CNBC U.S. Contributors

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, CNN.com, 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?

  • My minimum payment on my one card went from $250 a month to $350 a month and is pushing the limits of my budget which is already in the negative or barely positive.

  • On June 30th Bloomberg ran an article called "FICO Scores Show Flaws as U.S. Banks Cut Credit Lines." The article sufficiently bashes the credit score giant and their core product by pointing out that consumer credit scores are lowered when credit card issuers lower credit limits.

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    I'm trying to raise my credit score to purchase my first home. My credit score is 635. I was late a few times on a couple of loans. I've since paid them off. When I purchase my score the formula uses those old accounts that I've paid off to formulate my score. Is that fair or correct?

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    Q. I receive 6-10 calls per day from the debt relieve people asking me to contact them so they could either wipe out my credit card debt completely or a least reduce it by more than half.

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    Q. I am watching your show "On the Money" and the topic is: "How to raise your credit score." I have great credit: 788 on Experian. I am planning on buying my first home, hopefully by September. My only debt is $2,900 on Amex Blue. In order to raise my score a little higher -- should I pay the entire balance off?

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    I opened a credit card account to help improve my credit a few years back. The limit on the card has not increased but the interest rate has since I received the card. The credit card account has a $65 annual fee, $300 limit and 29.99% interest rate. Is it worth it to keep the account open?

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    John Ulzheimer offers sage advice to a couple looking to close the dozens of credit cards they've accumulated over the years.