Frequently Asked Questions

In order to serve you better, we post the most frequently asked questions and their answers in easy to understand language. Questions and answers are organized by topic for your convenience. For borrower specific FAQs, please see the Borrower Frequently Asked Questions page.

In some instances, answers may be more complex than can be explained here. Experienced Customer Service Specialists are available to assist you in solving your issue.

Informative Research Changes in FICO Score
Since Report First Issued
Additional Services
Tips for Improving Turnaround
Time on Supplement Requests
Inquire About ECOA Codes Inquiries – Impact on Credit Score
Not Getting Scores Report Does Not Match
the Borrower’s Information
Trigger Alerts / reselling information
Borrower FAQs E-Signature FAQs  How To Read A Credit Report

You can find detailed discussions and documentation about technical issues in the Support section.


What is a Supplement?

During the lending process a Mortgage Companies may request a Credit Supplement in order to have their borrower’s credit information updated in some fashion by the three independent credit bureaus. A Credit Supplement typically takes one to three business days and can used for a multitude of reasons. Supplements can be used to add, delete, omit, prove, remove, update or verify nearly every aspect of information on a consumer’s credit report.

What is the usual turnaround time on a supplement?

The standard turnaround time for a Credit Supplement is one to three business days. However, some creditors only allow verifications by Fax or Mail and given these constraints a Credit Supplement may take longer than our stated timeframe. Informative Research will make every attempt to complete a Credit Supplement in a timely manner and will notify our clients of any unexpected delays throughout the process.

How do I retrieve a completed Credit Supplemental request?

A completed supplement report can be retrieved via Web Credit Services if ordered through our online system.

What effects does a Credit Supplement have on the borrower’s FICO score?

None, supplements performed by Informative Research do not affect the original data posted by the credit bureaus. If you want to have the FICO score updated you may consider ordering a Credit ReScore which is a streamlined process to verify and update a tradeline.

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Tips for Improving Turnaround Time on Supplement Requests

Are there ways to improve the turnaround time of a Credit Supplement?

1) Be specific when submitting a request about what you are trying to accomplish whether it’s add, dispute, remove or update information. Ambiguity causes delays so the more details you provide the easier it will be for Informative Research to process the request.

2) Provide the complete name of the borrower and at least one of the following identifiers: Reference Number, File Number, Order Number or Agency Reference Number to avoid a delay caused by our inability to conclusively match the name of the borrower to a tradeline.

3) Submit the request with the complete account number. Please keep in mind that Bureaus only report partial account numbers for consumer protection so only the borrower can provide the full account number.

4) Provide a Borrower’s Authorization and any supporting documentation at submission. This will save a significant amount of time for Informative Research.

5) Provide the Borrower’s name, email and a contact number in case a conference call is required.
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Not Getting Credit Score

Why didn’t I get a credit score?

In order for a FICO® score to be calculated a consumer’s credit profile must contain these elements:

1) One account that’s been opened for six months or more.

2) At least an undisputed account which has been reported to the credit bureaus within the past six months.

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Changes in Fico Score

Why did the FICO score change since the report was first issued?

There are three main factors that can cause a credit score to change from the date the report was first issued:

Time has an impact on credit score fluctuations. A credit score is snapshot of a consumer’s credit profile at that moment. Any changes made over time will have a positive or negative impact on the credit score. For example if your borrower forgets to make a credit card payment on time it could negatively impact the score theoretically lowering it the next time a credit report is issued. Also important to note is creditors report to the bureaus at different times so a late payment from one bureau may show up before another repository has reported it too. 

Predictive FICO® Score Models of the three bureaus are unique but they all operate with similar methodology so a consumer with a high score from one bureau could expect a similar score from the other two bureaus. Score variations do occur when the underlying data at the bureaus is different. This occurs because all credit information (from lenders, collection agencies and court records) may not be reported to all three bureaus. There can be score differences even if the underlying data is identical because each bureau’s system was designed to predict a value from their data and they may record, display and store the same information in different ways.

Consumer Scores are part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act aka “FACTA” which allows consumers to pull a free credit report once every 12 months. “When a consumer purchases a score from a credit reporting agency it’s likely that the credit score that the consumer receives will not be the same score as that purchased and used by a lender to whom the consumer applies for a loan. This could occur if the score the consumer purchased is an educational score that is not used by lenders, but differences between the score a consumer buys and the score a lender buys can occur for other reasons as well.” CFPB July, 19th 2011

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ECOA Codes

What are ECOA codes and what do they mean?

An ECOA (Equal Credit Opportunity Act) code is listed for each tradeline reported by Informative Research. The ECOA Code describes the borrower’s relationship to the tradeline. ECOA codes identify a trade as belonging to an Individual, Joint, Co-Signer, etc. ECOA codes may vary by bureau. We have compiled the codes and put them in easy to understand ECOA Table for your convenience.

Click here to download a PDF of the ECOA Codes.

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Report Does Not Match the Borrower’s Information

Why does the credit report’s data not match the borrower?

There are two reasons why the credit report doesn’t match the borrower:

1) The first is the report may contain someone else’s credit data with the borrower’s. Informative Research recommends ordering a Credit Supplement to investigate the credit data. Findings of the supplement will assist in adding, disputing or removing a tradeline with the credit bureaus.

2) The second reason is due to typographic errors during the application stage of the lending process. Common typographical errors involve the Social Security Number or the borrower’s name.

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Additional Services

What additional services are available and what are the charges?

Informative Research is a national Tier 1 provider of Merged Credit Reports, Data, Portfolio Services and Fraud Solutions. We deliver superior, relevant, innovative credit and data solutions to our clients so they can make informed lending decisions. We are dedicated to our customer’s satisfaction which is the foundation of our success and is the reason we have solidified the trust of our Mortgage Industry clientele. Please contact a Sales Associate today for a complete list of our services.

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Trigger Alerts / Reselling Borrowers Information

After I’ve pulled a credit my borrower was contacted by other brokers and service companies. Do the bureaus sell my borrower’s information to third parties?

No, credit repositories don’t sell any part of your borrower’s credit file to third party companies. However, the three bureaus can sell specific criteria from their databases to companies that have permissible purpose to obtain this information. For example a Mortgage Servicer may purchase Marketing Triggers which couples unique credit criteria with a recent mortgage inquiry flag assuring a loan in their portfolio is in the market for a new loan.

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Inquiries – Impact on Credit Score

My borrower has done a lot of rate shopping for their loan. How will these loan inquiries impact their credit score?

Credit inquiries are requests to check your credit. Credit inquiries are classified as either “hard inquiries” or “soft inquiries” but only hard inquiries have an effect on your FICO score.

Soft inquiries occur when your credit isn’t being reviewed by a prospective lender. They may include a consumer’s own credit pull through a bureau or credit service like myFICO.

Hard inquiries are performed by a lender who needs to review your credit profile during the application process for auto, mortgage or credit card loans. Each of these types of credit checks count as a single inquiry the one exception occurs when you are “rate shopping.”

Rate shopping is smart and your FICO score considers all inquiries within a 14 day period for a mortgage, an auto loan or a student loan to be a single inquiry. This same guideline applies to a search for a rental property such as an apartment. These inquiries are usually recorded by the credit bureau as a type of real estate-related inquiry, so the FICO Score will treat them the same way. You can avoid lowering your FICO Score by doing your apartment hunting within a short period.

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