Reading a Credit Report for Beginners
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Getting Your Credit Report
Reading a Credit Report
Personal information This is where you’ll find your name (including former names), your Social Security number, and birth date. Your report will also include current and previous addresses and contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. Your employment history may also be in this section. Personal Statements This section will typically include any statements you’ve submitted to a credit bureau. For example, if you disputed an item on your report and the investigation did not resolve the dispute, your statement might explain how you disagree with reported information. Negative Items (if any) This area will include a list of accounts that haven't been paid as agreed. It will also include any collections and public records (such as bankruptcies). Accounts This is the meat of your credit report and where you’ll find details on all of your accounts, which could include mortgages, student loans, personal loans, car loans, lines of credit, and other types of credit accounts. This section will show the status of your accounts (e.g., open or closed), your payment history, current account balances, and loan payment status. Credit Inquiries This is where you’ll see any times when someone checked your credit. Inquiries typically occur when you apply for a new credit card or loan. They can also occur if you apply to rent a home or apply for a new job.
What Should I Check for When I Read My Credit Report?
Soft and Hard Credit Inquiries
The Status of Your Accounts
Opening and Closing Date of Your Accounts
Bankruptcies Foreclosures Tax liens Civil judgments Repossession
History of Employment
Reading the Codes on a Credit Report
TransUnion’s Credit Report User Guide Experian: Glossary of Account Conditions and Payment Status Equifax’s Consumer Credit Report User Guide
The Meaning of “U” on a Credit Report
Disputing Credit Reports
How Credit Reports Are Used
Renting a Home
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Author
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