John Ulzheimer

"On the Money" Contributor

John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. In addition to his expertise in personal finance and consumer issues, he is a leading advocate of understanding the value of managing your credit portfolio like you would your investment portfolio.

Ulzheimer has over 16 years of experience in the consumer credit industry including positions with Equifax Credit Information Services and the Fair Isaac Corporation (inventors of the FICO credit scoring system). He has authored numerous educational books, including "The GetCreditWise ToolKit" and "You’re Nothing but a Number," and is also the coauthor of the consumer handbook, "Surviving Identity Theft."

Ulzheimer has contributed content for Freddie Mac’s "Know Your Score" campaign, Oprah’s “Debt Diet” series and "The Suze Orman Show." He is also a frequent contributor of credit advice and analysis for various outlets including USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times,, Washington Post, and many more.

In his hometown of Atlanta, Ulzheimer teaches an ongoing course on credit reporting and scoring at the Emory University Center for Lifelong Learning and was named by the students the Top Personal Finance and Investments Instructor for the 2005/2006 term. He is also a regular guest lecturer at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta.


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    During college, I racked up quite a credit card bill (about $35,000 in credit card debt plus $8,000 in student debt). I have stopped using the cards and have been paying above the minimum every month. I talked to a California based company,and they want me to go delinquent on my card payments and to pay them $7000 into an "escrow" account so they can try to negotiate down my debt with the credit card. Do you have any advice for me as to how to absolve my credit card debt? I really feel stuck.

  • A recent Bloomberg article “Unintended Consequences of Mortgage Modifications: Falling Credit Scores” addresses a topic that deserves serious follow up. The article accurately identifies that loan modifications could damage your FICO credit scores, if they are reported to the credit bureaus using the new reporting guidelines set up by the credit bureaus and their trade organization, the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA).

  • If we pay off the credit cards, how likely is it that the credit card companies will close our accounts? We don't want to be without any credit. So, what's the best way to pay off the debt without losing our credit?