Everything About Tri-Merge Credit Reports and How They Work

Everything About Tri-Merge Credit Reports and How They Work

Financial consumers may not know it, but financial institutions often rely on “bundled” credit reports to make more fully informed decisions before lending individual money.

That process is known as a tri-merge credit report (also known as a three-in-one credit report.)

What Is a Tri-Merge Credit Report?

A tri-merge credit report simply combines three credit reports from the three largest credit reporting bureaus — Experian®, Equifax®, and Transunion® — and consolidates them into one credit report for creditors and lenders, mostly in the mortgage lending sector where more information is required to properly assess larger loans.

Creditors often rely on three-in-one credit reports because they want a thorough review of an applicant’s credit history.

That’s an outcome a lender may not get with input from just one credit reporting agency.

Recommended: How To Read A Credit Report

How Do Merged Credit Scores Work

A tri-merge credit report gives those lenders what they need – a comprehensive overview of a credit applicant using information from three credit reports, instead of one or two credit reports.

By combining all three credit scoring formulas and outcomes into a single credit report, creditors can get an expanded and more complete look at a credit applicant’s financial history (including payments and credit usage), based on the information included in the tri-merge credit report.

Why Do You Have More Than One Credit Score?

Each credit scoring company has its own set of numbers to weigh a consumer’s credit health. And different types of loans have a different scoring method.

The most commonly used credit scoring model is the FICO® Score, a base score that has a range of 300 (lowest score) to 850 (highest score). But within the FICO models, there are industry-specific ranges.

•   FICO® Auto Score Range is 250 to 900

•   FICO® Bankcard Score Range is 250 to 900

•   FICO® Mortgage Score Range is 300 to 850

VantageScore is another credit scoring model used by all three major credit reporting bureaus.

FICO Score and VantageScore base their calculations on different aspects of a person’s financial history.

•   FICO uses factors that are in a credit report, such as payment history of credit accounts, how much debt a person has, how long credit accounts have been open, how often new credit inquiries happen and how often new credit accounts are opened, and the mix of credit account types.

•   Vantage uses the same criteria as FICO, but places different levels of importance on each. Vantage also looks at additional factors that might not appear on a person’s credit report, such as rent and utility payments. Using factors such as these makes it possible for people who don’t have much of a credit history to have a credit score and be able to access consumer credit.

Lenders use fair credit scores and other information in the loan approval process.

Recommended: What is a FICO Score?

What Does A Tri-Merge Credit Report Look Like?

Tri-merge credit reports offer creditors the same look and feel as a standard consumer credit report, with a few differences.

For starters, the third-party provider creating the three-in-one credit report culls the credit reports from each of the three primary credit-reporting firms (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and pulls the most pertinent information for use in the tri-merge credit report.

In its final form, the tri-merge credit report includes the following sections.

•   The document usually includes an upfront summary that provides information on the credit applicant in capsule form.

•   The report will also include a full section on the credit applicant’s financial accounts, focusing on larger accounts like mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans.

•   The report will also include data on the applicant’s credit payments history, any open accounts, any history of late or no credit payments, any tax liens or bankruptcies, and the applicant’s credit utilization ratio (i.e., the applicant’s outstanding credit balance divided by the total amount of revolving credit the applicant has available.)

•   A tri-merge credit report may also include a specific credit report from any of the three major credit reporting agencies, based on the specific credit analysis needs of the mortgage lender who uses the three-in-one report.

Why Do Personal Loan Lenders Look at Your Tri-Merge Credit Report?

Tri-merge credit reports are more commonly used in mortgage lending than personal loan lending. But if you’re applying for a large personal loan — some lenders offer personal loans up to $100,000 — the lender may look at a tri-merge credit report to get a comprehensive picture of your creditworthiness. The tri-merge credit report will include any current or past personal loans and your payment history on those. The lender will use that information to determine approval for the loan you’re applying for.

Recommended: What Are the Common Uses for Personal Loans?

How Does a Tri-Merge Credit Report Affect Your Loan Application?

Different lenders approach the risk of lending money with different tolerance levels, just as they each have different credit score requirements. A loan applicant whose credit reports don’t include late payments and unmanageable debt loads will likely be approved for a loan with favorable terms and lower interest rates.

Alternatively, a loan applicant whose credit report shows a large amount of existing debt and a history of late or missed payments may be offered a high interest rate and less favorable terms.

Because lenders that use a tri-merge credit report to assess an applicant’s creditworthiness are looking at a comprehensive picture, it’s in the best interest of the applicant to clean up their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus before they begin applying for a loan.

Is a Tri-Merge Credit Report a Hard Inquiry?

Any official lender review of a tri-merge credit report will be a hard inquiry and will impact your credit score. In general, each hard credit inquiry can decrease a credit score by five points.

The severity of any credit score decline due to a hard pull largely depends on the applicant.

A consumer with a strong credit report may see less of a credit scoring decline than one with a weak credit report. Multiple credit report hard inquiries can be a reason why a consumer with a weak credit history may see their credit scores decline moderately.

Recommended: Soft vs Hard Credit Inquiry: What You Need to Know

Can I Order My Own Tri-Merge Credit Report?

Tri-merge credit reports are available to lenders, but not generally to individuals. A lender may be willing to share with you the tri-merge credit report they pulled in your application process. A credit counselor who offers first-time homebuyer programs may also be able to pull a tri-merge credit report for you in a credit review process, but there may be a fee for that service.

However, you can — and it’s a good idea to do this — request a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com.

