About Your Credit
Santander Consumer USA strives to help you improve your credit rating. We report credit information to all three major credit bureau agencies at the end of each month. Although we submit the information to the bureaus at the end of the month, the bureaus have 30 days from the receipt of our data to update a consumer's credit report.
We report credit data to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. The contact information for each is as follows:
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Frequently Asked Questions about Credit
What should I do if my credit was pulled and I believe there are inaccuracies in the way you are reporting my account?
You may contact us directly at 866-923-9282 or by writing a letter describing your dispute. The address for disputes is:
Santander Consumer USA
Attn: CBR Department
P.O. Box 961245
Fort Worth, TX 76161-1245
- Santander Consumer USA
Can I speak to someone directly about inaccuracies in my credit report?
- Due to the sensitivity involved in discussing a consumer's credit reporting history, we will not verbally try to resolve alleged inaccuracies. However, after you have received the results of your initial investigation with the credit reporting agencies and you are not satisfied with the results, you may contact us directly. You can dispute the initial results and request that a reinvestigation be completed by us.
What do I do if I believe I'm a victim of ID theft or if I believe this is not my contract?
- In order to comply with your request, you must file a report with the local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. You must also file a complaint with the FTC using one of the following methods:
- Online: www.consumer.gov/idtheft
- FTC's Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-IDTHEFT
- Write: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580
- Complete: An ID Theft Affidavit provided by the FTC and include the Fraudulent Account Statement
What do I do if I can't wait 30 days for my credit information to be updated? I am trying to obtain another loan and need my report corrected today.
- You may contact your customer service representative at (888) 222-4227 to request a payment history, and we will mail or fax this information to your attention.
What do I do if you are not reporting my credit information or my account has been removed from my credit report? How can I get this loan added back to my credit report?
- The only way a customer's account can be added to their credit report is through our monthly data tape transmission. If a customer has used a credit repair clinic to get items removed from their credit or has disputed an item and it was deleted, the credit reporting agencies cannot add this item back to the consumer's credit report due to FTC regulations.
Understanding Your Credit Score
In today's world, your credit score is one of the most important factors involved in lending. Most lenders, no matter what you are buying, not only make their decisions based in part on your credit score but - more important - determine the interest rate you are charged based on your credit score.
What is a credit score?
It is the number that creditors use to help them decide whether to extend credit to you and also what rate of interest to charge you. In most cases, the lower the credit score, the higher the risk. There are numerous types of credit scores, but the most prevalent is the credit bureau score. The credit bureau score is based solely on the information contained in your consumer credit reports. Most credit scores are based on calculations by Fair, Isaac and Company ("FICO"). Over time, FICO developed the scoring model that is most widely used.
What does your credit score do for you?
It gives lenders a quick and easy way to determine your probability of repayment. Before credit scoring, the task of obtaining a loan was slow and cumbersome, and often relied on the judgment of the person making the decision. Since credit scores have become widely used, loan processing has become quicker, fairer, and has had an effect on standardizing rates. Not all lenders however, base credit decisions solely on your FICO score. Many consider other criteria like job time, residence time, down payment and other factors to determine whether or not to extend credit.
What is a good score?
Scores range from the low 400s to well past 800. The higher the score, the better the credit rating. Most lenders use a break of somewhere around 620 as the determining factor of a regular loan versus what is called a "sub prime" or higher-risk loan. Some lenders will not extend credit to people with under 620 credit scores and other lenders will offer those loans, but at a higher interest rate. A few lenders do automatic approvals for people with 750 or higher scores with no questions asked.
Aren't there several credit bureau agencies?
Yes, there are three primary credit bureau companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and each of them refer to their credit scores by different names. At Equifax for instance, their score is called the beacon score. At Experian, it is the Experian/FICO score and at TransUnion, it is called Empirica.
How do I find my credit score?
You can purchase your FICO score right over the Internet at either www.myfico.com or at the Web sites of any of the major bureaus. Besides your FICO score, you will get your entire credit report, details on how to read your report and ways to raise your scores.
What makes up a FICO score?
Generally, there are five criteria that make up the score. The biggest driver is payment history...how you have paid your bills. This accounts for 35 percent of your score. Thirty percent of your score is based on the amount of money you owe lenders. The length of your credit history makes up 15 percent. New credit makes up 10 percent of your score and the remaining 10 percent is the types of credit you use. Things that have no effect on your score: race, religion, sex or marital status, your age, length of employment, job description, where you live or any items reported as child or family support.
How can you raise your score?
Paying your bills on time helps dramatically, and is the biggest contributor or detractor to scores. Keep your balances low on credit cards. Do not apply for credit unless it is absolutely necessary. Be sure your credit report is accurate. Many mistakes are found and should be corrected immediately because they impact your score. By law, all three credit-reporting agencies must respond and report back to you within 30 days if you challenge any information on your credit report.
How long does information stay on my credit report?
Good or bad, it is with you for seven years unless it can be proven that it was a mistake.
What is an inquiry?
This is the record of any person who has checked your credit report. This is another good reason to check your credit report yearly. A lot of inquiries will lower your FICO score because it shows you are applying for new credit. (However inquiries will not drastically change your score.) If you have inquiries from mortgage lenders or automobile dealers in a short period of time, this will not affect your score. Their systems consider this as one inquiry and recognize that you are shopping for a specific product.
What if you are denied credit?
If you are turned down for credit, the lender must notify you in writing within 30 days with the reason you were turned down. At this point, you have 60 days to request a free credit report from any of the credit reporting agencies. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act covers both of these.
To get a copy of your credit reports, here are the contact numbers,
- Equifax (800) 685-1111 or www.equifax.com/
- Experian (888) 397-3742 or www.experian.com/
- TransUnion (800) 888-4213 or www.transunion.com/
To just find out what your FICO score is, go to: www.myfico.com
To read the Federal Trade Commission rules on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, go to: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0347-your-equal-credit-opportunity-rights
Excerpted with permission from Jerry Reynolds-The Car Guy.