| April 8, 2011

Glitch causes damage to consumer credit scores

Americans who carry credit card debt on accounts controlled by HSBC recently found that their credit scores had dropped as a result of a computer error.

Experian, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting bureaus, mistakenly reported that an unknown number of consumers who carry HSBC credit cards had outstanding balances that exceeded their credit limits, according to a report from MSBNC. As a result, some consumers saw their scores fall by up to 60 points.

The glitch came when the bureau accidentally cut the final two digits off consumers’ stated credit limits, the report said. As a result, those who could borrow up to $5,000, for example, were listed as having credit limits of just $50. The resulting apparently massive overage in their credit utilization had a serious negative impact.

“On April 1, 2011, Experian loaded data from a single data furnisher and made an isolated administrative error in coding this data,” Experian told the news station. “This error was detected on Monday, April 4, which Experian quickly corrected and the data was immediately suppressed.”

Credit utilization ratios make up the second-largest consideration for a consumer’s credit score, a total of 30 percent.

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