You can request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Reviewing all three of your credit reports will give you much of the same information as is included in a tri-merge credit report.

The Takeaway

Tri-merge credit reports can prove highly useful to mortgage lenders looking for a comprehensive review of an applicant’s credit report.

By merging the credit report analysis of the three major credit reporting agencies, creditors and lenders are getting a fully-formed outlook they likely wouldn’t get by relying on a single credit reporting agency.
For consumers, the key takeaway on three-in-one credit reports is simple – taking a disciplined and diligent stance on their credit, reviewing their credit reports on a regular basis, and ensuring key issues like on-time payments and good credit utilization rates are in good standing.

Checking your rate for a SoFi Personal Loan won’t affect your credit score,* so if you’re curious about the rate you may qualify for, one minute of your time will give you that information with no commitment to continue the process. If you decide to apply and are approved, your unsecured personal loan with SoFi will have no fees and competitive rates.

FAQ

What is a tri-merge credit report?

A tri-merge credit report is a credit report combining information from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Is a tri-merge credit report a hard inquiry?

When a tri-merge credit report is pulled during the formal loan application process, it will be a hard inquiry on the applicant’s credit report.

Can I pull my own tri-merge credit report?

Tri-merge credit reports are available to lenders, not individuals, and they’re mainly used in the mortgage loan process. If you’re working with a credit counselor, you may be able to have a tri-merge credit report pulled during a credit review process.


Photo credit: iStock/Irina Ivanova

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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When Do Credit Card Companies Report to Credit Bureaus?

When Do Credit Card Companies Report to Credit Bureaus?

Your credit score is based on the information about your debts and payments reported by lenders to the three main credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The credit reporting bureaus typically ask to receive information once per month. So, credit card companies will usually report card payments to the credit reporting bureaus at the end of your card’s monthly billing cycle, also known as your statement date. Credit card companies typically spread statement dates throughout the month.

Here’s a closer look at how payments are reported to the credit reporting bureaus as well as how factors like on-time payments can affect your credit score.

How Credit Card Payments Are Reported to Bureaus

As mentioned above, credit card issuers typically report to credit bureaus on your regular billing cycle. Each credit card may report at different times, and they may report to some of the major credit bureaus and not others. Reporting is up to the lender’s discretion, so it is also entirely possible that they won’t make a report at all.

Credit bureaus may collect a variety of information, including:

•   Personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and employer

•   Credit account information, such as balances, payments, credit limits, credit usage, and when accounts are opened or closed

•   Credit inquiries

How Credit Scores and Reports Are Updated

The credit reporting bureaus will generally update your credit score as soon as they receive information from your credit card company. That means that your credit score could change relatively frequently as you make credit card charges, especially if you have multiple credit cards.

Also, because credit card companies only report credit activity periodically, there can be a bit of a lag in how long it takes for a payment to show on your credit card report. When you read your credit report it may not match your current account balances, instead reflecting the last information reported to the bureaus. This situation may be particularly irksome if you’ve paid off debts in hope of boosting your credit score. Fortunately, your information should be updated during the next reporting period.

However, if you notice that no changes are made after a number of months, it’s worth contacting your lender to make sure changes are reported correctly. If they can’t resolve it, you can contact the credit bureau.

Recommended: Charge Cards Advantages and Disadvantages

How Credit Card Balances Affect Credit Score

Credit reporting bureaus may collect information about your credit card balance. There is a popular misconception that carrying a credit card balance from month to month will help you improve your credit score. However, this is a myth. In fact, carrying a balance can actually hurt your score.

An unpaid balance is not necessarily seen as a bad thing. However, credit utilization — how much of your available credit you’re using — can have an impact on your score. If your balance exceeds 30% of your borrowing limit, it may have a negative impact on your score. Those who keep their credit utilization below 10% tend to have the highest credit scores.

It’s best to pay off your credit card balance each month to protect your credit score and to avoid racking up costly interest charges, which can cause your credit card debt to balloon.

How Applying to Credit Cards Affects Credit Score

Before you apply for a credit card, it’s important to know the difference between a hard and soft inquiry. When you apply, you will trigger what’s known as a hard inquiry when a lender requests to see your credit report. In contrast, a soft inquiry occurs when you check your own credit or use a credit monitoring service, for example. Hard inquiries will generally have a negative impact on your credit score, while soft inquiries will not.

Hard inquiries suggest that you are in the market for new credit. That may seem like a no-brainer. But in the eyes of other lenders, a hard inquiry suggests that you may be in some sort of financial stress that makes you a bigger risk for borrowing money. This is especially true if you have many hard inquiries in a short period of time.

Luckily, the hard inquiry stays on your credit report for only two years, and its effects fade relatively quickly.

In general, it’s wise to avoid causing many hard inquiries in a short period of time. There are some exceptions to that rule. If you’re shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, or new utility providers, multiple inquiries in a short period — typically 14 to 45 days — are usually counted as just one inquiry.

How On-Time Payments Affect Credit Score

Your payment history is one of the biggest factors that goes into calculating your credit score. As a result, making payments on time is one of the best things you can do to maintain a strong credit score or to improve your score.

Even a single late payment can have a negative impact on your score, though the missed payment likely will not show up on your credit report for 30 days. If you can make up the payment within that time period, your lender may not report it, though you may still be subject to late penalties.

It’s also important to understand that if you only make a partial payment, that will still usually be counted as late and reported as such to the credit bureaus.

