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This article was last updated Mar 12, 2013, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
We've all fibbed on a credit card application at some point in time. It's sort of like saying your 10 pounds less on a driver's license or twice as accomplished on a dating profile. No one is going to know, right? We can't stop you from telling these lies, even if they are considered fraudulence in the end. What we can do is look at the fibs other people tell to give you an idea of what creditors no longer trust.
Here is a look at some of the most common misrepresentations when applying for a credit card, just to show you why you may have to provide a little extra proof in the future.
What People Lie about
From an inside source, we have heard about the most common areas on a credit card application that people boost up. They include:
- Employment Title – From Supervisor to Manager
- Annual Household Income – Typically 10% greater than their real pre-tax income amount
- Income Source – Higher 401k and savings portfolio amounts which can be explained due to “market conditions
- Monthly Mortgage Payment – Don't include property taxes, even if they are escrowed
You can bet in this economy, those who need credit the most are taking even more time to convince the banks to lend to them, beyond having just a good credit score. You are far from the only one fudging the truth.
How Creditors Are Responding
The main problem with the lying process is that it makes applying for credit more difficult for the truth-tellers. Creditors are having to crack down on their fact-checking in order to ensure that information is correct. For instance, if you go to get a loan at a bank, you may have to provide multiple sources of income verification. That bank may also call up your references to confirm the information you provided. If you get caught in a lie, your application will be instantly declined. That is a risk you are taking with all of this.
If you have a high enough credit score (usually 750+), you won't have to go through much verification. Creditors assume that the only way you've gotten that high of a score is by telling the truth – or doing really well with whatever you've gotten from lying. Even as a self-employed person, I used to never have to provide proof of income for car loans because my credit score was so high. When that started to decline though, I got intensely scrutinized, whether I told the truth or not. That is the world we have formed for ourselves, and it's not going to go away any time soon.
I'm not going to tell you to correct the way you fill out credit applications. It would be naïve of me to think you'd listen. At the very least though, try to have a way to verify whatever you say so your apps don't get tossed in the trash. Lie too much, and you could screw over your chances of getting credit in the future. It's all a matter of harmonious balance.
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.