A snapshot of your credit profile, your credit report contains various types of personal information that can influence your credit score. Credit reports can be easily accessed online via the three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Understanding the information it contains can help you better manage your credit. In this article, we will talk about what details your credit report includes and how to read it.
How to Read Your Credit Report
Credit reports are broken down into several sections. These include your:
- Account Summary: Includes a variety of details such as the balance you owe on each credit card or account, each payment that you make, and information on open/closed accounts, delinquent accounts, and public records like tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and repossessions.
- Personal Information: The name, address, and Social Security number on your credit report should match yours exactly. Otherwise, another person’s credit history may be linked to your report. It is therefore important to confirm this information is correct.
- Credit History: This is the main section of your credit report and includes information vital to creditors and lenders. It shows each account type, your current balances, and the status of your accounts as well as your record of payments (including whether they’re current or late). Credit limits are listed as well.
Your credit history also includes applicable negative items such as missed payments, unpaid tax liens, bankruptcies, foreclosures, collections actions, and civil judgements.
- Credit Inquiries: List any business, employer, lender, or landlord that has received a copy of your credit report in the past two years. A hard inquiry may involve applications for credit loans or credit checks for housing purposes; these are initiated upon your consent. Too many of them can hurt your credit score. A soft inquiry, which doesn’t affect your score, is typically not initiated by you and can be done by, for example, a company sending you a promotional offer.
Your Credit Report Is Not the Same as Your Credit Score
Although your credit score is related, your credit report and score are not the same thing. Your credit report contains information on the history of your accounts and payments. Nonetheless, a credit score is generated based on what’s in your credit report. This number is not usually listed on it.
If You See Credit Report Errors, Dispute Them
One reason to check your credit report is to look for errors. These do happen whether because of mistakes or fraud. Even if you don’t have a past due account or accounts sent to collections, such information can appear erroneously.
If you find an error, it can be corrected by contacting the creditor first, and then the credit agency that issued the report. There is an established dispute process. In fact, the bureaus are required by law to respond to your dispute request; if not, then you have the right to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Another option is to use a credit repair service.
Contact American Credit
When the standard process of disputing credit report errors doesn’t go in your favor, contact American Credit. We provide credit repair, credit restoration, and consultation services to resolve such issues and help improve your credit score. Serving clients throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles and Santa Monica, we use a pre-litigation process that is generally more effective than dispute resolution. It essentially forces creditors and bureaus to respond and remove disputed negative details from your credit report. To learn more or request a free consultation, call 855-816-8819 today!