Understanding Statement Credits_780x440

Understanding Statement Credits

Credit cards are one of the most accessible credit-building tools in your arsenal, but rewards are also part of the appeal. A statement credit is one way to redeem rewards you’ve earned.

If you look through your statement balance and find that money was put back into your account, that’s a statement credit.

Knowing how you earned that money can help you take advantage of your credit card’s rewards system in the future.

What Is a Statement Credit?

Credit card companies use a statement credit to issue a credit to your accounts, such as cash back or other rewards you have earned. Essentially, you receive money from your card issuer for a specific reason.

Finding documentation of your statement credit varies among credit card companies. Generally, though, you will see it on your monthly statement under transactions or account activity.

If you check your statements online, you’ll probably see the credit appear in green text.

Regardless of the format, a statement credit has a minus sign in front of the cash amount, thus decreasing your revolving balance.

How to Receive Statement Credits

There are a few ways a statement credit might apply to your account. A common reason is through a return.

If you have ever returned an item you bought using your credit card, the retailer will probably refund the money borrowed from your card issuer. You’ll receive a statement credit that matches the price of the returned item.

Other than returns, ways you may receive a statement credit include:

•   Shopping benefits. Some card providers offer discounts or statement credits for shopping with specific merchants.

•   Travel credits. Card providers may offer annual statement credits to pay for eligible travel expenses like a luggage fee or plane tickets.

•   Rewards. Card providers that offer cash back, points, or miles may let you redeem them in the form of a statement credit.

Statement Credits vs. Cash Back

Your credit card company gives you options when you sign up for a rewards credit card. One choice may be cash back or statement credits.

Cash back sounds simple enough, but it doesn’t always mean you’ll get direct money. Instead, your issuer may offer a cash reward in the form of a credit put on your account. Occasionally, they may send you a physical check or deposit the money in your checking account.

You earn cash back as a reward for using the credit card. It is a percentage of the money spent on purchases using the card.

In comparison, a statement credit reduces your credit card balance. Carrying a high balance between periods could lead to a high credit utilization ratio, which shows the amount of available credit a person has. That can result in a lower credit score over time.

Are Statement Credits Taxable?

The type of credit or reward you receive determines whether it’s taxable. If the credit card holder spent money to earn the reward, they usually don’t have to pay taxes on it. If they receive the credit without any spending, the reward may be taxable.

For example, an individual receives money back on her account after returning a chair she purchased online. That credited amount would not be taxable.

Cashback earners who engage in programs for points, like travel rewards, also generally avoid taxation.

The primary instance where cardholders face a taxable reward is with sign-up bonuses.

If they did not have to purchase anything to earn the bonus, it’s probably taxable. The taxation may apply regardless of how the credit card company issues the bonus, whether it’s in cash or airline miles.

Using Your Rewards Wisely

Credit cards come with responsibilities, but they have their perks.

Consider using statement credits put on your account to lessen your balance. Or look into the various rewards your card issuer offers.

You may even be among the 23% of Americans who didn’t redeem any of your stockpiled rewards in 2022. So you might be missing out on rewards that you could use for some of your favorite services.

When shopping for a new card, you may want to look closely at the points, cash back, or miles involved. How are the rewards offered, how are they redeemed, is it better for you to get a card with consistent points across all purchases or increased rewards in certain areas?

Think through which rewards best fit your lifestyle and interests. If you want to see the world, you may want to get a card that optimizes travel benefits. If you’re an investor or someone interested in student loan refinancing, at least one card is geared toward those preferences.

The Takeaway

What is a statement credit? It’s a reduction in a credit card balance. Many credit cards offer statement credits as one way to redeem travel, cashback, or other rewards.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.



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, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

SOCC0623001

Read more
credit card transaction

Breaking Down the Different Types of Credit Cards

With so many credit card options out there, it may be hard to choose a new one.

Are you loyal to a particular airline or hotel chain? Perhaps you want to redeem credit card points as statement credits. Or you’re a big grocery or gasoline spender. Savvy consumers may be interested in innovative uses like paying down loan debt or investing. Is the interest rate important, an annual fee a dealbreaker?

