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I get a lot of questions from people about credit scores and credit reports since I work in the finance industry. One of the most common questions I receive is, “can I request that something not be reported on my credit report?” The answer isn’t as clear-cut as some would like. Keep in mind I’m not writing about asking for something to be removed from your credit report. Instead, I’m writing about asking for something to NOT be reported on your credit report. That means it’s not already showing up. For detailed information about your FICO score and what it’s comprised of, check this post out.
Ever apply for a credit card with the assumption you’ll get the lower APR since you have good credit, only to receive it in the mail with an APR of say 21.99%? That’s a terrible interest rate. A lot of credit card companies will incentivize people to apply for their credit card by displaying their APR rate in a range of about 11% to as high as 24%. If you have a great credit score somewhere in the high 700’s or even 800, you will likely assume you will receive the lesser interest rate.
The problem with applying for credit cards though is you don’t get to choose what you get. Kind of odd, right? Nowhere else is that commonplace. That’s like going to a store to make a purchase and being unable to see the product until you get home and open it. If you are concerned about the APR on your credit card, try applying for one with a great introductory offer like 0% interest for 18 months.
So, if you’re one of the people who opened the terms of your newly approved credit card and are unhappy with the APR or the amount you were approved for, you don’t have to keep it. Just because you don’t activate the card also doesn’t mean the account isn’t “opened.” To close the new card properly, call the customer service department and tell them you would like to request it gets closed. Also make sure you’re not going to be held responsible for any fees that may come with the card, such as the annual fee. They will likely remove the fees since you never activated the card or used it. In addition, request that the issuer doesn’t report it to any of the bureaus at all. They may refuse your request, but it’s worth a shot, and realistically, they really don’t have a valid reason to deny your request.
If they do refuse, just be sure it reflects as “closed at the consumer’s request.” You can confirm that by looking at your credit report a few months later. You may request a free copy of your credit report once a year. Also check that any statements you may receive show a balance of zero and be patient-these things take some time. In order to cover your tracks, always request for things like this to be confirmed in writing or in a document. Record keeping can be a life saver someday when you need it.
Keep in mind that your score will still take a slight dip since it was a hard inquiry to get approved for the credit card. You were searching for a line of credit which shows your interest in additional lines of credit. As a note, when an issuer pulls your report that inquiry will show on your report for two years, but only affect your FICO score for one year. If you’re looking to decline the card offer in order to get a new one, you should wait until the account displays as “closed” so your report isn’t reflected in a way that shows you’re searching for many lines of credit. You may even be able to request a different card while you’re on the phone with the issuer to decline your original card offer. Wouldn’t hurt to try.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.