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Keeping Your Credit Report in Check

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Have you ever tried to pay for things with a check and the transaction was declined even though you had money in the bank? It might be because a consumer reporting agency gave the retailer negative information about your credit history – including your checking account history – or indicated that you could be a bad credit risk for other reasons.

While consumer reporting agencies help businesses avoid losing money due to bad checks, the system is only as good as the information it provides. If the report on your credit history is inaccurate, you’ve got bigger problems than the embarrassment and inconvenience of being turned away at the checkout line.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) helps ensure the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of the information provided by consumer reporting agencies. The FCRA also holds consumer reporting agencies and the creditors that provide the information in your credit report responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report.

Today, TeleCheck Services, Inc., agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it violated the FCRA by, among other things, failing to correct mistakes in consumer reports and refusing to investigate disputes.

The recommendations TeleCheck and other consumer reporting agencies make in their reports affect your ability to do just about everything – from buying groceries at the supermarket to buying a home. So it’s important to know your rights and take steps to make sure your credit report says the right things about you.

If your check is declined at checkout, ask the merchant to give you the contact information for the reporting agency. Then ask the agency why your check was declined and, for a copy of your annual credit report, free of charge. Note that the agency will have information only on the checks you’ve written to businesses that use that particular agency’s services.

Since the FCRA also entitles you to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three national credit reporting agencies, it’s a good idea to make it a habit of checking for errors – and to dispute those errors as soon as possible.

To learn more about your credit report and credit scores, check out this video.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


What is the easiest and quickest way to fix credit reports?

What is the easiest and quickest way to fix credit reports? I send them a dispute for some creditors pending for more then 7 and 10 years but Transunion, Equifax and Experian told I have to contact my creditors and I did but they have no records about me. What to do now???

We have also been plagued by telecheck. We keep telling them they have their information wrong. We have been denied writing checks from those who use this crooked company.

bp1958 I have been plaque by them too .. and donot know wht to do ..may sue them for false report.

I encountered a problem with TeleCheck this evening. They decided that since I have a new checking account with little/no information about it, that my check was a risk to Walgreens to accept. (My debit card and bank information was hacked on Black Friday 2013, along with thousands of other people.) I called them and they told me they would not be accepting my checks because I had no history with any merchants. (I only write checks to my landlords.) I filed a complaint online and will call the FTC tomorrow.

I also have a problem with Springleaf Financial. They bought all the loans from that cooked HSBC. I have told them many times how we were cheated by HSBC and were never explained the terms nor told we could never get it paid off. We have paid $25000.00 for a $15000.00 loan and we still owe more than $15000.00. How crooked is that?

I try to get my credit report and they always have a reason why I have to pay. It is all a big scam

Mike, if I may, I have had one agency who made me pay, back in 04. I was desperate to get an apartment and I needed a copy. But never since that one time. If you are using the official form and have not received a report in a year, there should be no problem. You should file a complaint, even if it does no good. Your question caught my eye because two of the agencies keep delaying and delaying the report claiming (1) they need more verification, when none of my information has changed in over a decade, or, (2) just the other day an agency claimed my SSN doesn't match? Really? Maybe this is the type of thing that is happening to you. They are foing additional snooping so they can sell our information.

How long will it take before my bankruptcy is removed from my credit report. It has been nine years since I filed CH11 and it is still an issue when I file for any type of credit.

Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years for the date it was dismissed or discharged.

Every year when we try to get a copy of our Equifax Credit Report we can't access it on-line and need to request it with the Request Form accompanied by numerous forms of personal I.D. via the mail, which makes me even more uncomfortable. Is this how Equifax scams people into signing up for free credit report monitoring services?

I got my free credit reports from all the credit agencies and yet has incorrect information on me. They tell me that Experian gives them the information, and they can't fix it, but my Experian report does not have this negative information. They want me to buy a new credit report before they will fix it because they don't take information from websites. That's a scam!

i need my credit report thaks

Visit to get your free credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Read this article for more information.

Credit report is a good thing to know about yourself. I am associated with this business since last 10 years. Never trust free credit reports. You need to check the reliability of an agency then apply for it.

Thanks for your comment. I should have clarified.

www.annualcreditreport.con is the only source for your free credit report authorized by Federal Law. You can verify that this is the official site in this link from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as in this article from the Federal Trade Commission, both federal government agencies.

I wrote a check and Tele Check has decline it again this is the 5th time at my place of employment, they want me to use my check more often, I have had this account for 40 yrs, are they kidding, I am afraid they will screw up my credit report. What can I do , who do I report this to, they have no reason what so ever to decline my checks

can some please tell me how long my negative accounts stay on my credit file?? I have been told anuywhere from 7 years to 15 years?? what is the true and accurate time? and when the the clock tick? i was told when you make you last payment??

From FTC's article Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself:

When negative information in your report is accurate, only time can make it go away. A credit reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.

The seven-year reporting period starts from the date the event took place. There is no time limit on reporting information about criminal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.

Can anyone here cite the specific US CODE under Title 11, that specifies the length of time a bankruptcy may stay on a consumer's credit report? I've read all through it and I cannot find it. Is this a random number that the Big 3 Credit Reporting Agencies came up with, and if so by what authority? Thanks for your help on this question.

From the FTC's Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself : If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, be aware that bankruptcy laws require that you get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at, the website of the U.S. Trustee Program. That’s the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustee.

Stay away from TELECHECK, huge scam that doesn't work the way they promise. Run

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