If you can responsibly manage more than one credit card — and if you’re like most Americans, you have more than one — you can use different cards to optimize rewards (cash back, points, or miles), annual statement credits, and 0% and low introductory APR offers.

When deciding on a new credit card that is best for you, it boils down to two basic questions: What do you want from a card? And how strong is your financial history?

Here’s a glance at the credit card options available and provisos to consider.

Recommended: What Is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Rewards Credit Cards

If you are good about paying off your card every month and never incur interest, you might consider a rewards card. These cards may offer sign-up bonuses and give consumers rewards in the form of miles, cash back, or loyalty points.

There are variations on a theme, such as:

•  Bonus offer + 0% period for purchases

•  A set dollar amount in travel or bonus miles if you meet the initial spending requirements

•  Flat-rate cash back

•  Customizable rewards

A few cards offer an eye-opening 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to a limit (such as 5% back on $1,500 spent quarterly, after which all other purchases earn 1% cash back), and you’ll usually have to manually activate the offer each quarter.

But you can often lessen the work involved and earn more in total cashback rewards with a flat-rate cashback credit card, when all purchases earn the same amount.

Frequent travelers lured by premium travel rewards cards will want to weigh the perks against an annual fee of $450 to $550.

New reward offerings have bubbled up, such as allowing cardholders to put cash back toward loan payments, and are brewing, like increasing card acceptance for rent payments and offering cryptocurrency-related rewards.

When choosing a rewards card, think about your spending habits and redemption preferences, be aware of your credit score (these cards usually require a good score), and pay off your balance each month — rewards cards typically have higher APRs than balance transfer cards.

If you fall behind on payments or carry over balances, all the perks and rewards are unlikely to be worth it.

Recommended: What Is a Charge Card?

Cards for Those With Limited or Damaged Credit

For college students with little or no credit history, there are student credit cards.

If you don’t have great credit, there are also secured credit cards. Generally, they require a deposit from the user. A secured credit card functions like a normal credit card except that it has a backstop: The user puts up an amount of money that the issuer will then use if the cardholder defaults.

The lender offers a certain amount of credit based on the promise that the user will pay off the balance in full every month.

If your account is upgraded to an unsecured account, thanks to good habits, or is closed in good standing, your deposit is returned.

Both of these options can help someone build credit and could lead to a card with more perks if the holder is diligent about paying off the balance every month.

Then there’s at least one brand of card that considers an applicant’s banking history in lieu of their credit score, has no annual fee, and comes with rewards.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Prepaid Debit Cards

A secured credit card is primarily intended for building credit, whereas a prepaid debit card is good for budgeting and convenience but does not affect your credit.

A prepaid debit card is preloaded with your own money, typically through direct deposit, cash or check deposits, or online transfers from a checking account.

The card is used for transactions until the money runs out. Since there is no line of credit, you cannot run up debt on the card.

This is a great option for a young person who needs to learn how money works or for adults with a bad credit history, though it will not improve their credit scores.

Credit Cards That Save You Money on Interest

If you’re prone to carry a balance month to month, you might want to consider a low-interest card. While these types of credit cards don’t come with bells and whistles like airport lounge access, it is the financially prudent option if you have an irregular income or you carry a balance each month.

It might be best to look for a card that offers an initial APR of 0% and then an ongoing low interest rate.

Keep in mind that low-interest credit cards usually require a good credit score to qualify. Generally, the better your credit score, the lower your interest rate. The lowest advertised APR isn’t always what an applicant gets.

Recommended: Does Applying for a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

If you are in credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card could help you pay off your debt at a lower interest rate.

Interest rates and terms vary widely with balance transfer credit cards. A balance transfer card will often come with a 0% APR introductory period, but once that ends, the interest rate shoots up.

It’s important to pay attention to the fine print if this is an option you’re considering.

The Takeaway

Choosing the most rewarding and suitable new credit card can become a research project. It’s best to think about your spending habits, needs, credit history, APR, any annual fee, and perks.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.