To make sure that you pay bills on time, consider setting up a budget to help control your spending. You might also automate your bill pay to ensure you don’t miss any payment due dates. But if you do so, make sure that you have enough money in your account to cover your credit card balance.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

The Takeaway

The credit reporting bureaus collect all sorts of financial information from your various lenders to create your credit score. Your credit card company likely reports your card activity about once a month. Understanding what information has an impact on your score, and the impact of on-time payments and credit inquiries, can help you keep your score as high as possible and help keep credit card costs down.

Applying for a credit card through SoFi won’t affect your credit score, though an approved application may trigger a hard inquiry. For a limited time, new credit card holders† who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days*. Offer ends 6/30/22.

Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

What time of the month do creditors report to credit bureaus?

Creditors may report to the credit bureaus at any time of the month, though credit card companies will usually make their reports at the end of the billing cycle.

How often do companies report credit?

Credit card companies usually report to the credit bureaus once a month. However, they do so at their own discretion.

How long after paying off debt will your credit score improve?

Your credit score should improve after paying off a debt as soon as that debt payment is reported to the reporting bureaus, usually within 30 days. If your payment doesn’t show up on your report after a few months, contact your lender to make sure it was reported correctly.


Photo credit: iStock/iamnoonmai

†SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS PROSPECTIVELY BASED ON MARKET CONDITIONS AND BORROWER ELIGIBILITY. Your eligibility for a SoFi Credit Card Account or a subsequently offered product or service is subject to the final determination by The Bank of Missouri (“TBOM”) (“Issuer”), as issuer, pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Please allow up to 30 days from the date of submission to process your application. The card offer referenced in this communication is only available to individuals who are at least 18 years of age (or of legal age in your state of residence), and who reside in the United States.

*You will need to maintain a qualifying Direct Deposit every month with SoFi Checking and Savings in order to continue to receive this promotional cash back rate. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. A maximum of 36,000 rewards points can be earned from this limited-time offer. After the promotional period ends or once you have earned the maximum points offered by this promotion, your cash back earning rate will revert back to 2%. 36,000 rewards points are worth $360 when redeemed into SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi Money, SoFi Invest, Crypto, SoFi Personal Loan, SoFi Private Student Loan or Student Loan Refinance and are worth $180 when redeemed as a SoFi Credit Card statement credit.

Promotion Period: 4/18/2022-6/30/2022

Eligible Participants: All new members who apply and get approved for the SoFi Credit Card, open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, and set up Direct Deposit transactions (“Direct Deposit”) into their SoFi Checking and Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi Credit Card members who set up Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi members who have already enrolled in Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account prior to the promotion period, and who apply and get approved for a SoFi Credit Card during the promotion period are eligible. Existing SoFi members who already have the SoFi Credit Card and previously set up Direct Deposit through SoFi Money or SoFi Checking & Savings are not eligible for this promotion.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
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The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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What Is a FICO Score? FICO Score vs Credit Score

A credit score is one factor used in a lender’s assessment of your creditworthiness when you apply for a lending product, e.g., a loan, line of credit, or credit card. It can also be a factor in lease approval, new utilities setup, and insurance rates. You can have more than one credit score, depending on what credit scoring model a lender uses.

One type of credit scoring model is the FICO® Score, which is used in 90% of lending decisions in the U.S. Since it’s such a widely used determiner, consumers are wise to pay close attention to their own score.

What Is a FICO Score?

The FICO Score is a trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation. It was the first widely used, commercially available score of its type. FICO Scores essentially compress a person’s credit history into one algorithmically determined score.

Because FICO scores (and other credit scores like it) are based on analytics rather than human biases, the intention is to make it easier for lenders to make fair lending decisions.

What Is the FICO Score Range?

FICO’s base range is 300 to 850: The higher the score, the lower the lending risk a lender might consider you to be.

•   Exceptional: 800 to 850

•   Very Good: 740 to 799

•   Good: 670 to 739

•   Fair: 580 to 669

•   Poor: 300 to 579

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

How Is a FICO Score Calculated?

There are five main components of your base score , each having a different weight in the calculation.

•   Payment history: 35%

•   Amounts owed: 30%

•   Length of credit history: 15%

•   Credit mix: 10%

•   New credit: 10%

About two-thirds of your base FICO score depends on managing the amount of debt you have and making your monthly payments on time. Each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® — supply information for the calculation of your credit score, so it can vary slightly even if your creditworthiness doesn’t fluctuate.

The base FICO Score range may not be the range used in all credit and lending decisions. There are also industry-specific scores , such as one specifically for auto loans (FICO® Auto Scores), others for credit card applications (FICO® Bankcard Scores), and multiple FICO scores used by mortgage lenders.

Industry-specific FICO scores range from 250 to 900, compared to the 300 to 850 range for base scores.

What Is a Good FICO Score?

Strictly referencing the base FICO Score range, a “good” score is between 670 and 739 on the overall scale of 300 to 850.

But what’s considered acceptable for credit approval might vary from lender to lender. Each lender has its own requirements for credit approval, interest rates, and loan terms, and may assign its own acceptable ranges. Lenders may also use factors other than a credit score to determine these things.

Recommended: Average Personal Loan Interest Rates & What Affects Them

Why Is a FICO Score Important? What Is a FICO Score Used For?

As mentioned above, the FICO Score is used in 90% of lending decisions in the U.S. When a consumer applies for a loan or other type of credit, the lender will look at their credit report and credit score. If there are negative entries on the credit report, which may be reflected in a decreased FICO Score, the applicant may not have a chance to explain those to the lender. Especially in mortgage lending decisions, the lender may have a firm FICO Score requirement, and even one point below the acceptable number could result in a denial.

