Sunday, July 27, 2008

On credit reporting companies

A good credit history is one of the most important assets in the US. Upon arrival to California, several friends recommended me to get a Shell (pre-paid) or Macy's credit card to build up a credit history. Without a good credit history, getting a credit card is difficult and getting a loan is impossible. All your credit history is collected by one of three major companies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Companies can then contact these companies before granting you credit.

It's ironic that you need a loan or credit card to start building a good credit. I have always been averse to debt: first you save, then you buy. I don't buy on credit, and every credit card bill is paid in full every month. I might not be the best customer for the credit card companies, but haven't had any issue with my credit history (and I don't have a garage full of gadgets or impulsive buys).

Recently, after the outsourced HR of my wife's company reported stolen personal data, I added 90-day fraud alerts on both our credit reports. I added the first 90-day fraud alert with Equifax. The webpage stated I didn't need to contact the other two compabies. They would take care of this.

Since then, I have received letters from both TransUnion and Experian: "We were unable to complete your request ... please provide us more information". Obviously, the request from Equifax to add a 90-day fraud alert was lacking some information. I went to the Experian website and provide the missing information: it was my address, my social security number and my birthdate.

Hold on a second! Our car purchase, our home purchase, even perhaps a future student loan for my kids depends on these companies and these bozos can't even transfer a little piece of data among each other?

1 comment:

Paula said...

I know exactly what you mean. I once had a huge credit card debt and my husband was none too pleased, and rightly so. I dug myself a hole and before I knew it, I couldn't climb back out. We remortgaged our home to absorb the debt and told the bank to cancel the credit card. To our amazment an application for the same card landed in the post two weeks later. We just couldn't believe it! I rang the bank and gave them a piece of my mind and they apologized, promising to stop any further posts. I think in the last year we have had four more applications posted to us. What is the point of even trying anymore.