Part 2: Answers to your credit questions

Here’s the second installment of answers to your credit questions from experts at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta.

In addition, the blog item below this one is my column today about an interview I had with the president of CCCS, Suzanne Boas.

Please return tomorrow for some more answers to your questions. Thanks.

Q: My daughter was sent a letter about her Chase credit card that said that they would be upping the interest rate (she has not been late, etc.) and adding a bunch of fees. She has till mid August to cancel her card, and until October to pay it off. She was told she could NOT cancel her card between August and October! How can the company tell person when they can and cannot cancel their card?

A: I would have to see the notice to fully answer your question, but there is no rule or regulation that requires anyone to keep a credit card account open. You can cancel it anytime you want. Can your daughter pay the balance in full by October? If not, I suggest you have your daughter call Chase and negotiate better terms.

Q: I recently reviewed a copy of my credit history report from the three major reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. I noticed that two credit cards and a student loan appear multiple times because the original balance is on the report as a charge-off with the original creditor. And again the same debt is listed by a collection agency (sometimes with a higher balance). Can I request my report be corrected to reflect that the debt is owed only once; either to the original creditor if I have a payment arrangement with them or with the collection agency if not? Also, is it worth going through the time and effort to make these corrections? Will that have a favorable impact to my credit score? Thank you.

A: You should be able to make corrections and it is absolutely worth the time and effort. The original creditor balance should be zero. Follow the instructions on each report for filing a dispute and dispute everything that is incorrect starting with names, addresses, employers, etc.

Q: What can a person do if they have been paying their credit cards on time, I pay more than the minimum each month, have had the account for several years, etc. and they still lowered my credit line – HELP!!! My job is stable and I don’t have problems paying more than the minimum (I just can’t pay the full balance every month) and now they lowered it so much that if I used the card at all, it would take me over my “new” limit and they will slap me with fees. I had a $5,200 balance with a 10k credit line and they lowered my credit line to $5,400. Thanks for any advice you can provide.

A: Have you spoken with your credit card company? It never hurts to ask for what you want. At this point, I would not use the credit card until the balance is significantly reduced. You do not want a record of being over limit on any credit card.

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3 comments Add your comment

Debra

July 28th, 2009
11:28 am

Mine is two fold. First, I had a lien placed onmy credit report not by the GA. Dept. of Revenue but some snooping agency that goes out and hunts down public records and reports them to the credit bureau. This should not be allowed. If the agency isn’t reporting it then why should someone that has no business going through public records have the right? Anyway, the lien resulted in an error on my part in not recording the same amount of dependants as reported to the IRS and they wanted their money back. After my accountant corrected the error, and adjustments made I did not owe them anything. I received a letter saying paid in full when I paid nothing and the lien is still on my credit as “Paid in full” in stead of being deleted.

catlady

July 29th, 2009
11:07 am

My daughter did call before I posted my question, and was told by customer service that she could not close her account after august (I am guessing without incurring the new fees) even if she does not use the card. I still don’t know how it is possible to unilaterally decide this.

Robert E. Sullivan

August 1st, 2009
2:36 pm

I received a letter informing me of changes to my credit card agreement and new rates. I have misplaced that letter, May I have another one please? ACCT: 4026 & 4584. There is a deadline that I need to meet if I do not want the new terms.

Robert Sullivan