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.

SOCC0623007

Read more

Prepaid vs Secured Credit Cards: Similarities and Differences

If your credit isn’t stellar, you may find it challenging to get approved for a traditional unsecured credit card. One option can be a prepaid or secured credit card, which can be more easily available than an unsecured credit card. However, these cards come with a few key differences. Understanding how a prepaid card and a secured card vary can help you choose the right one for your specific situation.

When you apply for a secured credit card, you will put down a refundable security deposit. This serves as your initial credit limit, and you can borrow against that initial deposit. Your borrowing history on a secured credit card is typically reported to the major credit bureaus and will impact your credit score.

On the other hand, a prepaid card serves more like a debit card without being attached to your bank account. You load it with a given amount of money and can use it to pay for purchases without affecting your credit.

Learn more about the similarities and differences, including:

•   What is a prepaid credit card and how does it work?

•   What is a secured credit card and how does it work?

•   How are secured vs. prepaid credit cards the same?

•   How are prepaid vs. secured credit cards different?

•   How do prepaid credit cards vs. secured credit cards impact your credit?

What Is a Prepaid Credit Card?

A simple way to think about what prepaid credit cards are is that they are just debit cards that aren’t tied to your bank account. Worth noting: These aren’t truly credit cards because you aren’t being extended credit; no one is lending you funds. For this reason, you may hear them referred to as just “prepaid cards” (which is what you’ll see as you keep reading).

You purchase a prepaid card (often with an activation fee) and can then use the card to make purchases. Because prepaid cards are not considered a loan, their use is not reported to the major credit bureaus. This means that they do not have a positive or negative impact on your credit score or credit history.

How Prepaid Cards Work

When you buy a prepaid card, it comes loaded with a specific amount of money on it. Generally prepaid cards are issued by some of the major credit card processing networks (e.g. Visa or Mastercard). Once you have purchased the prepaid card, you can then use it anywhere that network is accepted. Some prepaid cards only have a certain amount loaded onto them that is fixed at purchase, and others allow you to reload the card at your convenience.

Pros and Cons of Prepaid Cards

One positive thing about using a prepaid card is that it can make purchases much more convenient. It can also be more secure than carrying cash for all of your purchases.

However, a potential downside to using them is that, if you are wondering, “Do prepaid cards help build credit,” the answer is a hard no. So if you are looking for an option that can help improve your credit score, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

What Is a Secured Credit Card

If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional unsecured credit card, you will also probably want to understand what secured credit cards are. A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires you to apply (which likely involves a credit check). If approved, you put down an upfront security deposit to the lender. This upfront deposit will serve as your initial credit limit, and it determines the amount of money you can spend on your card.

How Secured Credit Cards Work

With an unsecured credit card, you will put down an initial deposit. Some secured credit cards have a specific amount that you must put down, and other secured cards may allow you to put down more of a deposit. As you spend money on your secured credit card, your available credit decreases. However, you can likely increase your credit line by making payments or additional deposits.

Pros and Cons of Secured Credit Cards

One of the biggest pros of a secured credit card can be that your usage is reported to the major credit bureaus. In other words, if you use it responsibly, the card can help build your credit.

Many banks that issue secured credit cards also provide a pathway to automatically increase your credit line and help you transition from a secured to a unsecured credit card. One thing to watch out for is that some secured credit cards come with high interest rates and/or fees, so it can be worthwhile to pay your balance in full each month, whenever possible.

Recommended: Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Card: What’s the Difference?

Secured vs Prepaid Cards

Here is a quick look at how prepaid cards compare to secured credit cards in a few key areas:

Secured Credit Cards Prepaid Cards
Secure and convenient payment method Yes Yes
Reports to major credit bureaus Yes No
Affects your credit score Yes No
May be easier to be approved as compared to a traditional credit card Yes No approval necessary

Is One Better for Establishing Credit?