But what if you’re not applying for credit in the traditional sense? Your FICO Score is still an important number to pay attention to because it’s used in other financial decisions.

•   Renting an apartment. Landlords and leasing agents generally run a credit check during a lease application process. They may or may not look at the applicant’s actual credit score — landlords have a lot of flexibility in how they make leasing decisions — but they do tend to look at the applicant’s credit history and how much debt they have in relation to their income, factors that go into a FICO score calculation. A few late payments here and there may not affect your ability to rent an apartment, but a high debt-to-income ratio may. If you have a lot of income going toward debt payments, the landlord may be concerned that you won’t have enough income to pay your rent.

•   Insurance. One of the industry-specific FICO Scores is formulated for the insurance industry — auto insurance and property insurance. Insurers will typically look at more than just a person’s FICO Insurance Score, but it is one factor that goes in determining qualification for insurance and at what rate. The assumption is that a person who is financially responsible will also take more care when it comes to their home and car.

•   Utilities. You may not think of a utility bill as a debt, but since utilities like gas, electric, and phone are billed in arrears, they technically are a form of debt. “Billed in arrears” means that you are billed for services you have already used. Utility companies want to make sure that you will be able to pay your monthly bill, so they may run a credit check, which may or may not include looking at your FICO Score.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Rent an Apartment in 2022?

What Affects Your FICO Score?

We briefly touched on how a FICO Score is calculated, but what goes into those different categories? Let’s look at those in more detail.

Payment history (35%)

Do you tend to pay your bills on time or do you have a history of late or missed payments? Your payment history is the most important factor in the calculation of your FICO Score. Perfection isn’t necessary, but a solid track record of regular, on-time payments is important. Lenders like to be assured that a borrower will make their payments, and a past payment history tends to be a good predictor of future payment habits.

Both installment (personal loans, mortgage loans, and student loans, for example) and revolving credit such as credit cards can affect your payment history. Since it’s such an important factor, how can you make sure it’s a positive one for you?

•   Making payments on time, every time, is the best way to make sure your payment history is a positive one. Having a regular routine for paying bills is a good way to accomplish this.

•   Automating your payments may help you make at least the minimum payment on credit accounts.

•   Checking your credit report regularly for errors or discrepancies can help catch things that might have a negative effect on your FICO Score if left uncorrected. You can get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Amounts owed (30%)

The amount of debt you owe in relation to the amount of debt available to you is called your credit utilization ratio, and it’s the second most important factor in the calculation of your FICO Score. Having debt isn’t at issue in this factor, but using most of your available debt is seen as relying on credit to meet your financial obligations.

Credit utilization is based on revolving debt, not installment debt. If you’re keeping your credit card balance well below your credit limit, it’s a good indicator that you’re not overspending. If you have more than one credit card, consider the percentage of available credit you’re using on each of them. If one has a higher credit utilization than the others, it might be a good idea to use that one less often if you’re trying to increase your FICO Score.

Length of credit history (15%)

The percentage of this factor may not be as high as the previous two, but its importance to lenders should not be underestimated. As with payment history, lenders tend to look at a person’s credit history as predictive of their credit future. If there is no credit history or short credit history, a lender doesn’t have much information on which to base a lending decision.

Since the amount you owe is such an important factor in your FICO Score, you might think that paying off and closing credit accounts would have a positive effect on your score. But that might not be the best strategy.

•   Revolving accounts like credit cards can be a useful tool in your financial toolbox if used responsibly. A credit card account with a low balance and good payment history that has been part of your credit report for many years can be an indicator that you are able to maintain credit in a responsible manner.

•   Installment loans like personal loans are meant to be paid off in a certain amount of time. The account will remain on your credit report for 10 years after it’s paid off. Paying off a personal loan is certainly a positive thing, but paying off a personal loan early could cause the account to stop having that positive effect earlier than it otherwise would.

Recommended: How to Build Credit Over Time

Credit mix (10%)

Having multiple types of credit can have a positive effect on your FICO Score. Being responsible with both revolving and installment credit accounts shows lenders that you can successfully manage your debts.

•   Revolving accounts are those that are open-ended, such as a credit card. You can borrow money up to your credit limit, repay it, and borrow it again. As long as you’re conforming to the terms of the credit agreement, the account is likely to have a positive effect on your credit report and, therefore, your FICO Score.

•   Installment accounts are closed-ended. There is a certain amount of credit extended to you and you receive that money in a lump sum. It’s repaid in regular installments over a set period of time. If you need additional funds, you must take out another loan. A personal loan is one example of an installment loan.

Credit mix won’t make or break your ability to qualify for a loan, but having a good mix of different types of debt indicates to lenders that you’re likely to be a good lending risk.

New credit (10%)

Though lenders like to see that a person has been extended credit in the past, too much new credit in a short amount of time can be a red flag to lenders.

When you apply for a loan or other type of credit, the lender will typically look at your credit report. This is called a credit inquiry and can be a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry may be made by a lender to pre-qualify someone for credit or by a landlord for a lease approval, for example.

During a formal application process, a lender might make a hard inquiry into your credit report, which can affect your credit score. FICO Scores take into account hard inquiries from the last 12 months in your credit score calculation, but a hard inquiry will remain on your credit report for two years.

