10 Credit Questions and Answers at CreditMattersBlog.com (November 20, 2008)

As I have said before, I can see how my readers find CreditMattersBlog.com. I don’t collect any personal information, but I can see search terms that people use to find the site. This information is like the center of Lifesavers candies. Or doughnut holes. Rather than letting them fall by the wayside, I figure that I should put these search queries to good use. Here are the game rules: I will edit search queries for syntax purposes. Otherwise, I will leave them alone. I’ll also phrase queries in the form of a question whenever possible. By request, these Q&As are published whenever I have received 10 questions through Google, Yahoo, and AOL searches. Q: Macy’s credit card flex vs. revolving?A: These are actually one and the same. Macy’s credit-card employees refer to the Macy’s store account as both a ‘flex’ and ‘revolving’ account. The terms are interchangeable. If you called a Macy’s representative and used the flex language, the customer-service representative would know exactly what you’re talking about.–Q: Does lowering your credit limit help your credit score?A: It certainly won’t help your score. And for good reason. Reducing your credit limit really just means that you have less credit. It also means that if you have balances on those cards, your utilization ratio will move higher that’s bad. There is an inverse relationship when it comes to credit limits and utilization. Assuming you have a balance, your utilization ratio would go higher if your limit goes lower. If your limit is increased, your utilization ratio would go lower. That’s why it’s never smart to lower your credit limits. It may not hurt you because you don’t carry high enough balances to matter, but it certainly won’t help you, either. For more information on utilization, please read my previous story on the topic story link here. –Q: Is it legal for a retailer to ask for drivers license when using credit card?A: Legal and illegal have no role in this question. It’s a non-issue. Merchants sign an agreement with MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and American Express. The agreements stipulate that the merchants should not ask customers for identification when the card is properly signed. Does that mean merchants won’t violate the terms of their agreement? Of course not. Merchants pretty much do what they please these days — merchant agreement be damned. I wrote a story about merchant agreements and identification. Read it here link.–Q: Credit score impact after a credit card replacement?A: Two years ago I had my BMW VISA compromised. BMW closed the account and sent me a replacement card. Impact on my credit score? Nada. Nothing. No impact. It simply gets reported as lost or stolen. The card company then issues a new card with the same history that your previous card had. Thus, if your stolen card was opened in 2000, your new replacement card will show the same history on your credit report. –Q: Citibank request credit line increase link gone?A: That’s standard practice for Citibank. It does that from time to time. My credit-limit request button disappears from time to time. If you’ve recently received an increase, that could explain the disappearance. But there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for its appearance and disappearance. It comes and goes. By the way, when it does show up again, don’t expect an increase to be waiting for you. I’ve been suckered into hitting the button after it reappeared only to be greeted with the form the form that you fill out if you want an increase. No thanks. If you do fill out of the form, you’ll get a hard inquiry for your trouble. –Q: What FICO scores do I need to get various credit cards?A: Most credit cards don’t operate that way. FICO is just one aspect of your credit application. You could have a 745 FICO score but still get turned down because of too many new accounts reporting on your credit report. Or you could get turned down with a 769 score because you have too many recent inquiries. See? That’s why credit-card companies don’t grant cards by FICO alone. The sooner that consumers realize that FICO is just a part of the overall process, the better. Utilization ratios, new accounts, inquiries, income, age of credit history, these all play a part. –Q: Does being an authorized cardholder get reported to credit bureaus?A: Most card companies do report authorized user information to the credit bureaus. But I always suggest that people call to make sure. It doesn’t take but five minutes of your time. Read my story on authorized users link here.–Q: Is citibank shutting down accounts?A: Citibank is mostly just increasing interest rates on customers for now. But I am sure that some customers have recently had their accounts closed as well. In fact, I know that Citibank has been closing inactive accounts. If you haven’t used your Citibank card in a while, I would advise that you do. You don’t want to get the account closed because of inactivity.–Q: Sears MasterCard closed my account — can I reopen it?A: Maybe. You should give them a call and see why the card was closed. If it was closed because it was inactive, you’ll have a shot at getting it reopened. If, however, your card was closed for a different reason, you might have a more difficult time. Still, give Sears a call and see what it says. Good luck!–Q: Is USAA having trouble with the credit crisis?A: USAA has been very quiet during this crisis. I haven’t heard too many stories about USAA. I can tell you, though, that my search traffic the Google searches that readers use to find my stories has seen a slight pickup in USAA credit-limit decreases. There aren’t enough yet for me to think that it’s widespread. But I am keeping my eye on the situation. For now, seems as though USAA is doing pretty well. Update December 16: I understand that some USAA customers have been receiving credit-limit decreases. When you log onto your account at USAA.com, you’ll get a notice of the decrease. You’ll also see a note that says a letter is being sent to you. Just FYI.Credit Matters BlogREADER ALERT: For more credit questions and answers, the entire 10 Credit Questions & Answers index can be found here link.

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0 thoughts on “10 Credit Questions and Answers at CreditMattersBlog.com (November 20, 2008)

  1. I would be real interested to see one of there financial statements (USAA). Are they a public company?

  2. Amended this today. Just FYI that it’s my understanding that some customers are getting official notices from USAA about credit-limit decreases. If you’re subjected to one, you’ll see the notice when you log on to USAA.com. You’ll also receive a letter in the mail.

10 Credit Questions and Answers at CreditMattersBlog.com (November 20, 2008)

As I have said before, I can see how my readers find CreditMattersBlog.com. I don’t collect any personal information, but I can see search terms that people use to find the site. This information is like the center of Lifesavers candies. Or doughnut holes. Rather than letting them fall by the wayside, I figure that I should put these search queries to good use. Here are the game rules: I will edit search queries for syntax purposes. Otherwise, I will leave them alone. I’ll also phrase queries in the form of a question whenever possible. By request, these Q&As are published whenever I have received 10 questions through Google, Yahoo, and AOL searches. Q: Macy’s credit card flex vs. revolving?A: These are actually one and the same. Macy’s credit-card employees refer to the Macy’s store account as both a ‘flex’ and ‘revolving’ account. The terms are interchangeable. If you called a Macy’s representative and used the flex language, the customer-service representative would know exactly what you’re talking about.–Q: Does lowering your credit limit help your credit score?A: It certainly won’t help your score. And for good reason. Reducing your credit limit really just means that you have less credit. It also means that if you have balances on those cards, your utilization ratio will move higher that’s bad. There is an inverse relationship when it comes to credit limits and utilization. Assuming you have a balance, your utilization ratio would go higher if your limit goes lower. If your limit is increased, your utilization ratio would go lower. That’s why it’s never smart to lower your credit limits. It may not hurt you because you don’t carry high enough balances to matter, but it certainly won’t help you, either. For more information on utilization, please read my previous story on the topic story link here. –Q: Is it legal for a retailer to ask for drivers license when using credit card?A: Legal and illegal have no role in this question. It’s a non-issue. Merchants sign an agreement with MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and American Express. The agreements stipulate that the merchants should not ask customers for identification when the card is properly signed. Does that mean merchants won’t violate the terms of their agreement? Of course not. Merchants pretty much do what they please these days — merchant agreement be damned. I wrote a story about merchant agreements and identification. Read it here link.–Q: Credit score impact after a credit card replacement?A: Two years ago I had my BMW VISA compromised. BMW closed the account and sent me a replacement card. Impact on my credit score? Nada. Nothing. No impact. It simply gets reported as lost or stolen. The card company then issues a new card with the same history that your previous card had. Thus, if your stolen card was opened in 2000, your new replacement card will show the same history on your credit report. –Q: Citibank request credit line increase link gone?A: That’s standard practice for Citibank. It does that from time to time. My credit-limit request button disappears from time to time. If you’ve recently received an increase, that could explain the disappearance. But there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for its appearance and disappearance. It comes and goes. By the way, when it does show up again, don’t expect an increase to be waiting for you. I’ve been suckered into hitting the button after it reappeared only to be greeted with the form the form that you fill out if you want an increase. No thanks. If you do fill out of the form, you’ll get a hard inquiry for your trouble. –Q: What FICO scores do I need to get various credit cards?A: Most credit cards don’t operate that way. FICO is just one aspect of your credit application. You could have a 745 FICO score but still get turned down because of too many new accounts reporting on your credit report. Or you could get turned down with a 769 score because you have too many recent inquiries. See? That’s why credit-card companies don’t grant cards by FICO alone. The sooner that consumers realize that FICO is just a part of the overall process, the better. Utilization ratios, new accounts, inquiries, income, age of credit history, these all play a part. –Q: Does being an authorized cardholder get reported to credit bureaus?A: Most card companies do report authorized user information to the credit bureaus. But I always suggest that people call to make sure. It doesn’t take but five minutes of your time. Read my story on authorized users link here.–Q: Is citibank shutting down accounts?A: Citibank is mostly just increasing interest rates on customers for now. But I am sure that some customers have recently had their accounts closed as well. In fact, I know that Citibank has been closing inactive accounts. If you haven’t used your Citibank card in a while, I would advise that you do. You don’t want to get the account closed because of inactivity.–Q: Sears MasterCard closed my account — can I reopen it?A: Maybe. You should give them a call and see why the card was closed. If it was closed because it was inactive, you’ll have a shot at getting it reopened. If, however, your card was closed for a different reason, you might have a more difficult time. Still, give Sears a call and see what it says. Good luck!–Q: Is USAA having trouble with the credit crisis?A: USAA has been very quiet during this crisis. I haven’t heard too many stories about USAA. I can tell you, though, that my search traffic the Google searches that readers use to find my stories has seen a slight pickup in USAA credit-limit decreases. There aren’t enough yet for me to think that it’s widespread. But I am keeping my eye on the situation. For now, seems as though USAA is doing pretty well. Update December 16: I understand that some USAA customers have been receiving credit-limit decreases. When you log onto your account at USAA.com, you’ll get a notice of the decrease. You’ll also see a note that says a letter is being sent to you. Just FYI.Credit Matters BlogREADER ALERT: For more credit questions and answers, the entire 10 Credit Questions & Answers index can be found here link.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by . Bookmark the permalink.

0 thoughts on “10 Credit Questions and Answers at CreditMattersBlog.com (November 20, 2008)

  1. Amended this today. Just FYI that it’s my understanding that some customers are getting official notices from USAA about credit-limit decreases. If you’re subjected to one, you’ll see the notice when you log on to USAA.com. You’ll also receive a letter in the mail.

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