If you’re looking to establish your credit, a secured credit card is definitely your better option. Prepaid cards are not considered loans so they are not reported to the major credit bureaus. This means that using a prepaid card will not have any impact on building your credit. Using a secured credit card responsibly can help you build credit, but it can take a while to build credit with a secured credit card.

Is a Secured or PrepaidCard Right for You?

Deciding whether a secured or prepaid card is right for you depends on what your overall goals are. If you’re just looking for a convenient and secure way to make purchases without impacting your credit, a prepaid card can be a great choice.

But if you’re looking to build or establish your credit, you might consider a secured credit card. Of the two, a secured card is the only one where your usage and payment history is reported to the major credit bureaus.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

The Takeaway

Prepaid cards and secured credit cards are both options that allow people with limited or poor credit histories to make secure and convenient payments. Both options allow you to easily pay for purchases wherever their issuer (e.g. Mastercard or Visa) is accepted. But usage of prepaid cards is not reported to the major credit bureaus, so it won’t have an impact on your credit score. If you’re looking to build your credit, you will be better off with a secured card.

Once you have established a solid credit history, you might consider a credit card that lets you earn cashback rewards with every eligible purchase. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you might apply for a credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. With the SoFi Credit Card, you can earn cash-back rewards, which you can then use for travel or to invest, save, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

The SoFi Credit Card: So simple, so rich in perks.

FAQ

Are prepaid cards more secure?

Prepaid cards are typically issued by one of the major card issuers, like Mastercard or Visa. Each of these issuers is known for payment security. One thing to watch out for with a prepaid card is that it works just like cash — if you lose your card, you’re likely to lose all of the money that is stored on your card.

What is one disadvantage of a prepaid card?

One disadvantage of a prepaid card is that your usage is not reported to the major credit bureaus. This means that using a prepaid card will not appear on your credit report and will not have any impact on your credit score. If you’re looking to build your credit, however, you’re better off getting either a traditional credit card or a secured credit card.

What are the downsides of getting a secured credit card?

A secured credit card can be a good option if you’re looking to build your credit and are having trouble getting approved for a traditional unsecured credit card. One downside of a secured credit card to keep in mind is that you will have to put down a security deposit upon being approved. Many secured credit cards also come with higher-than-average interest rates and fees, so make sure you watch out for that as well.


Photo credit: iStock/Elena Uve


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, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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 .

SOCC0323005

Read more

Top 10 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Boston

If you’re a fan of the show Cheers, the Boston Red Sox, or even baked beans, a Boston vacation gives you the chance to go right to the source. But after having a beer at the bar and attending a baseball game, there are still plenty of things to do in Boston, aka Beantown.

Boston is a highly-walkable city, and each neighborhood has its own personality, like the “secret garden” vibe with row houses in Bay Village, or Charlestown, with its Irish roots. Plus, there are wonderful historical sites, museums, and gardens to explore, as well as great food of all kinds.

Here, you’ll learn about some of the top not-to-be-missed attractions, as well as ways to make sure your trip is as enjoyable and affordable as possible.

Best Times to Go to Boston

If you’re planning your Boston trip, you’re probably wondering when to go. June until October offers great weather, though summer travel can be more crowded. Aim for late September or October to catch the fall leaves and cooler weather.

If you want to plan your Boston vacation around major events, here are a few to consider:

•   January/February: Chinese New Year

•   March: Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

•   April: Boston Marathon

•   June: Dragon Boat Festival

•   August: Saint Anthony’s Feast

•   September: Oktoberfest

•   December: First Night.

If you are planning on traveling during in-demand and potentially pricier times, consider using credit card miles vs. cash back that you may have earned on your rewards card.

Bad Times to Go to Boston

Depending on how much you plan to be outside on your Boston vacation, you might avoid visiting in the winter months, when you may have to battle cold weather and snow. (And if you’re traveling with pets to this incredibly pet-friendly city, those icy months may not be a good time for your four-legged friend either.).

Average Cost of a Boston Vacation

As you build your budget for your Boston trip, it can help to know how much you’ll spend on airfare, hotel, food, and renting a car (though public transportation can get you around town well).

