Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back in business

Whoops, that was not intended to be a cliffhanger and long hiatus. Once again, the culprit was travel. SF & DC were lovely.

The credit reports I pulled were surprisingly accurate. It's a bit daunting to realise just how many credit lines I've had in my not-so-very-long consumer lifetime. Each report showed more than two dozen accounts -- credit cards, retail cards (usually opened for discounts, used once, and subsequently ignored), student loans, and other assorted bits. While I only actively use two credit-card accounts and my student loan lines, I apparently still have another fistful of still-living retail accounts.

Of all the dozens of accounts listed, though, all were recognizably mine. Yay no identity theft! The only inaccuracy I could find was the address listing on my Experian report, which was for an address I lived at five years ago. Weirdly, the report had both my subsequent and current addresses listed as "past" ones. Still, I doubt I'll bother correcting that. TransUnion had my correct current address. Both reports also listed as my employer the company I left about six years ago. *Shrug.*

It was interesting to see just how many inquires there were by marketers for my file -- each report contained about five pages of them. Discover apparently pings frequently. (Inquiries initiated by you, when you apply for new credit lines, are listed and treated separately. Too many of those inquires can be a red flag, since it can indicate a hunt for lots of new credit. Inquiries by marketers don't affect you credit score and profile at all.)

The report also showed, in the marketing-inquiries section, pulls by credit card companies for account-review purposes. Providian apparently grabs my report monthly. Amex picks it up only once a year or so. I wonder if that means Providian is more likely to pull the nasty trick I've heard about of yanking up your APR for missing *any* credit-card payment, not just one to them ...