Cleaning up the Credit Report

This weekend a fit of productivity came over me and I did something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I printed out my credit report from all three bureaus, Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax and cleaned those mofos up.

I found one address and one employer on there that were incorrect so I used the Web-based dispute process to get those deleted. Then I went through and identified all the extraneous credit cards that were still on there, including a Discover card that I hadn't used since 1993. I spent yesterday afternoon calling each card company and closing about six accounts.

Opinions seem to differ about whether it's bad for your credit to have lots of cards, but that wasn't really my primary concern. For one thing, I figured a bunch of unused credit cards floating around were a definite security risk. I don't even know where my Discover card is, so it would be easy for someone to get a hold of the number and start charging away without me noticing.

And then there's my recent vow not to use credit cards. Now that I've finished my account-closing exercise, I only have two cards. One is our joint card that we use for household expenses, and one is a Visa that I have tied to my Mobil Speedpass. It gives me a rebate on gas purchases, and is there in case of a dire car emergency.

Otherwise, I'm all about the debit card. I'll admit, these past couple of months have been rough, and there have been a few overdraft charges, but my savings account has definitely been depleted less by my wanton purchasing. Fortunately, I did my taxes and got a huge refund, so I adjusted my exemptions and should have a bit more money in the paycheck.

Aren't I virtuous?


John M. said...

Yeah, it's weird the amount of stuff you can find on your credit report. But it's fun to call up those credit card companies and dump them. When they ask why, you can say "Because I'd rather keep my paycheck than give it to Visa" or some other zinger.

Sherry said...

Remember when you close out credit card accounts, you should always specify it is at customer reguest you want to close it and get a letter from them confirming that. You don't want on your credit report that they closed you out.

Another thing we always do each month is call the credit card company for balances, even if I know there isn't a balance on some of them. That way I make sure no one has been using it without my knowing.

I also like playing a silly money game using a cashback reward card to get at least 1% back for things I would normally buy anyway.

You can visit my money game blog and check out the crazy things I do to save or make a little free money for using a specific credit card. I know I'm a little crazy at times. hehe

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