Once you've received a copy of your credit report, you'll need to know how to read it. The first thing you'll notice is a bunch of confusing numbers, terms and abbreviations.
Examples of these are - Trade lines, account review inquiries and charge-offs, etc. So where do you begin to make sense of it all?
We suggest you begin by requesting a copy of your credit report from each of three major credit reporting agencies in USA, and analyze them as outlined below.
The Big 3 credit reference agencies are - Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Due to changes in Law, once every 12 months you can print a copy of your credit report held by each of credit reporting agencies by going to: www.annualcreditreport.com.
Don't forget, this is a free service and in accordance with law, once a year you are entitled to read a copy of your credit report online from each of major credit bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com. Visit following link to learn more about this free service and how to get your free annual credit report.
Understand, obtaining a copy of your credit report does not tell you your credit score. This important service provides access only to your credit file. Importantly, however, this information is used by creditors in deciding whether or not to extend credit to consumers. And this is why it's so important you obtain this information. So be diligent. Get your free credit report once every year.
Remember too, it's of little value to read only one copy of your credit report from only one agency. The best thing by far is to read copies of your report from each of three agencies. The reason for this is because each agency may hold different information about you. So now you know!
What to look for in your credit report:
A credit report consists of four sections:
Identifying Information Credit History Public Records Inquiries
IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Identifying information is information that identifies you. Examine this carefully and ensure it's accuracy. For example, look for differences in your Social Security number. This can happen through human error; usually because someone (not you necessarily) reported it that way.
Other information held in your credit report will include:
Your current and previous addresses Date of Birth Telephone numbers Driver's License numbers Your employer Your spouse's name
CREDIT HISTORY: (Special note: Sometimes individual accounts are referred to as trade lines.)
Each account will include name of any creditors with related account numbers, although, sometimes you may find these are scrambled for security reasons. You may, of course, have more than one account with a creditor.
Creditors, too, have more than one kind of account. For example, if you move elsewhere in country, creditor may transfer your account to another office, and assign a new account number. This entry also includes:
The date you opened account:
The kind of credit extended (whether instalment, such as a mortgage or car loan. Or revolving credit (credit associated with a department store credit card
Whether account is in your name or held jointly with another person, such as your partner