You might think this is an odd question to ask. However, there are several reasons why someone may not know how many and which credit cards are open in their name. For one, some people go on credit card application sprees to take advantage of sign-on bonuses. While this certainly can work in your favor with a decent credit score, if you do not keep good records then you may have no idea which credit cards you have opened. A second scenario may be if you are worried about identity theft and want to check all of the credit cards opened in your name (by you or by someone else). Or perhaps you are out of touch with your finances and truly have no idea what credit lines are opened under your name.
Regardless of why you may be asking this question, let’s talk about how to find out the answer.
How to Find out How Many Credit Cards are Under Your Name
An easy way to find out how many credit cards are open under your name is to consult your credit reports. Credit reports do not offer your credit score, but they do offer a complete rundown of all the credit lines that are under your name (past and present). There are three different credit reporting bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—and you need to check the report from all three to ensure you are getting the full picture.
Federal law allows you to request and receive your credit report from each agency for free once every 12 months. The only source to get all three of your credit reports for free is through AnnualCreditReport.com (be wary of any site that tries to offer you your credit score for free, or that tries to charge you for your credit report).
What is in Your Credit Reports?
Your credit reports will contain both past and present information on the specific lines of credit under your name. For example, on my credit reports there is a mortgage, there is my primary credit card line, there are my paid-off student loans (each listed out separately), there is my paid-off student loan consolidation, etc.
On top of that, credit reports contain information on your payments for each line of credit. This means if you are late with a payment, it will be listed on the report. If you are on-time with your payment, that will show up on your report. Credit reports will also typically list companies that have pulled your information in order to assess your financial picture (such as a landlord, an auto financing place, a mortgage lender, etc.).
For more information about the three credit reports and what they will and will not include, check this out.
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What is the Time Lapse between Opening a Credit Card and having it Show Up?
Now that you have your reports, you may be wondering how up to date the information is. It turns out that there are no exact rules for when banks and credit card issuers have to provide the information to the three credit reporting agencies. In fact, there is no rule that says a creditor has to report a credit line at all.
Fortunately for you, many creditors do report. When you (or someone else) opens a new credit card up under your name, the credit card issuer will generally report the new credit line to the three credit reporting agencies a few days after the first billing cycle ends on the account. Typically, this will be around 30 days after you receive the card in the mail.
Have you ever ordered your free credit reports?
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