How To Read A Credit Report

Navigating a credit report can be a bit confusing but it is important to understand how all of those numbers affect you. A credit report is broke into four basic sections and each one is important to your credit score. It is not difficult to read a credit report once you understand what each section contains.

view of a partial sheet of paper with the words credit report on top.

Section One-Identifying Information

The first section contains your identifying information

This is just the basic information that identifies who you are. It can include a list of addresses where you have lived, your name and any other names you have gone by, your social security and driver’s license numbers, spouse’s name, date of birth and telephone numbers that have been linked to your name.

Section Two-Credit History

The second section contains your credit history

This section will list all of the credit accounts that you have. It will tell how long you have had the account, what kind of account it is, if it is a joint account, amount that the loan was for or the credit limit you have, total amount that you owe, amount of monthly payments, status of the account, and if you have been making your payments on time. This section might also include notes that tell if you typically pay late or have a debt that was never able to be collected.

Keep in mind that not only do your current, open accounts get listed in this section. Closed or paid off accounts will be there as well. Closing a credit account does not remove it from your credit history nor does paying off a loan. These accounts will still be on your report for up to seven years and any negative information will also remain.

Debt Settlement Specialists

Section Three-Public Records

The third section contains your public records

This section includes any bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgments against you. If it is in the public records, it will show up in this section of your credit report.

Section Four-Credit Inquiries

The fourth section contains inquiries

Anytime someone requests your credit report, that information goes into this section. That means that every time you fill out an application for credit, that credit request will be noted on your credit report. These are considered hard credit inquiries.

Not all inquiries on your credit report were initiated by you. Soft inquiries are those requested from companies looking to contact you unsolicited and offer you a pre-approved loan or credit card. Sort inquires do not impact your credit score. Hard inquires will impact your score, although a single inquiry will only have minimal impact.

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