swagmonkey

14 Contributions 34 People Helped Top Contributor

Member Since: December 2011

About Me: Young professional musician and teacher. I don't make much money, but I'm responsible with what I have. I pay off all my credit cards every month, and I have no other debt.

Most Helpful Contribution

i can't register for credit karma, why?

Jan 12, 2012
Helpful to 8 out of 40 people

They need a lot more than just a social security number to register you.  Finance is such a sensitive business, and they wouldn't want to accidentally let someone else register as you and see all this information about you, even if somehow they got access to that number.  They probably asked you a bunch of other questions, like stuff about your mortgage.  Maybe you answered one of them wrong?  (Keep in mind, sometimes it will ask you trick questions like "which company has your mortgage" when you don't have a mortgage, which can be confusing.  "None of the above" should have been an option, though.)  Or you left something blank?

The bottom line, though, is that security here is better-safe-than-sorry.  They'd cause MUCH bigger problems by accidentally letting someone else register as you (too little security), than failing to let you register as yourself (too much security).

Activity (14 Total Contributions)

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Trends by Age

Dec 27, 2011
Helpful to 5 out of 5 people

DieuSoldat -- it gets progressively harder to gain points as your score gets higher.  Because, well, how much difference is there really between someone who has always made payments on time for 10 years, and someone who has done the same for 11, 12, 13, or even 14 years?  Certainly a whole lot less difference than between someone who has just applied for their first credit card, and someone who has paid on time for 1 year, or two, or 3.

Takeaway: if you do all the right things, your score will keep going up.  But, it probably won't go up as quickly 5 years from now as it is now, for doing the same things.

My Score dropped 52 points in less than a month.

Dec 27, 2011
Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

Several things:

First, your large purchase meant that you were using a large portion of the credit available to you.  Credit companies prefer you to use only a small portion of the credit offered to you, because it shows you're not desperate for credit.  You can responsibly handle what you have, and you aren't maxing them out.  Assuming you can pay off most or all of the cost of that bed, though, this is a very temporary problem, and your credit score should recover when you've paid off most of your balance.

Second, the hard credit pull probably made your credit drop as well.  As long as it's only one, rather than a whole lot of them (which would indicate to companies that you're desperately searching for all the credit you can get), it should drop your score dramatically.  Over time, your score will go back up.

Third, you mention that you got your first credit card just 6 months ago.  Perhaps you're very young?  Have you had some other form of credit for longer than 6 months?  One of the things credit companies consider is the length of your credit history.  For instance, if you have done everything right, credit-wise, for 20 years...companies can make a pretty good bet that you're very responsible with your money.  If you have done everything right for 6 months...well, they really don't know yet.  Maybe you've just been lucky for half a year, and they're still cautious.  Unfortunately, when you have only a very limited (positive) credit history, it doesn't take nearly as much negative information to make your score drop.

This is probably the biggest reason your score is as low as it is, and honestly I'm surprised it was ever as high as 725 with only 6 months history, no matter how perfect it was.  It sucks to have a short credit history, and probably isn't fair, but that's the way it is.  Also, keep in mind that Credit Karma gives the best free approximation of your credit score that is available, but every company has a different formulation for how they arrive at that number.  It may be that your Transunion score was never actually as high as CK estimated (even though they use the same information to arrive at the number.)  C'est la vie.

Best advice moving forward?  Just keep making those monthly payments.  Use as many types of credit as you can, but use only a small proportion of what is available on each one.  Pay off as much as you can each month.  But really, if you've only had credit for 6 months, it will take years before companies will consider you a safe bet.  It's not really a negative review -- just a cautious assessment because there's not enough information for a fully positive one.  Space out any new accounts or credit inquiries, preferably keeping it to one or two in a year when possible.

what is meant by hard inquiry..? i have 2 hard inquiries on my account

Dec 23, 2011
Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

Nandog is basically right.

However, other things that could create "hard inquiries" include a new bank account, or even a new job that pulled your record.  Basically any time you gave a company permission to look at your credit report could produce a "hard inquiry".  If companies looked at your credit WITHOUT your explicit permission (i.e. a credit-card company you did not apply with, offering you a "pre-approved" card, or someone else wanting to make an offer that you didn't request), these will produce only "soft inquiries", and they will not be included in your credit report.  CreditKarma also produces "soft inquiries", which do not appear in your report when they look into your credit for you.