FICO Score vs Credit Score

These two terms — FICO Scores and credit scores — are often used interchangeably. More accurately, though, is that a FICO Score is one type of credit score, the one most often used by lenders when making their decisions. There are multiple types of credit scores, each of them using analytics to create a rating that illustrates a person’s creditworthiness.

The Takeaway

Your FICO Score is affected by how you manage your personal finances, whether that’s a personal loan, line of credit, credit card, or other type of credit product. Although it’s not the only credit score lenders use, it is the one used in the majority of lending decisions in the U.S.

A SoFi Personal Loan is one financial tool that can be used to add some variety to your credit mix. If managed responsibly with regular, on-time payments, your FICO Score could be positively affected by having an installment loan like this in the mix. With fixed, competitive rates and no fees, a personal loan from SoFi could be the right choice for your unique financial situation.

Check your rate on a SoFi Personal Loan


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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Charge Card vs Credit Card: What’s the Difference?

Charge Card vs. Credit Card: Understanding the Key Differences

Though both offer the convenience of buying something now and paying for it later, there’s definitely a difference between a charge card and a credit card when the monthly bill arrives. With a credit card, you can either pay the full amount owed or make a minimum payment and carry the balance forward. With a charge card, no matter how much you owe, you’re expected to pay the monthly bill in full.

That’s not the only thing that sets these cards apart. The two also vary in their accessibility, flexibility, spending limits, and costs. If you’re wondering if a charge card vs. a credit card is a better fit for you, read on for information that could help you understand and compare their key differences.

How Charge Cards Work

In some ways, a charge card is much like a regular credit card. When you use it to make a purchase, you’re borrowing money from the card issuer. And when you pay your bill, you’re paying the card issuer back.

But there are several things about the way charge cards work that make them very different from traditional credit cards. And because of the way they work, there are benefits and risks of charge cards to consider.

As mentioned above, a charge card holder’s obligation to pay the bill in full each month is probably the most important distinction. Because you don’t have the option of carrying forward a balance, you won’t pay any interest. But if you don’t pay the balance in full by the due date, you could be subject to a late fee and restrictions on your future card use.

Another thing that makes a charge card unique is that there’s no pre-set credit limit. This offers charge card holders some added flexibility, but it doesn’t mean you can go out and spend as much as you want any time you want — even if you’ve stayed current with your charge card payments.

A transaction still may be declined if it exceeds the amount the card issuer determines you can manage based on your spending habits, account history, credit record, and other financial factors. To avoid any confusion, card holders can contact their charge card issuer before making a major purchase to ask if the amount will be approved.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How Credit Cards Work

Because they’re more common, you may be more familiar with how credit cards work than you are with charge cards. With a traditional credit card, card holders are given a pre-set credit limit that’s based on their income, debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and other factors. Once your account application is approved and you receive a card with a unique credit card number, you can use your card as much or as little as you like — as long as you stay within that limit.

Each month when you receive your billing statement, you can decide if you want to repay the full amount you owe or make a partial payment, but you must make at least the minimum payment that’s due. And if you carry forward a balance, you can be charged interest on that amount. (Similar to your spending limit, interest rates are typically based on a card holder’s creditworthiness.)

A credit card is classified as “revolving credit” because there’s no set date for when all the money you’ve borrowed must be repaid. As long as you make at least your minimum payments on time and stay within your credit limit, the account remains open, and you can use the available credit over and over again.

Differences Between a Charge Card and Credit Card

Here’s a side-by-side look at some key differences between charge cards and credit cards:

Charge Card vs. Credit Card
Charge Cards Credit Cards
Full payment required every billing cycle Can carry a balance, but must make minimum monthly payment
Can be difficult to find and qualify for Many options available, even for those with not-so-great credit
Accepted by most U.S. vendors (but less so overseas) Widely accepted in the U.S. and worldwide
No interest charged, but can expect a high annual fee May avoid annual fee, but interest accrues on unpaid balance
Known for prestigious rewards programs Many cards offer rewards, often without an annual fee
No hard spending limit Hard pre-set spending limit

Payment Obligations

With a charge card, you’re required to pay what you owe in full when you receive your monthly billing statement. With a credit card, on the other hand, you can make a full or partial payment, but you’re only required to make a minimum monthly payment.

Even if you’re waiting for a refund that hasn’t yet shown up as a credit on your statement, you’ll be expected to pay the full amount of your charge card bill. With a credit card refund, you’ll just have to make sure you pay at least the minimum amount on your current bill.

Availability

If you’re looking for a new card, you’ll find there are far more credit cards available than true charge cards these days. Even American Express, the only major card issuer that still offers charge cards, has gone with a more hybrid approach.

American Express still offers cards that don’t have a pre-set spending limit. But those cards now come with a feature that — for a fixed fee — allows a card holder to split up eligible large purchases into monthly installments.

There also are some fuel cards, typically geared toward businesses, that are true charge cards.

Credit cards also are generally easier to qualify for than the charge cards that are available. Even if you have a poor or limited credit history, you may be able to find a secured or unsecured credit card that suits your needs.

Acceptance

Whether you shop local most of the time or hope to use your card as you travel the world, you may want to look at the acceptance rates of charge cards vs. credit cards.

Your card may not do you much good if you can’t use it where you like. American Express says its cards can now be accepted by 99% of the vendors in the U.S. that accept credit cards. If you aren’t sure your favorite local boutique or grocer will accept a particular card, you may want to ask or look for the card’s network logo in the store window.

If you plan to use your card overseas, you may want to check ahead on the acceptance rate in that country and also find out if you’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee. Charge cards tend to have a lower rate of acceptance overseas.

