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In 2015, I opened a CreditKarma account to monitor my credit even though I had no credit history at the time.

In 2017, I successfully applied for a secured credit card with a low credit limit based on what I had at US Bank.

Also in 2017, I got a PayPal Credit account.

Later that year, I got a credit increase on my secured credit card.

Twelve months later, from the day I first opened the secured credit card, I successfully converted it to an unsecured credit card.

Also in 2018, I applied for the Synchrony Bank CareCredit programme.

In Summer of that year, I got a credit increase on my PayPal Credit account.

After experiencing some financial hardship, I contacted an organisation that is certified by the NFCC. It is called Money Management International. I asked if I ought to file bankruptcy.

After reviewing my debts and credit reports and not seeing any past due payments, they determined that I was still within a manageable range, so they got permission from me to contact all three of my creditors and close the accounts to further purchases and thus lowering the minimum payment amount.

In November 2018, I legally changed my name, and a month later I reported this to one of the three creditors--US Bank.

In January 2019, I updated my name with the Social Security Administration.

In February or March 2019, I contacted MMI and gave them evidence of the legal name change.

In April of 2019, I contacted Synchrony Bank to update my CareCredit account, and then realised that PayPal Credit also used Synchrony Bank.

Also in April 2019, I contacted Equifax and Experian via facsimile and gave them evidence of the legal name change. I received updated credit reports with the new legal name.

In September 2019, after having sold a large amount of property and withdrawing funds from a savings account, I paid off two of the three credit accounts--US Bank and PayPal Credit.

In October 2019, I got an attorney to contact Experian because they continued using my old legal name, particularly in their E-mail correspondences, and they were able to get them to update it again.

Also in October, I found out that while Synchrony CareCredit had updated my name, PayPal Credit hadn't.

In November 2019, I paid off the last credit account--CareCredit.

Two days later, I tried applying for a loan to pay back the rent I fell behind on since 2017, but was turned down.

On that same day, I wrote a letter and sent it via snail mail to TransUnion, asking them to update my legal name. In nine days, I received an updated credit report. Note: I actually called them just to make sure they got it. It said that I have been on their file since October 5th, 2018.

Six days after the denial of the loan application, I got a general letter that displayed my credit score, which was 719 (FICO)

Two days later, I got the notice of adverse action from US Bank, and it stated that I was denied the loan due to insufficient number of satisfactory rated credit references.

In December of 2019, I applied for a credit line and was also turned down.

Four days later, I applied for another credit line and was denied.

Having made three hard enquiries in a short amount of time, I decided to close my old CreditKarma account after having discovered that US Bank and CareCredit did not report anything after the name was changed, though PayPal Credit was still on there since they didn't update my name.

A few hours ago, I opened a new CreditKarma account under my new, legal name and found that under credit age, it looked as if it were brand new. It said that lenders typically wanted to see that I had lots of experience with borrowing responsibly. Note that I used the same Social Security number both times... when I first made an account, and then after I deleted the old one and created the new one. I also saw all my closed accounts listed on CK except my PayPal Credit one.

I recently pulled a report from Transunion and discovered that it was indeed split in two, because the one under my old name says that I've been on their file since August 22nd, 2012. So, I re-sent them a letter asking them to merge those reports together, and then I also sent a copy of that letter to PayPal Credit.

According to my credit reports, there were no negative remarks of any kind, but going through this legal name change has made it almost impossible for me to get the credit I need to pay back rent within the next sixty days. I don't want to start all over at the beginning with me having to get another secured credit card. If all else fails, I will possibly have to consider next steps.