For a couple, the average price for one week in Boston is $4,255. Hotels can cost $131 to $484 a night, and vacation rentals run $280 to $610 per night.

Even if you don’t have four grand lying around right now, there are options for book now pay later travel that allow you to pay for your travels over time.

And remember: using a credit card that lets you earn points when you book travel gives you credit card rewards you can redeem for other travel expenses.

10 Fun Must-Dos in Boston

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to fun things to do in Boston. No matter if you’re a sports fan, a foodie, a shopaholic, or history lover, there’s something for everyone. Here are the best things to do in Boston, based on top ratings online as well as recommendations from people who’ve been there and done that in Boston..

1. Catch a game at Fenway Park

If you’re a Red Sox fan, this is already on your list of must-dos. Fenway Park has been hosting baseball lovers since 1912. You can catch a game in-season (don’t forget to cover the price of tickets when growing your travel fund), or take a ballpark tour to learn about the unique history of this landmark. mlb.com/redsox/ballpark

2. Follow the Freedom Trail

This 2.5-mile stretch tells the story of early America, with museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers to explore. You can walk the trail yourself or take a guided tour. thefreedomtrail.org/

Recommended: How Does Credit Card Travel Insurance Work?

3. Stroll Through the Boston Common and the Public Garden

Enjoy a beautiful day by strolling through these two Boston icons. The Boston Common was created in 1634, and was America’s first public park. The Public Garden was the first botanical garden in the country, founded in 1839. Choose your spot for a picnic and people-watching (a great free thing to do in Boston), or take a swan boat on the pond.
boston.gov/parks/public-garden

4. Get Educated About Harvard University

You don’t have to go to Harvard to go to Harvard! You can take a tour while you’re on your Boston vacation of this nearly 400-year-old institute of higher learning. There are several different tours, including those on the history of the university, a tour of the campus’ art galleries, a tour of Arnold Arboretum, and more. harvard.edu/visit/tours/

5. Tour the Boston Opera House

For a beautiful slice of Boston history, as well as the chance to watch a theatrical production, plan to visit the Boston Opera House. Additionally, you can take a tour of this nearly 100-year-old landmark and discover the intricate details of the opulent architecture, but you also can go behind the scenes of a modern production. bostonoperahouse.com/

6. Dine out in the North End (Little Italy)

If a trip to Italy isn’t in your near future, you can pretend you’re there in Boston’s North End neighborhood. Italian immigrants arrived in this quarter in the 1860s, and since then, Italian restaurants and businesses have sprung up, bringing European vibes to the city.

Save room for a cappuccino and something sweet, or plan to have lunch or dinner to enjoy authentic pizza or pasta at one of the many Italian eateries. (If you swipe a travel credit card as you dine, you can rack up more points to use on when on a trip.) meetboston.com/plan/boston-neighborhoods/north-end/

7. Have a Pint at a Boston Brewery

While the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery (samadamsbostonbrewery.com/) is the most well-known brewery in the city (and worth a visit), it’s far from the only one. Plan your day to include beer hotspots like Aeronaut Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewery, and Cambridge Brewing Company.

8. Visit the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

It’s hard to get far in Boston without running into a little history. The Boston Tea Party is an interactive experience that puts you in the middle of one of the most famous events in American history. It can be a fun thing to do in Boston with kids.

And after exploring the museum you can, of course, enjoy a cup of tea to commemorate the occasion! Tickets typically start at $25 for kids, $36 for adults. Looking online for coupons can be a way that families can afford to travel.
bostonteapartyship.com/

9. Enjoy the Art and Ambience at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Called a “millionaire Bohemienne,” Isabella Stewart Gardner made a name for herself in Boston’s elite and intellectual circles, and she opened an art museum at the turn of the 20th century. Heavily influenced by her travels to Venice, the museum now houses Isabella’s private collection, as well as modern additions. The museum is typically open daily except Wednesdays, and adult admission is usually $20. Also, there is a $10 million reward if you have any information about 13 works of art that were stolen 30 years ago! gardnermuseum.org/