A few hard inquiries are not bad for your credit -- almost everyone in the US uses credit for something, and you can't build credit without using credit.  However, if you OVERUSE it, or apply for a cluster of accounts in a short time frame, it can negatively affect your score.  It looks to companies like you're taking every line of credit you can get your hands on, which appears desperate.  One or two hard inquiries may still reduce your score a little, on a temporary basis, but this shouldn't be a long-lasting issue.

Is this site a hoax? My credit score dropped 16 points since last month when I first used the site....

Dec 23, 2011
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

No, the site isn't a hoax.  It has been around quite a while, and is recommended by very many reputable sources.  Do some research on google if you doubt it.

Credit scores are very complicated, and they rely on many factors that are difficult to figure out.  In the grand scheme of things, 16 points is not that large.  Chances are, your score will bounce back over time.  Maybe you had an extra "hard inquiry" on your account?  Maybe something happened a month or two back that took some time to be included in your report?  Any number of other minor things could have happened that affect your score by a few points today, but will be washed out in a few months.  Most meaningful, long-lasting problems you could have with your credit score would probably bring your score down MORE than 16 points, so you can rest assured that whatever has hit your score is probably insignificant.

That said, keep in mind also that CreditKarma does NOT provide your official FICO score, that companies would use in determining your credit.  There is NO free way to view this score (though it is available if you're willing to pay for it.)  Credit Karma does, however, provide by far the most accurate approximation of that score that you can find for free anywhere.

Trends by Domain

May 20, 2013
Helpful to 3 out of 4 people

BellSouth.  Does anyone still use that?  I bet it's just because they're older, on average, than users of other emails.  We already have the data broken down by age.

What should I include in "household income"?

Jan 31, 2012
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Thanks, Dawnstream.  I'm not trying to cheat the system, though I'll take advantage of technicalities in the law when they're in my favor.  "Household Income", I think, is just poorly chosen terminology -- because these people are absolutely a part of my "household" if they share in my rent and live in the same apartment, but there's no logical reason a credit company doing business with me should ever care what their income is.  I will list only my own, personal income.  Thanks!

I got new credit cards, without new hard inquiries. How does this work?

Jan 05, 2012
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Thanks, hardeight, that makes a lot of sense.  Most things get reported to all three bureaus, but an inquiry might well go to just one.  So, chances are, my credit score from one or both of the other two bureaus is just a little bit lower than the one I see on CK, because of additional hard inquiries.

How to handle co-signed and parents' credit cards as an adult?

Dec 23, 2011
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Ultimately, my own credit accounts will NEVER have the same age as this account.  Until my parents die or otherwise close the account, it will ALWAYS be about 15 years older than my own accounts.  Even if my own accounts some day reach 40 years old, this account by that time would be 55 years old by then.  Does this mean I should never take my parents' card off my account, or will I eventually reach a point where my credit history is long enough that another 15 years doesn't even matter?

Does it affect my score when a card company changes my account numbers?

Dec 23, 2011
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Thanks, Apple.  Much appreciated.

One repossession?

Dec 23, 2011
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Like Matman, I suggest pulling a copy of your credit report.  You can do this at annualcreditreport.com

My recommendation, though, is to choose only one company at a time.  Why?  Well, you can only do this once per year, per company.  If you pull all three reports at once, it will be another year until you can look at your report again (without paying them money for the privilege.)  If you look at one at a time, then you can look at a different one in a few months on a rolling basis.

Chances are, if something were repossessed in your credit history, you would know about it.  So, it's very likely (since you don't know what it is) that this is a MISTAKE in your credit report.  It might even be a mistake that's only on one of the three companies' reports.  So, if you open one report and don't see a repossession, it's probably worth checking the others, one at a time, until you do see it.  (How did you find out about the repossession?  Through Credit Karma?  If your source told you which report they used, you can skip to the same one and save the guesswork.)

If you find a mistake in your credit report, make sure you dispute it.  I hope you don't have plans to take out a loan or mortgage in the next few months.  If you do, and it's not terribly time-sensitive, I suggest delaying it.  If you have to dispute something on your credit report, you CAN get it fixed -- but it may take a few months for your reports to reflect the change accurately.  If you apply for loans and such before it's fixed, you may not get the rates you deserve.  If, on the other hand, the repossession is something you're honestly responsible for, there's not much you can do about it.  Pay your bills on time from here on in, and it will eventually recover, but it could take years.

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