Costs

If you’re trying to decide between a charge card vs. a credit card, how much a credit card costs compared to a charge card — both in interest charges and fees — could be an important consideration.

Interest

You can find a full explanation of how your card issuer calculates interest in your card’s terms and conditions. But as noted above, if you carry forward a balance on your credit card, you can expect to pay interest on the outstanding amount.

According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) is currently around 16%. Your rate may be higher or lower, depending on your creditworthiness.

You may not have just one interest rate associated with your account either. Your account may have a different APR for purchases, for example, than for credit card cash advances or balance transfers. Or you might have a lower, introductory APR for the first few months after you get a new card. If, over time, you miss payments or make late payments, the card issuer also could decide to raise your APR.

Because you don’t carry a balance with a charge card, you don’t pay interest. But if you pay off your credit card balance by the due date every month, you also won’t have to worry about accruing interest on a credit card account.

Annual Fees

You won’t pay interest with a charge card, but you may end up paying a significant annual fee just to own the card. (The annual membership fee for an American Express Platinum Card, for example, is now $695.)

Some credit cards also charge annual fees, but you can find many that don’t.

Rewards and Perks

You may decide it’s worth paying a higher annual fee to enjoy the extra benefits some charge cards offer. American Express, for example, has a reputation for offering its card holders prestigious perks, including travel and retail purchase protections, early access to tickets for concerts and other entertainment events, and special offers from partner merchants.

However, plenty of credit cards also come with special benefits, such as cash-back rewards, travel rewards, retail discounts, or even cryptocurrency rewards. And many of those card issuers don’t charge an annual fee.

Both charge cards and credit card issuers also occasionally offer generous welcome or sign-up bonuses to new card holders, so that might be another benefit worth looking at when you’re searching for a new card.

Before you sign up for any card to get the perks it offers, though, it can be a good idea to step back and assess whether it’s worth paying a higher annual fee (or accruing interest on a balance you can’t pay off) to reap those rewards.

Spending Limit

With a credit card vs. a charge card, you’ll know exactly how much you can spend, because your credit card will come with a pre-set limit. You can go online or use an app to check your credit card account at any time to see how much available credit you have.

Charge cards don’t have hard spending limits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can use your card to buy a car or take a trip around the world. Your card issuer may decline a charge if you’re spending more than it thinks you can afford.

How Card Choice Can Impact Your Credit Score

When it comes to what a charge vs. credit card can do for (or to) your credit score, there are few things you should know.

Inquiries

Whether you’re applying for a charge card or credit card, you can expect the card company to run a hard inquiry on your credit. This could temporarily lower your credit score, but only by a few points.

Payments

Whether you use a charge card or a credit card, paying your monthly bill on time is critical to building and maintaining a good credit record.

Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO credit score, so consistency is key. If your payment is 30 days or more past due and your card issuer reports it to the credit bureaus, that negative news could remain on your credit report for up to seven years. And it could come back to haunt you when you try to borrow money to buy a car or house.

Utilization

Credit utilization (the percentage of your available credit that you’re currently using) makes up 30% of your FICO score, so it’s important to keep your credit card balances well under the assigned limit.

To maintain or boost your credit score, the general rule is that you should try not to exceed a 30% credit card utilization rate. If you’re using up a big chunk of the pre-set limit on your credit card, it could have a negative effect on your score.

Because charge cards don’t have a pre-set credit limit, it can be difficult to determine if a card holder is at risk of overspending — so neither FICO or VantageScore include charge card information when calculating a person’s utilization rate.

This can have both pros and cons for charge card holders. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t have to worry about negative consequences for your credit score if you spend a lot in one month using your charge card. On the flip side, though, if you have a large amount of available credit that you aren’t using, it won’t do anything to help your score.

Choosing Between Credit Cards and Charge Cards

Deciding whether to apply for a credit card vs. a charge card may come down to evaluating the benefits you’re hoping to get from the card and assessing your own spending behavior. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

•   Does the card offer unique or prestigious perks you think you’ll use?

•   If there’s a high annual fee for the card, does it fit your budget and are the card’s perks worth the cost?

•   Do you have enough money, discipline, and organization to ensure your bill is paid in full every month? Or could there be times when you’ll want to make a partial or minimum payment and carry forward a balance?

•   Is your credit score good or excellent? If not, you may have more options and a better chance of qualifying if you apply for a credit card instead of a charge card.

•   If you think you’ll pay off your card’s balance every month, would a credit card still be a better fit because of the rewards, low or no fees, and wider acceptance from vendors?

Also keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to choose. In fact, you could benefit from owning both a charge card and a credit card. You may find there are reasons to have both types of cards in your wallet.

Recommended: Charge Cards Advantages and Disadvantages

The Takeaway

The terms charge card and credit card are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. A charge card must be paid off every month, so there’s no interest to worry about —but there may be a high annual fee to pay. A credit card allows the user to make a minimum monthly payment and carry forward a balance, but the interest on that balance can add up quickly.

Each individual user must decide which is the better fit for their needs. And a card’s benefits vs. its costs may be a deciding factor. For a limited time, new credit card holders† who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days*. Offer ends 6/30/22.

Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Is a credit card easier to get than a charge card?

Because these days there are more companies issuing credit cards, it may be easier to find one that suits your needs and has qualifications you can meet — even if you have a poor or limited credit history. There are very few charge cards available anymore.

Does a charge card build credit better than a credit card?

Both a credit card and a charge card can help or hurt your credit score, depending on how you use it.

