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Ask The Experts: Missing Credit Limits

I have recently checked my credit report through a monitoring service and the way the report is formatted, it shows my credit limits on all of my revolving charges as you would expect. However, on three of my Citicards, no credit limit is listed. Is there a reason that this company does not report your credit limit? These cards have around $72,000 of limits, and those would nicely offset any debt present on my revolving credit.

I don't want to call attention to my accounts by asking the company because I don't want them to cut my credit lines. As I have experienced with exactly the same credit scores, credit lines, and usage, my credit lines on American Express cards where I have been a customer for 22 years were slashed causing my credit score to fall, while Citicards has raised my limits during the same period.

I am aggressively paying off my cards, but it would be nice if my credit limits were accurately represented so that my credit score would continue to rise. Thank you for your help. -Lisa

Hello Lisa - There is a class action lawsuit currently in progress against the three national credit bureaus for allowing one of their major credit card customers to withhold credit limit data and then selling credit reports that contained this incomplete data.

The argument on the plaintiff's side is that withholding the limit damages your credit scores, which is true. The argument on the defendant's side is that reporting limits is voluntary so it's not required and that the importance of credit limits is overblown, which I believe to be untrue. I completely understand your hesitation about contacting Citi. But, that's really the only way to call attention to the missing limits. You can certainly send a copy of your statements to the three credit bureaus and point out that the limits are missing and you'd like them added based on the information on your statement. But, they will likely contact Citi to verify the information.

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TransUnion claims to have a process in place where they will simply accept the documentation from the consumer and add the limit. This policy was introduced soon after the lawsuit was filed. Please let me know what you have chosen to do and, if you contact the bureaus about this, how successful you are getting the limits added. They are extremely valuable to your scores and in my opinion must be there for the credit bureaus to comply with the "maximum possible accuracy" provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized credit expert, president of Consumer Education for Credit.com and contributor to On The Money. Learn more about him at CreditExpertWitness.comor email him your question here.