Merge Credit Report
Q: Does the LandSafe Merge Report have a separate section for social security number variation?
A: Yes. This feature has been added to the ID section of the report. Plus, for your convenience, possible non-applicants are available at the lender's request.
Q: More than one social security number appears on the credit report. What should we do?
A: In general, the burden of proof is always placed on the consumer to verify their social security number. You should request a copy of the consumer's W-2s (or a recent pay stub) to verify his/her social security number against the numbers listed on the report. If you are unable to obtain proper documentation from the consumer, you should request a merge plus or RMCR from LandSafe Credit to conduct proper verifications.
Q: In some reports I've seen an asterisk next to the name of one of the reporting bureaus. What does that mean?
A: An asterisk identifies which bureau is reporting a tradeline as derogatory.
Q: Is there a Fraud Verification section on my new LandSafe Merge Report?
A: This feature is available through Experian .
Q: Name variations or additional names appear on the credit report. How do we determine whether or not they belong to the consumer?
A: The credit report (merge report) has a section entitled: AKA Information. In this section you will find various ways the consumer's credit has been accessed. For example, let's say the consumer's name is Anne M. Gonzalez. The consumer applies for credit and the lender enters the consumer's name in one of the following formats:
Ann M. Gonzales, An M. Gonsales, Anne Gonzales, Ana Gonsalez or A. M. Gonzalez.
This will generate a total of five name variations under the heading AKA Information simply because of human error. However, we know this report corresponds to the same consumer because there is no warning, different social security number or different address differentiating from what was entered. If there are no other warning signs, then it is safe to assume that the name(s) corresponds with your consumer.
Q: Sometimes credit reports do not show credit scores. Why does this happen?
A: This happens for one or more of the following reasons:
- The consumer has not had any activity on open accounts in the past 6 months.
- The consumer has insufficient credit history to calculate a score - new credit or not enough established credit.
- The parameters of the file are too large. The file contains more than 100 tradelines and inquiries combined.
- Incomplete data was entered to access a report (Example: generation code or middle initial required by credit bureau to provide file and score).
- A deceased code was reported to the credit bureaus.
- The consumer reported being a victim of fraud.
- The consumer has an additional unmerged credit file with any of the three credit bureaus.
- Incomplete residence history was entered to access a credit report (2-year minimum required).
Q: Periodically, why do we see duplicate information and wrong information on the merge reports?
A: LandSafe Credit is a credit agency. We generate a 3-file merge credit report by pulling data from the 3 credit bureaus: Experian (previously TRW), Equifax, and TransUnion. The information we display in a merge report comes directly from the bureaus. It is not verified, which is why it's referred to as raw data.
Q: Student loans may appear as duplicate listings when they are actually separate loans?
A: The account number for most student loans is the borrower's social security number. If the borrower has more than one loan, the account numbers normally will only vary by the last 2 digits.
If the consumer believes a credit report contains incorrect information, he or she must contact the bureau or bureaus to resolve the error. LandSafe does not have the capacity or the authority to resolve these discrepancies. The address and phone number to the bureaus can be found at the end of the credit report or by calling LandSafe Credit.
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Merge + and RMCR Credit Report
Q: Why are there differences or discrepancies between a Merge and a Merge Plus report?
A: LandSafe Credit generates a merge report by pulling data from the 3 credit bureaus. This information is not verified.
A Merge Plus and a RMCR are developed by LandSafe, verifying information on various tradelines. Because a processor verifies the tradelines, the information on a Merge Plus or a RMCR can be seen as more recent and more valid. Therefore, the discrepancies you perceive simply may be the difference between what the credit bureau is reporting and what a LandSafe processor has actually verified with the creditor.
Q: When should we request a Merge Plus and/or a RMCR?
A: A RMCR should be requested when a nontraditional credit report is needed or when 4 or more tradelines need to be researched. A Merge Plus report should be requested when there are 3 or fewer tradelines that need to be researched.
Q: Why do we need to send LandSafe Credit a complete 1003 along with the RMCR request?
