentary Credit Report or Order Report.
- Review your consumer disclosure for fraudulent data and call the special telephone number listed on the credit report.
- You will speak with an Experian consumer assistance associate who is specially trained in fraud victim assistance.
- Together, you and the consumer assistance associate identify fraudulent items. The items are investigated and verified.
Step 3: Experian Investigates and verifies the information that the consumer alleges as fraudulent with the creditors or data furnishers.
- Upon receipt of a valid police report or valid state approved identity theft form, Experian blocks alleged fraudulent information from view by creditors and other users of the report. This allows you to continue to be credit-active without being penalized for any fraudulent information on your report.
- Submit Police Report or Proof Documents
- Experian employs special system procedures and matching criteria to ensure that fraudulent data is removed as soon as possible.
Step 4: Fraudulent Data Is Removed
- Experian must complete an investigation within 30 days (or 45 days if information on an annual credit report is disputed).
- The data contributor is asked to verify the information it reported with its records.
- Once the response is received, the consumer will be notified.
How do I freeze and thaw my credit report?
- Equifax: To request a freeze, Equifax wants you to send a certified letter with seven specific elements to Equifax Security Freeze/P.O. Box 105788/ Atlanta, Georgia 30348. The elements are spelled out clearly on the general information page, but they are, basically — name, address, date of birth, SSN, utility bill for proof of address, payment and a police report if you are a victim. Or you can go to: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp.
- Experian: Before giving you the information you need, Experian will warn you that a security freeze may make your credit life very difficult. Take that with a grain of salt, and then pick your state. You’ll send the request by certified or overnight mail to Experian/ P.O. Box 9554/ Allen, TX 75013. You need to include your name, SSN, date of birth, current and past addresses dating back two years, a copy of your driver’s license, and one utility bill. Or you can go to: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html.
- TransUnion: Send your freeze requests to TransUnion/Fraud Victim Assistance Department/ P.O. Box 6790/ Fullerton, CA 92834. TransUnion wants the following on the letter: name, address, Social Security Number, a copy of your driver’s license and payment. Or you can go to: https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/indexProcess.
Freezes will cost usually $10 per bureau, depending on your state. Also, if you want to take out a new line of credit, you’ll have to pay to unfreeze your report, and then again to refreeze it. Credit report freezes are free for identity theft victims. For everyone else, it’s a preventative measure, that, considering the possible monetary and time cost of untangling identity theft, could be a wise investment.
How do I correct errors on my credit report?
The three national credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – collect and maintain the information in your credit reports. They each use that information and our scoring formula to calculate your FICO score. It is important to understand that:
- The information in your credit report determines your FICO score
- Only your creditors and the credit bureaus can make the changes needed to accurately reflect your credit history
To ensure that the mistake gets corrected as quickly as possible, contact both the credit bureau and organization that provided the information to the bureau. Both these parties are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
First, tell the credit bureau in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. The credit bureau must investigate the item(s) in question – usually within 30 days – unless they consider your dispute frivolous. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should:
- Clearly identify each item in your report you dispute.
- State the facts and explain why you dispute the information.
- Request deletion or correction.
You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like this sample. SAMPLE LETTER
Your City, State, Zip Code
Name of Credit Bureau Address City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received. This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)
Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document that the credit bureau received your correspondence. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Second, write to the appropriate creditor or other information provider, explaining that you are disputing the information provided to the bureau. Again, include copies of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider again reports the same information to a bureau, it must include a notice of your dispute. Request that the provider copy you on correspondence they send to the bureau. Expect this process to take between 30 and 90 days.
In many states, you will be eligible to receive a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com. Once a dispute has been registered, in order to verify the updated information, contact the appropriate credit bureau to see if you qualify for this service.
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian National Consumer Assistance Center
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Consumer Relations
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Why did a company pull my credit report?
First, determine if you have recently applied for a mortgage online or completed an application for an apartment. Mortgage companies and landlords will often access your credit through a company who provides credit reports for mortgage or tenant purposes. Multiple inquiries from the same company can happen when you are applying for credit. Here are a few examples:
- At loan origination – In order to determine the best loan product, rates, etc. After a Rapid Rescore® – in order to show the new credit score after trade lines have been revised or corrected.