When do credit cards charge interest?

Most credit cards come with a grace period, which means the credit card issuer won’t charge you interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month. If you fail to pay the entire amount on your statement balance, however, or if you make your payment after the due date, interest charges will likely appear on your next monthly statement.


Photo credit: iStock/9dreamstudio

†SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS PROSPECTIVELY BASED ON MARKET CONDITIONS AND BORROWER ELIGIBILITY. Your eligibility for a SoFi Credit Card Account or a subsequently offered product or service is subject to the final determination by The Bank of Missouri (“TBOM”) (“Issuer”), as issuer, pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Please allow up to 30 days from the date of submission to process your application. The card offer referenced in this communication is only available to individuals who are at least 18 years of age (or of legal age in your state of residence), and who reside in the United States.

*You will need to maintain a qualifying Direct Deposit every month with SoFi Checking and Savings in order to continue to receive this promotional cash back rate. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. A maximum of 36,000 rewards points can be earned from this limited-time offer. After the promotional period ends or once you have earned the maximum points offered by this promotion, your cash back earning rate will revert back to 2%. 36,000 rewards points are worth $360 when redeemed into SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi Money, SoFi Invest, Crypto, SoFi Personal Loan, SoFi Private Student Loan or Student Loan Refinance and are worth $180 when redeemed as a SoFi Credit Card statement credit.

Promotion Period: 4/18/2022-6/30/2022

Eligible Participants: All new members who apply and get approved for the SoFi Credit Card, open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, and set up Direct Deposit transactions (“Direct Deposit”) into their SoFi Checking and Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi Credit Card members who set up Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi members who have already enrolled in Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account prior to the promotion period, and who apply and get approved for a SoFi Credit Card during the promotion period are eligible. Existing SoFi members who already have the SoFi Credit Card and previously set up Direct Deposit through SoFi Money or SoFi Checking & Savings are not eligible for this promotion.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge: All You Need to Know

How Do You Dispute a Credit Card Charge? All You Need to Know

If you’re unhappy with a recent purchase or believe an unauthorized charge occurred, you may be wondering, can I dispute a charge on my credit card? You can dispute credit card charges — even a credit card charge that you willingly paid for.

Read on for more details on instances on when you may and may not consider disputing a credit card charge, as well as instructions for how to draft a letter to do so.

Disputing Credit Card Charges

Disputing a credit card charge involves filing a claim with a credit card issuer that argues that the cardholder shouldn’t be responsible for paying for a specific purchase made with their credit card.

A cardholder can’t make a dispute if they simply don’t like the item or service they received. However, they can dispute a credit card charge if the merchant is acting maliciously, such as if they don’t deliver an item the consumer ordered or don’t properly reimburse a return. A cardholder also can dispute credit card charges when certain billing issues are made or if they believe there was a fraudulent charge.

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) gives consumers the right to dispute a charge and to request an investigation into the issue. Thanks to the FCBA, consumers are also entitled to a quick response from their credit card issuer and to have their credit score protected during the course of the dispute investigation, which is critical given how credit cards work.

Recommended: Charge Cards Advantages and Disadvantages

When To Dispute a Credit Card Charge

There are a few different times when disputing a credit card charge makes sense. Let’s examine when someone can consider a dispute.

Fraudulent Charges

You can dispute a credit card charge that was the result of theft, such as if you fell victim to a credit card skimmer, or due to unauthorized use. Before you report a fraudulent charge, make sure it was not just another authorized user on the card who made the charge or that you didn’t let someone else use your card. Also keep in mind that merchants may use another name or address for billing.

If it does appear to be a fraudulent charge after review, report it immediately. By law, you can’t be held liable for more than $50 in fraudulent charges, and many credit card issuers have a $0 liability policy. This would mean you wouldn’t have to worry about the charge at all, let alone any interest that may have accrued based on the APR on a credit card.

Billing Errors

Billing errors can also occur and are a good reason to dispute a charge on your credit card. For example, if the credit card issuer sends a bill to the wrong address, which gets in the way of the cardholder paying their bill on time, they can dispute any credit card interest or late fees that have accrued.

A credit card bill can also have numerical errors if the charges were incorrectly totaled. Any bill with the wrong date or amount included on it can also count as a billing error, such as if you pay taxes with a credit card but the total reflected in your statement is different than what you actually paid.

Bad or Unrendered Services

It’s easy to see how an error can lead to a dispute, but you may also wonder: Can I dispute a credit card charge that I willingly paid for? Even if someone agreed to pay for a purchase, it is possible to dispute a credit card charge for goods or services that were not delivered or that were unsatisfactory. This can include if someone doesn’t receive an item they purchased through a merchant that accepts credit card payments, or if they didn’t receive a refund after making a return.

Per the FCBA, to take advantage of this protection, you must first make a good faith effort to resolve the issue with the merchant. Additionally, the purchase must be for more than $50, and it must be made either within your home state or within 100 miles of your billing address.

When You Should Not Dispute a Credit Card Charge

There will be times when making a dispute isn’t doable. To save time and stress in the future, let’s look at when disputing a credit card charge may not be the right step.

If a Friend or Relative Made a Purchase

For a credit charge to be considered “unauthorized use,” the purchase must be made by someone who doesn’t have a right to use the credit card.

Unauthorized use can happen if someone steals a credit card (whether the physical card or credit card information, like the CVV number on a credit card), or if they find one that doesn’t belong to them and then uses it. On the other hand, if someone gives a friend or family member official permission to use their credit card, but they use it for a purchase the cardholder didn’t approve, this is still considered authorized use.