A: In order for LandSafe Credit to issue a complete and accurate RMCR, various pieces of information listed on the 1003 are required. For example, one way LandSafe ensures that the credit report lists all of the consumer's liabilities is by checking against the liabilities section of the 1003. In addition, LandSafe Credit is required by FHLMC to attempt to verify 2 years' employment. This information on the 1003 helps ensure compliance with this FHLMC guideline.
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Consumer Credit Issues
Q: We are not getting credit scores because a creditor or a repository reported the consumer as deceased. What can we do to clarify this?
A: First, determine which creditor is reporting this status. If necessary, you can contact the credit bureau directly to assist with locating the proper creditor. In most of these cases the account in question is a joint account and the other party is the deceased party. In this case, the creditor needs to correct the activity code with the bureau. Once the correction takes place, the credit scores will become available.
Q: A warning code states, "Social Security Number Not Issued." Where do the credit bureaus get information on social security numbers and what can we do to confirm this?
A: The Social Security Administration provides lists of newly issued social security numbers to the credit bureaus every 30 days. Because this is an ongoing process, it is very safe to assume that the message received from the credit bureau is correct. If the consumer still disagrees with the message, it is the responsibility of the consumer to request a letter from the Social Security Administration proving that the number was assigned to him/her.
Q: Why does LandSafe Credit need documentation such as divorce decrees, bankruptcy papers, etc?
A: In order for LandSafe Credit to note on a credit report that a particular account was awarded to an ex-spouse, a divorce decree is required. LandSafe cannot delete tradelines based on a divorce decree. The reason for this is because typically creditors do not approve the release of liability of a party to an account based on a divorce decree. They still hold both parties financially responsible for the debt.
Bankruptcy papers are required to validate the disposition of accounts. For example, was a debt reinstated, surrendered or retained by the consumer? Bankruptcy papers will facilitate LandSafe Credit's research to answer these types of questions. In addition, many creditors do not report accounts as included in bankruptcy. This causes additional research, thus lengthening the processing time.
Please also note that with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that has not been completed, LandSafe Credit requires a current trustee report. This facilitates the updating of tradelines on the report to reflect the true balances and payments made through the trustee plan.
Q: What is a nontraditional credit report, and when should we request one?
A: A nontraditional credit report is intended to serve as a method for developing a credit history for borrowers who do not have the types of credit that would appear on a traditional credit report. These reports are not meant to enhance credit profiles of borrowers with derogatory credit. Rather, they are to build a credit profile where there is little or no credit history. The borrower is responsible for providing LandSafe Credit with four sources of credit with which to develop the report. These should be letters of credit from rental housing and utility companies. Each credit reference needs to be open for at least 12 months. If the borrower does not have four sources, then the borrower may include other acceptable sources, such as statements from insurance companies and small, local retail stores.
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Other Credit Vendors
Q: Why has LandSafe not been able to adjust credit scores to match the scores provided by the broker when it appears that the broker's score is accurate.
A: A borrower's credit score is generated by the credit bureaus, not by LandSafe Credit. As a result, LandSafe Credit does not have the capacity or the authority to change credit scores.
Q: How are business credit reports pulled?
A: LandSafe has the ability to pull business in-file reports from TRW/Experian. Normally these are pulled using the business' tax identification number or the business' name. The only time a social security number is used to pull a business credit report is when the individual is self-employed and not incorporated. Creditors normally hold the owner of the business responsible for all business debts when the company is not incorporated. These debts may not be reported under the business name.
Q: Why do different credit agencies display different credit scores?
A: There are various reasons why credit agencies may report different credit scores. A couple of these reasons are listed below:
- Scores may vary depending upon the time and date the reports were run. If a lender runs a report on July 1st and your office runs a report at a later date, the bureaus (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) may have updated their data during the time difference. (Typically data is updated every 30 days). New data may impact the borrower's FICO score, thus generating the difference you see between the two reports. We have tested our merge engine against other agencies and found that when we run the reports at the same date and time, our scores are exactly the same.
- Each additional inquiry against a social security number may lower the borrower's score. The bureaus interpret additional inquiries as the borrower shopping to incur more liability. Based on this assumption, the borrower's score may be lowered.
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