Credit Peril

When my mother-in-law died, we went through all of her accounts and paid off anything she owed.

The Discover card she’d carried since the 80s–a card that had my wife listed as an authorized user–had a balance of about $700.  We paid that off with the money in her savings account.  They cashed out the accumulated points as gift cards and closed the account.

A few months ago, we decided it was time to buy an SUV, to fit our family’s needs.   We financed it, to give us a chance to take advantage of a killer deal while waiting for the state to process the title transfer on an inherited car we have since sold.

Getting good terms was never a worry.  Both of us had scores bordering on 800.   Since our plan was to pay off the entire loan within a few months, we asked for whatever term came with the lowest interest rate.

Then the credit department came back and said that my wife’s credit was poor.  I chalked it up to a temporary blip caused by closing the oldest account on her credit report and financed without her.  No big deal.

Since we decided to rent our my mother-in-law’s house, we’ve discussed picking up more rental properties.   That’s a post for another time, but last week, we went to get pre-approved for a mortgage.    During the process, the mortgage officer asked me if my wife had any outstanding debt that could be ignored if we financed without her.

Weird.

A few days ago, we got the credit check letter from the bank.   Her credit score?  668.

What the heck?

I immediately pulled her free annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com, which is something I usually do 2-3 times per year, but had neglected for 2012.

There are currently two negatives on her report.

One is a 30 day late payment on a store card in 2007.   That’s not a 120 point hit.

The other is an $8 charge-off to Discover.  As an authorized user.  On an account that was paid.

Crap.

We called Discover to get them to correct the reporting and got told they don’t have it listed as a charge-off.   They did agree to send a letter to us saying that, but said they couldn’t fix anything with the credit bureaus.

Once we get that letter, it’s dispute time.

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