Understanding Your Credit Report

By: Jim Brown

A wealth of information is contained in your credit report. Your financial actions, your loan or credit accounts and how you pay them are just some of the data you can find on your credit report. Review your credit report periodically to get an idea of what the creditors are saying about you.

If you are reading your report for the first time, it can be quite confusing.

The personal information on your credit report will include information that will identify you like your name, your address (both current and previous), your employment information and history, etc.

Your name may have misspellings or variations but most credit companies leave these variations to preserve the link between your credit information and your identity. Your personal information should identify you and not any other person.

Your credit report's account history contains your credit accounts and how you have paid them. This section is very detailed and it is of utmost importance that you carefully review such in order to ensure that all the information reported are correct and that there are no erroneous entries.

Each credit account will contain the following information. Indicated will be the institution name reporting the information, account number (for privacy purposes this information may be shortened or scrambled), the type of loan or account, the term of repayment, the month and year the account was opened and high credit (for credit card this is the biggest amount charged or as the case for loans the original amount loaned). Other data include the loan amount or credit limit, the remaining balance owed on the account as of reporting date, any past due amounts as of report date, the status of the account (whether current, past due, etc.), the status of your monthly payment or payment history since the establishment of the account and the last date of update made by the creditor.

Public information records contain info on tax liens, bankruptcies, records of state and country courts, etc. A public record generally stays on your credit report between 7 to 10 yrs. depending on the type of account. It is ideal to always keep clear this section for it can really damage your credit standing.

Credit inquiries contain the list of all those who within the last two years have accessed your credit report.

You have every right to have any erroneous entries or mistake on your credit report corrected. All you have to do is to submit with the credit bureau a credit report dispute. Your credit report will come with an instruction sheet for the dispute process.

Debt, Loans & Business Cashflow
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