- Prior to closing the loan – Debt not reflected on the credit report that you forgot to tell us about on your loan application is a leading cause of mortgage fraud. This is done to ensure no new liabilities have been incurred since loan origination which could alter your ability to repay this loan. If any additional liabilities or an increase in existing credit is revealed during the loan application process your loan may be subject to requalification.
- Lender Preference – On occasion particular lenders require a credit report from a specific credit vendor in order to run your credit through their automated underwriting system. Although rare, it does happen and could be necessary to pull another credit report.
The possibility of additional credit reports is not limited to the above scenarios. An effort is made to access your credit as few times as possible during the loan process.
What is in my credit report?
Although each credit reporting agency formats and reports this information differently, all credit reports contain basically the same categories of information: Social Security number, date of birth, address, and employment information are used to identify you. These factors are not used in credit scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.
- Identifying Information: These are your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth. These factors are not used in credit scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.
- Trade Lines: These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on each account you have established with them. They report the type of account (bankcard, auto loan, mortgage, etc.), the date you opened the account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance and your payment history.
- Credit Inquiries: When you apply for a loan, you authorize your lender to ask for a copy of your credit report. This is how inquiries appear on your credit report. The inquiries section contains a list of everyone who accessed your credit report within the last two years. The report you see lists both “voluntary” inquiries, spurred by your own requests for credit, and “involuntary” inquires, such as when lenders order your report so as to make you a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.
- Public Record and Collection Items: Credit reporting agencies also collect public record information from state and county courts, and information on overdue debt from collection agencies. Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, suits, wage attachments, liens and judgments.
Credit Plus called me. What should I do?
If you are trying to secure a loan and we left a message requesting a callback or conference call, please contact a Credit Plus Customer Service Representative at 800.258.3488.
Can Credit Plus help me understand why I was denied credit?
Unfortunately, only your lender can provide that information to you. Therefore, to get your questions answered, you should contact your lending institution directly.
Is it possible to dispute my credit score?
Credit scores are issued by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and are calculated from data that is on your credit report, including payment history, types of credit used, types of inquiries, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and public record information. Even though you can’t dispute your credit score, you are allowed to dispute any incorrect or incomplete information that exists on your credit report. Please visit www.myfico.com for more information about credit scores.
What’s a hard credit inquiry & how does it affect your credit report?
A lender requests a credit report from a credit bureau whenever you apply for credit. This inquiry (or “credit pull”) then appears on your credit report and stays there for two years – potentially impacting your credit scores. However, some inquiries are more important than others. There are two types of credit inquiries: soft and hard.
Soft inquiries happen when a lender pulls your score without you directly applying for a loan and do not impact your credit scores. A soft pull often results in a credit card offer or pre-approval notice that a lender might send you via mail. Soft inquiries also occur when you request your own credit report. They will remain on your report for two years but won’t impact your credit scores – and can only be seen by you.
A hard inquiry appears on your report if you allow a lender to pull your credit when applying for a loan or credit account. Hard pulls will remain on your report for 24 months but when it comes to calculating your FICO® Score, hard inquiries only impact your score for one year. Multiple inquiries in a short period of time may affect your FICO® Score more significantly, but over time, the impact of each pull is reduced.
Helpful Links and Resources
Click on the following blue links to learn more.
- Obtain a free copy of your report once a year by clicking here
- Learn about FICO Scores by clicking here
- Opt-out of solicitations: The FCRA provides you with the right to "Opt Out," which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting companies from providing your credit file information to companies that offer Firm Offers of Credit
- Opt-out of Lexis Nexis: Individuals may request to opt-out of having personal information about themselves made available through certain LexisNexis products and services, in accordance with legal requirements or if permitted by LexisNexis policy. http://www.lexisnexis.com/privacy/for-consumers/
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans – whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products. At this site, you may file a complaint or simply find valuable topics such as how to get assistance with paying your mortgage.
Consumer Assistance Contact Information:
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
ATTN: Consumer Assistance
31550 Winterplace Parkway
Salisbury, MD 21804
Fair Isaac Corporation
Free Annual Credit Report