  • Did you have to include your Social security number when you created a Credit Karma account? – mhoran_psprep Dec 7 '19 at 18:12
  • Yes, both times. – HeavenlyHarmony Dec 7 '19 at 21:18
  • I suggest you raise the question to the service provider. It is likely that they did not anticipate people changing their name. I bet that they still have a copy of your record under the old name. – mootmoot Dec 9 '19 at 9:23
  • Which service provider do you mean? – HeavenlyHarmony Dec 9 '19 at 13:10
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    It may be best to cut CreditKarma out of the loop and work directly with the bureaus. Look at the reports they are providing and work with them on the name change. It sounds like you've already been in touch with them but what really matters is what they provide creditors, not what shows up in CreditKarma. – dwizum Dec 9 '19 at 13:42
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+50

Your credit history should follow you despite any changes in personal details (name, address, or even SSN). However, the real world is often messier than that, as you are discovering. But - that said - name changes are very common and shouldn't be an unusual change.

Generally, the best practice is to contact your active creditors immediately and provide them proof of the name change. In addition, all three credit bureaus have tools or procedures to change personal details. Googling gave links for Experian, Equifax, and this LendingTree article which covers all three.

While tools like CreditKarma can be useful to monitor your credit, it's important to work directly with all three bureaus to change any personal info, or to confirm the exact contents of your report. CreditKarma parses your report with their own tools and provides a VantageScore, which can lead to different results than looking directly at the report and/or pulling a FICO score (which is what lenders will generally be doing - VantageScore isn't commonly used for lending). So, follow up by pulling reports directly from the bureaus and contacting them if there are issues. Then, once you know the "source material" is good, you can follow up with CreditKarma if you believe their info is still incorrect.

Further, thanks to recent legislation in the US, if you believe a lender has made a decision based on incorrect data contained in the credit report they used, you can challenge the decision. The Adverse Action Notices you received after being denied will explain this. Essentially, you are entitled to a free copy of the exact credit report they used from whichever bureau they pulled it from (this is on top of the free copies you're already entitled to from the credit bureaus) as long as you request it within 60 days. If you believe the decisions were made based on incorrect information, you should follow the process in your Adverse Action notices to get that copy of the report, and then reach out to whichever bureau provided it to make any corrections.

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    Thanks for this useful answer! :-) I went ahead and re-sent all three credit bureaus a new letter, plus the proof of name change and briefly explaining the reason why I think I was denied credit three times. Assuming that it was due to inaccurate information, will they overturn the lenders' decision and grant me credit? Or, will they erase the original three enquiries based on this inaccuracy? Will I have to reapply with the creditors assuming that I get a letter explaining that they have migrated my credit history over to my new legal name? I also submitted a fourth letter to PPC. – HeavenlyHarmony Dec 9 '19 at 23:35
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    Assuming that it was due to inaccurate information, will they overturn the lenders' decision and grant me credit? - the credit bureau isn't responsible for the lending decision. If you have inaccurate data on your credit report, and the lender denied you because of that data, you need to work with the bureau to correct it (which you are doing). You should notify the lender that you are doing this ASAP. Then, once you have a corrected report, you can notify the lender and they are required to reconsider your application based on the new data. – dwizum Dec 10 '19 at 13:41
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    To be clear, the lender may still deny you for the same reason or other reasons - but they are required by law to reconsider your application, including the corrected credit report. – dwizum Dec 10 '19 at 13:42
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    I just found this CreditKarma editorial. It describes my situation perfectly. creditkarma.com/advice/i/what-is-split-file-credit-report – HeavenlyHarmony Feb 26 at 13:46
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It said that lenders typically wanted to see that I had lots of experience with borrowing responsibly.

That doesn't mean that your history is missing. You said that you had no history under your previous name prior to 2017. That's less than 3 years... 719 is a rather good score for that scenario, particularly considering that you admit to financial troubles at the level where you considered bankruptcy, and that happened only last year.


It's worth noting that credit scores always come with comments indicating where you scored weakest. I get a similarly worded "lenders want to see more experience" sort of note when I view my score, and my oldest account is over 15 years now. But evidently that "low" age of accounts impacts my score as much as the high number of recent inquiries.

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