This is why it’s important to only authorize trusted users. If a friend or family member abuses their access to a credit card, the cardholder would need to contact their credit card company and remove them as an authorized user. In the meantime, the cardholder would remain responsible for any charges the individual made when they were an authorized user — even if they push them up to their credit card limit.

You Did Not Inform the Merchant Concerning the Issue First

If it’s a complaint regarding the quality of goods and services, you must first contact the merchant about the issue before making a dispute. Credit card companies may want to see proof that you’ve tried to work with the merchant before you turned to them, though this will vary by issuer.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge

The process for how to dispute a credit card charge depends on the credit card issuer as well as the reason for the dispute.Just like all issuers have their own process for how to apply for a credit card, they also have their own process for filing a dispute. That being said, here is the general process for each type of credit card dispute:

•   Billing error disputes: The billing error dispute process is regulated by the FCBA. To dispute a credit card charge related to a billing error, send a letter to the credit card issuer’s billing inquiries department (and make sure to keep a copy for your own records). You should use the sample letter for disputing charges provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to do this. In your letter, detail the reason for the dispute and include any supporting documentation.

•   Fraudulent charge disputes: If a dispute is related to fraudulent charges, the cardholder can contact the credit card company. The company may request proof of a police report or other documentation that proves their credit card was either lost or stolen.

•   Bad service or unrendered services disputes: When it comes to service issues, it’s best to start with the merchant. If the merchant won’t refund the purchase, the cardholder can request a credit card chargeback online, over the phone, or by mail. They should include any supporting documentation that backs up their claim and shows their attempts to work with the merchant directly first. It’s important that you do not pay for the disputed charge while the issue is still being resolved, though you’ll still want to make the credit card minimum payment to avoid late fees or other penalties.

Generally, consumers have 60 days to file a request to dispute a credit card charge. After filing a dispute with the credit card issuer, the issuer has 30 days to send a letter acknowledging the dispute, and they must settle the issue within 90 days of receiving the letter.

The Takeaway

If a consumer believes that a billing error occurred, their card was used fraudulently, or they received bad service or unrendered services, then they have a right to dispute the charge with their credit card issuer. Not all issues can be resolved with a dispute. However, it’s worth confirming what options the credit card issuer has for moving forward when you’re unhappy with a charge.

Alongside factors like a good APR for a credit card and rewards offerings, protections are important to consider when choosing a credit card. The SoFi Credit Card, for instance, offers Mastercard ID theft protection, which can help to detect potential fraud. Plus, you can get complimentary cell phone insurance coverage up to $1,000.

For a limited time, new credit card holders† who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days*. Offer ends 6/30/22.

Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

How long do you have to dispute credit card charges?

In the case of a billing error or unsatisfactory charges, you must make a dispute within 60 days of receiving your statement. There are no limits on how soon you must dispute a charge related to fraud.

What happens if you dispute a charge on your credit card?

There’s no guarantees that a dispute will work out in the cardholder’s favor. The credit card issuer must resolve the investigation surrounding the dispute within 90 days of receiving it.

Does a dispute affect credit score?

Filing a dispute doesn’t necessarily impact a credit score. However, if the dispute is surrounding an inaccurate late payment or other negative event, having the issue resolved after a dispute can help to improve the account holder’s credit score.

What happens if a credit card dispute is denied?

The credit card issuer can choose to approve or deny a dispute. If the filer disagrees with the result of their investigation, they can appeal the decision by writing to the creditor within 10 days of receiving the explanation for why the dispute was denied.

Can you dispute a charge after 90 days?

Generally, consumers only have 60 days to dispute a credit card charge after receiving their bill. The only exception to this timeline is fraud, which has an unlimited window for reporting. That being said, if someone realizes a charge is inaccurate after 60 days, it’s worth consulting their credit card issuer about their options.


Photo credit: iStock/Just_Super

†SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS PROSPECTIVELY BASED ON MARKET CONDITIONS AND BORROWER ELIGIBILITY. Your eligibility for a SoFi Credit Card Account or a subsequently offered product or service is subject to the final determination by The Bank of Missouri (“TBOM”) (“Issuer”), as issuer, pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Please allow up to 30 days from the date of submission to process your application. The card offer referenced in this communication is only available to individuals who are at least 18 years of age (or of legal age in your state of residence), and who reside in the United States.

*You will need to maintain a qualifying Direct Deposit every month with SoFi Checking and Savings in order to continue to receive this promotional cash back rate. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. A maximum of 36,000 rewards points can be earned from this limited-time offer. After the promotional period ends or once you have earned the maximum points offered by this promotion, your cash back earning rate will revert back to 2%. 36,000 rewards points are worth $360 when redeemed into SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi Money, SoFi Invest, Crypto, SoFi Personal Loan, SoFi Private Student Loan or Student Loan Refinance and are worth $180 when redeemed as a SoFi Credit Card statement credit.

Promotion Period: 4/18/2022-6/30/2022

Eligible Participants: All new members who apply and get approved for the SoFi Credit Card, open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, and set up Direct Deposit transactions (“Direct Deposit”) into their SoFi Checking and Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi Credit Card members who set up Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi members who have already enrolled in Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account prior to the promotion period, and who apply and get approved for a SoFi Credit Card during the promotion period are eligible. Existing SoFi members who already have the SoFi Credit Card and previously set up Direct Deposit through SoFi Money or SoFi Checking & Savings are not eligible for this promotion.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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