10. Sign up for a Secret Food Tour

Want to know where the locals eat in Boston? Take a Secret Food Tour to find out. Accompanied by a Boston guide, you’ll discover hidden gems that are off the tourist path. You’ll get to try clam chowder, lobster rolls, and cannoli, among other delicacies. After all, let’s be honest: one of the top things to do in Boston is eat! The price of the tours will vary, but a three-plus hour eat-a-thon might cost $89 per person. secretfoodtours.com/boston/

The Takeaway

Boston is a vibrant city that was fundamental in the building of America. With history around every corner (not to mention something tasty to eat), you’ll find plenty to love about this city.

Whether you want to travel more or get a better ROI for your travel dollar, SoFi can help. SoFi Travel is a new service exclusively for SoFi members that lets you budget, plan, and book your next trip in a convenient one-stop shop. SoFi takes the guessing game out of how much you can afford for that honeymoon, family vacation, or quick getaway — and we help you save too.


SoFi Travel can take you farther.

FAQ

What should I eat in Boston?

Boston is known for several unique dishes, including baked beans, lobster rolls, Boston cream pie, and clam chowder.

What historical things should I see in Boston?

Founded in 1630, Boston has been the home to major historical events like the Boston Tea Party, which has its own interactive experience and museum. Also not to miss are the Freedom Trail, Paul Revere House, Harvard University, and Boston Public Library.

How many days should I spend in Boston?

Depending on how many sights you want to see on your Boston vacation, three to five days is the ideal amount of time.


Photo credit: iStock/Sean Pavone




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, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SOCC0223015

Read more
laptop with person with credit card

Common Credit Report Errors and How to Dispute Them

Your credit report is an important document: It contains an in-depth record of how you’ve used credit in the past, and it can have a big impact on your life.

For example, when you apply for a loan, lenders usually check your credit report. That information contributes to their decision whether to lend to you, as well as what interest rate to charge.

You might also have your credit checked by potential employers or when you are applying to get a mobile phone, rent a home, or perhaps connect some utilities.

Since credit reports can be so critical to many aspects of your life, it’s quite important that they be accurate.
Unfortunately, these reports can have more errors than you may realize. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one in five people have an error on at least one of their credit reports. Even minor issues could impact your score and have a ripple effect on your financial life.

So, with that in mind, read on to learn how you can check your report and work to correct any errors you might find.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Getting a Credit Report

Like going in for a check-up once a year can benefit your physical health, regular credit report check-ups can benefit your financial health.

Everyone is entitled to see their credit reports for free once a year at the government-mandated
AnnualCreditReport.com site.

It’s a good idea to take full advantage of this service, and to look over your reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus annually.

Checking your credit report regularly can also make it easier to notice when the numbers look off or if something’s amiss. This could help you catch fraudulent activity.

Recommended: What’s the Difference Between a Soft and Hard Credit Check?

Scanning a Credit Report

The best way to find an error in a credit report is to read through it thoroughly.

The CFPB recommends making sure that the following information is accurate:

•   Name

•   Social Security number

•   Current address

•   Current phone number

•   Previous addresses

•   Employment history (names, dates, locations)

•   Current bank accounts open

•   Bank account balances

•   Joint accounts

•   Accounts closed.

If any of the above is incorrect, the report has an error that you may want to dispute.

Common Credit Report Errors

While there are any number of errors that could crop up on a credit report, some are more likely than others. According to the CFPB, these are among the most common:

•  Typos or wrong information. In the personal information section, names could be misspelled, or addresses could just be plain wrong.

•  A similar name is assigned to your report. Instead of a typo, the credit report might be pulling in accounts and information of a person with a similar name to yours.

•  Wrong accounts. If an account is in your name but unfamiliar to you, this could be proof of identity theft.

•  Closed accounts are still open. You may have closed a savings account or credit card recently, but the report shows it as still open.

•  Being labeled “owner” instead of a user on a joint account. If you’re simply an authorized user on a joint account or credit card, your credit report should reflect that.

