Even people who’ve seen their credit report before (hopefully at least once a year) can find the information on it a bit difficult to interpret. If you’ve never reviewed your report before, that first look can be downright mystifying! A little knowledge, however, can go a long way toward helping you understand whats on your credit report.
Heres how to review a credit report:
Step 1. Look at the personal information and be sure its correct. This will include your full name or any variations you may have used; current and past addresses; your current employer; Social Security number; and possibly your spouses name if you are married and share finances.
Step 2. Check out your current and past lines of credit. This is the main part of any credit report and the information that figures into your credit score. It will include current and past financial accounts such as credit cards, bank loans, auto loans, mortgages, etc. For each account, the report will include a balance (if its current) and whether or not its in good standing. If you’ve ever made late payments or missed them altogether, that information will appear in this section, too.
Step 3. Carefully review any remaining information such as inquiries or any negative items, bankruptcies, court judgments, tax liens or other collections actions against you. Youll also find information on whos asked to review your report in the recent past. If you’ve disputed a claim with a lender, that information will likely appear on your report. If you find information on your credit report you dont recognize, it might be a sign of identity theft, and you should look into it more closely.
Your credit score is calculated using the information in your credit report. It can help you see what you do well to balance your personal finances and what you can do better to achieve better habits. Reviewing your credit report regularly can also help you detect signs of identity theft, which should be addressed immediately to recover with minimal damage.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.