Get answers to the most frequently asked credit reporting questions.

Credit Basics FAQs

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Why do I have so many student loans?Student loans may be reported as multiple entries on a credit report based on disbursements. A disbursement may occur for each school semester attended. The numbers added before and after the account number indicate that an additional disbursement was made. These extra numbers also help differentiate between the entries.

Student loans are often sold to other lenders and can be reflected on the credit report as transferred. Because they are not considered duplicates, we will continue to report the accounts separately.

Please contact the creditor directly if you want to dispute this information or need additional information.

Why did you deny my credit card request?

TransUnion does not make the decision to grant or deny credit. We supply credit history to entities that evaluate the information when making a decision.

A denial, cancellation or decrease in credit limit may be due to several factors based on creditors' different lending policies. Only the creditor can inform you of the reason for denial, cancellation or decrease in credit limit. You may wish to contact your creditor for an explanation of the decision.

How long do accounts remain on my credit report?

The time limits listed below apply to federal law. State laws may vary.

Accounts:

In most cases, accounts that contain adverse information may remain on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of first delinquency on the account. If accounts do not contain adverse information, TransUnion normally reports the information for up to 10 years from the last activity on the account. Adverse information is defined as anything that a potential creditor may consider to be negative when making a credit-granting decision.

Bankruptcies:

Generally, bankruptcy and dismissed bankruptcy actions remain on file for up to 10 years from the date filed. A completed (discharged) or dismissed Chapter 13 remains on file for up to seven years from the date filed. A voluntarily dismissed bankruptcy remains on your file for up to seven years from the date it was filed. The actual accounts included in bankruptcy remain on file for up to seven years from the date of closing/last activity regardless of the chapter pursuant to which you filed.

Inquiries:

Under law, we are required to keep a record of inquiries for a minimum of two years if related to employment and for one year if not employment related. It is TransUnion's policy to keep a record of all inquiries for a period of two years.

Civil judgments:

Generally, civil judgments remain on file up to seven years from the date filed regardless if paid or unpaid.

Tax liens:

Unpaid tax liens remain on file indefinitely. Generally, paid tax liens remain on file for up to seven years from the date paid.

Foreclosure public record:

Generally, foreclosures, both paid and unpaid, remain on file up to seven years from the date filed.

Forcible detainer:

Generally, forcible detainers, both paid and unpaid, remain on file up to seven years from the date filed.

Garnishment and attachment:

Generally, a garnishment and attachment remain on file up to seven years from the date filed.

How do I contact the other two credit reporting companies, Experian and Equifax?

TransUnion does not share credit information with any other credit reporting company. To obtain your Experian or Equifax credit report, you must contact them directly. For your convenience we have provided their addresses and telephone numbers below.

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc

P.O. Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374

800-685-1111

www.equifax.com          Experian

P.O. Box 2002

Allen, Texas 75013

888-EXPERIAN

www.experian.com

Why doesn't the dollar amount on my public record match the balance due?

The dollar amount reported on a public record does not reflect the balance due; rather, it is the total amount owed prior to any payments. The amount reported on the public record remains the same regardless of whether payments are being made. However, if the item has been paid, it should reflect “Paid Civil Judgment” if a paid Judgment, or “Released” if a paid lien.

If I pay accounts, will they come off my credit report?

Like other credit history, paid accounts generally remain on file for seven years from the date of first delinquency if they contain any adverse information. If an account is paid and does not contain any adverse information, the account would remain on your file for 10 years from the date of last activity.

What is the FACT Act?

As part of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, every U.S. resident is eligible to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the major credit reporting companies. To learn more, please visit the FACT Act website at: www.annualcreditreport.com.

Why doesn't the account number shown on my credit report match my statement/loan document?

The account numbers shown on your credit report are reported by each creditor. For security purposes, creditors may report scrambled or truncated account numbers. Therefore, the numbers on your credit report may be different from the numbers on the actual card or account.

How long do public records remain on my credit report?

In general, civil judgments remain on your credit report for up to seven years from the date filed. Tax liens remain on file for up to seven years from the date paid. If the tax lien is not paid, it remains on the file indefinitely. Chapter 13 bankruptcies that have been dismissed or discharged remain on file for up to seven years. Voluntarily dismissed bankruptcies remain on file for up to seven years from the date filed. All other bankruptcies remain on file for up to ten years.

Why can't you delete my credit file at TransUnion?

TransUnion is a credit reporting company that operates under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your credit file is maintained as allowed by federal and state laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act does not require credit reporting companies to maintain a file on every person, or require credit reporting companies to delete files at a consumer’s request. The Act does require the companies to use reasonable procedures to assure accuracy. Creditors may access your credit report only if they have a permissible purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Why do you store Social Security Numbers on credit reports?

Your personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number, is reported to TransUnion by your creditors. TransUnion maintains a separate credit file for each individual. Without your Social Security Number, the quality and accuracy of your credit history could be compromised. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act permits TransUnion to maintain personal and credit information in our records.

What does "payment after charge off/collection" mean?

The statement, "payment after charge off/collection," means that the account was either charged off as a loss by the company with whom you had credit, or that the account was sent to a collection agency for payment. After either one of these situations happened, the full amount owed was paid to the appropriate parties which brought the account to a zero balance.

What information do you need to confirm my address?

Any two of the following documents are acceptable proof of your current mailing address:

Drivers license

State ID card

Bank or credit union statement

Cancelled check

Government-issued ID card

Signed letter from homeless shelter

Stamped post office box receipt

Utility bills (water, gas, electric or telephone)

Mail a copy of your documents along with your request to confirm/update your address to:

TransUnion LLC

Consumer Disclosure Center

P.O. Box 1000

Chester, PA 19016

When providing proof of your current mailing address, please ensure that any bank statements, utility bills, cancelled checks, and letters from a homeless shelter are not older than two months. All state issued license and identification cards must be current and unexpired. P.O. Box receipts may not exceed more than one year in age. Please note that any electronic statements printed from a website cannot be accepted as proof of address.

How do I build a good credit history?

Establishing a good credit history takes time. If you have steady income and have used the same mailing address for at least one year, you may wish to apply for credit with a local business or department store, or for a secured loan or credit card through a financial institution. Paying credit obligations on time will help you develop a good credit history and may enable you to obtain additional credit in the future.

When filling out credit applications, it is important to use complete and accurate personal information, including your formal or legal name. You may also wish to see if the company reports account information to a credit reporting company. Companies are not required to report account information, but most do.

Each creditor has different requirements for issuing credit. If you are denied credit, contact the creditor to find out why. You may be denied credit for various reasons, including not meeting the creditor's minimum income requirement or not being at your address or job for the required amount of time. You can overcome these obstacles with time.

If you have problems establishing credit, you may wish to ask a person with established credit to co-sign an application for you. This allows the creditor to base the decision on both applicants’ credit histories. Please note that a signer and co-signer are equally responsible for repayment of the debt. Payment history on this type of debt will be reflected on both parties’ credit reports. Once timely payments have been made on the account, you may wish to apply for individual credit again.

What are my rights as a consumer?

Click here to view a summary of your rights under the FCRA. In some cases, you may have additional rights under state law or due to your status as a victim of fraud. Please refer to the summary of state-specific rights and fraud victims’ rights.

What are the next steps?

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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should always seek the advice of a legal or financial professional before making legal or financial decisions.

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