•  False late payment. A credit report might show a late or delinquent payment when the account was paid on time.

•  Duplicate debts or accounts. Listing an account twice could make it look like more debt is owed, resulting in an incorrect credit report.

•  Incorrect balances. Account balances might show incorrect amounts.

•  Wrong credit limits. Misreported limits on credit card accounts can impact a credit score, even if they’re only off by a few hundred dollars.

How to Report an Error

Errors on credit reports don’t typically fix themselves. Account owners often have to be the ones to bring the error to the credit bureau’s attention.

Here are steps to take if you find an error in one of your reports.

1. Confirming the error is present on other credit reports.
Credit scores may vary across credit reporting bureaus, but all the core information should be the same. That means if there’s an error on one, it’s best to check that it’s on the other two. You can order free reports from all three bureaus–Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion–from the free Annual Report Site , and check each report against the others.

2. Gathering evidence.
To prove an element of the credit report is wrong, there needs to be evidence to the contrary. That means you’ll want to collect supporting documentation that shows the report has an error, whether that’s a recent bank statement, ID, or a loan document. Having this documentation on hand can make the process move faster.

3. Reporting the error to the credit reporting company.
To resolve the error, you’ll want to file a formal dispute with the credit reporting company. You can contact them by mail, phone, or online. The CFPB offers more details on how to file a dispute.

It’s important to make sure to include all documentation of the error, in addition to proper identification.

Here’s how to contact each credit reporting company:

Equifax

Online: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute/

Mail:

Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348

Phone: (866) 349-5191

Experian

Online: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html

Mail:

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Phone: (888) 397-3742

Transunion

Online: https://service.transunion.com/dss/login.page?dest=dispute

Mail:

TransUnion LLC
Consumer Dispute Center
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Phone: (800) 916-8800

4. Contacting the furnisher (if applicable).
A furnisher is a company that gave the credit reporting bureau information for the report. If the report’s mistake is an error from a bank or credit card company, you can also reach out to the furnisher to amend its mistake. You can contact the company through the mail (the address can be found on the credit report), or reach out to customer service by phone or online.

If the furnisher corrects the mistake, it could, in turn, update the credit report. But, to play it safe, reach out to both parties.

5. Reaching out to the FTC to report identity theft (if applicable).
If you notice an error that suggests identity theft (such as unknown accounts or unfamiliar debt), it’s a good idea to sign up with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) IdentityTheft.gov site in addition to alerting the credit bureaus. The FTC’s tool can help users create a recovery plan and figure out the next steps.

6. Sitting tight and waiting for a response.
Once someone sends a credit dispute to a bureau or furnisher, they can expect to hear back within 30 days, typically by mail.

When a credit bureau receives a dispute, they have one of two choices: agree or disagree. If the bureau agrees, they will correct the error and send a new credit report.

If the bureau disagrees and doesn’t believe there’s an error, they won’t remove it from the report. In some cases, they may not agree there’s an error because there’s a delay in information getting to them.For example, a recently canceled credit card might not show up as canceled in their records yet. Changes like that might take some time.

However, if you’re confident of the error and a credit bureau doesn’t agree, that’s not your last stop.

You can also reach out to the CFPB to file an official complaint . The complaint should include all documentation of the dispute. Once the CFPB receives the complaint, you can keep track of its progress on the organization’s website.

The Takeaway

Checking your credit reports can help you ensure that the information is used to calculate your credit scores is accurate and up to date. It can also tip you off to fraud or identity theft

It’s easy and free to gain access to your credit reports from the three major bureaus once a year. Taking advantage of this service (and reporting any errors you may come across) can be key to maintaining good credit, and good overall financial health.

Another way to maintain good financial health is to pay your bills on time (which can boost your credit score), and to keep track of your spending. Signing up for SoFi Checking and Savings® Account can help with both.

A SoFi Checking and Savings Account lets you track your weekly spending right in the app, as well as set up individual or recurring bill payments to make sure they’re on time. You’ll also earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) to help your money grow.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., 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.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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.

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.

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 .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SOBK0523040U

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender