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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

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Credit Questions Index

Address of Consumer Credit Bureaus

posted on:9/20/2005      revised: 9/10/2009

Q: Who are the three major credit reporting bureaus and how do I contact them?

A: The three major credit bureas are listed below with contact information and links to their Web pages.

Other Resources:

Credit score reports

posted on:8/2/2006      revised:

Q: I purchased a Fair-Isaacson credit score report before applying for a mortgage but then the bank said that my score was 40 points lower than the report I purchased from the same credit agency in the same month! Which is correct?

A: You are not alone. Consumers across the county are reporting that the credit scores reported from various agencies and sold through various Web sites do not match the scores used by lenders. The usual explanations given do not seem to explain the differences. We have no other explanation but the services being sold to the public do not appear to be worthwhile. This is especially disturbing when considering the expanded use of credit scores outside of lending - now including employment, insurance pricing and eligibility for some business contracts.

While the credit reporting agencies encourage consumers to contact them with questions and to report discrepancies, our observation is that few consumers are able to correct credit reporting problems on their own. This seems to be because this issue can be emotionally charges and few people can "detach" themselves in order to methodically stick to the credit report correction process that can take several months. OnlineAdviser offers personal help with this on request.

Other Resources:

FICA credit score varies

posted on:7/18/2005      revised:

Q: When I applied for a mortgage recently the bank my consumer credit score from Trans Union was 720. Then when I applied for auto financing in the same week, the dealer said my credit score was 595. Is one of these companies playing games with me?

A: Probably not. The credit score used by mortgage companies is calculated differently than the credit score for auto loans. It s entirely possible to have two different scores reported. If you are financially secure, you may wish to respond to this situation by using home equity financing for more of your debt to reduce overall interest expense.

Other Resources: