experiancing a delay
December 8, 2017 8:01 AM   Subscribe

I get email alerts from Experian which monitors the 3 credit bureaus. The last email said my Fico score went down in part because I was using a lot of my revolving credit. I'm not.

I called them. The person who (after 15 minutes on hold) answered my call was completely untrained and just kept saying "you want to dispute an item?" Finally she realized what I was saying and said, "I need to connect you to the Fico specialist." I waited and was told it would be "more than 45 minutes wait time." I'm at work. I can't do this.
I'm angry and want a short cut. I don't know if I have been subjected to ID theft or what. Advice?
posted by velveeta underground to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
“A lot” could be a little as 10%, or even less. The usual categories are less than 10% is Excellent, 10-29 is Good, 30-59% is average and over 60% is Below Average. But even at less thank 10% a small change could drop it a few points. Experian should show you the balance on your accounts and you can the look at each individually. There may be a little lag, too, if you pay off an account.
It can also drop if an account gets cancelled or lowered because it has not been used, like a Home Depot card. You do not get penalized directly, but your normal balances become a higher percentage of your total.
If you think you have no balances on any, you should verify your individual accounts.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 8:15 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Have you been spending a fair amount of money on credit cards but paying it off before you start to be charged interest? That still counts as credit utilization - I always pay my balances in full but still get a minor credit ding if I'm doing a lot of travel or major household purchases.

Did you get specific numbers for your current credit score? They could be treating a minor drop as something serious.
posted by Candleman at 8:32 AM on December 8, 2017

Can you just pull a free credit report? It will tell you your current balances, and you can compare them to your monthly statements to determine if this is a quirk (e.g., that the credit company reported your balance to the credit reporting agencies at a moment when it was higher than normal) or something more serious.
posted by salvia at 9:04 AM on December 8, 2017

Pulling your credit report would also reveal to you if any accounts were opened in your name that you didn't open.
posted by salvia at 9:05 AM on December 8, 2017

I get email alerts from Experian which monitors the 3 credit bureaus.

Sign up for Credit Karma. You'll get weekly updates on your Experian and TransUnion scores and they are a decidedly non-scamy company. They buy your credit report from the agencies and make money by advertising you credit offers they think you're likely to be accepted for, but you're under zero obligation to buy anything.

Credit Karma will show you your balances across all accounts and send you similar email alerts when things change. I really hope you're not paying anything for the Experian monitoring, they're truly a horrible company that makes an enormous amount of money for services you can get free elsewhere.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:28 AM on December 8, 2017 [6 favorites]

Experian is a shit company. They may have exposed your personal information some time in the last 12-14 months.
There are many options available, as expressed above, particularly Credit Karma. They will alert you any time your credit score changes.
posted by kuanes at 10:19 AM on December 8, 2017

Also keep in mind that the numbers provided by Short End of a Wishbone apply to both individual cards as well as your balance as a whole So you may have $50k in revolving credit, and not using any of it, but then you throw a $500 charge on a card with $1000 limit, and your score will take a hit because that one card hits 50% usage.

It also depends on how high your score is. The higher your score, the more meaningless are the reasons given why it wasn't higher. Mine are all 820+ and it's hilarious to read some of the reasons places claim it isn't higher. I have 12 credit cards, and recently one of my top 'negative factors' was that I don't have enough revolving credit. And that came directly from FICO. Really? 12 isn't enough? I used their simulator and it told me that my score would actually drop a couple points if I got another card, so it's definitely not an exact science.

If you were a victim of ID theft and someone opened up a new account in your name, Exp should have alerted you to that already. It's certainly possible that someone got hold of an existing CC# and charged a bunch on it, but you should be able to easily confirm that by logging into your card providers and verifying your current balances. And CC companies are getting increasingly adept at fraud detection these days.

Also, the amount of the drop is very relevant here. A couple points? Normal, natural variation. More than 10-20 points indicates a relatively significant change in something, and you should indeed immediately review all your accounts and their balances and get a fresh copy of your reports.
posted by SquidLips at 11:03 AM on December 9, 2017

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