24 Aug Credit Report Basics – How To Make Sense Of it All
Understanding Your Credit Report
Let’s take a look at what the credit bureaus say they know about you.
Are you who they think you are?
Find the section that shows your name, Social Security Number, and address (sometimes it’s on the first page, sometimes it’s on the last page.) If you’ve used other names, like attaching “Jr.” or using a maiden name, those aliases may be listed. Don’t worry if they don’t appear. They may also have misspellings of your name—don’t worry about those either.
Is your Social Security Number correct? This must be correct. When you wonder if you’re “just a number”, well…that’s kind of true.
Are your current and prior addresses correct? The correctness of your current address is more important.
Did it happen to you?
Further down, a Public Records section reports if you’ve experienced a bankruptcy, lien, or judgment against you. Those are negative marks on your credit history. Review this information to see if it’s correct. Sometimes records of people with similar names get merged on accident, so you could see a Public Record for someone other than yourself. If you see something incorrect in your Public Record, flag it. That’s another thing to dispute.
Once you’re satisfied here, move on to the list of accounts.
Are those your accounts?
There are usually three account divisions: Mortgage, Installment, and Revolving.
Mortgage: If you have never owned real estate, this won’t affect your report. If real estate is listed, but you haven’t owned real estate – you’ve got a problem to dispute.
Installment: A car loan in which you make fixed payments is an example of an installment.
Revolving: Usually credit cards—accounts that have a credit limit and need a minimum payment each month when you carry a balance.
Check each and every account to make sure you recognize it. Does it say you missed a payment? Can you prove them wrong?
If some of your accounts don’t appear in the list, don’t panic. Not every lender reports their information about you to every credit bureau. This is the reason why some experts recommend requesting all three free reports from http://annualcreditreport.com/ at the same time.
Who’s asking about you?
Now take a look at the Requests (aka Inquiries) section. There are two kinds of inquiries: hard and soft. Soft inquiries don’t hurt your credit history or score. Soft inquiries happen when you request your own report, or a bank wants to send you a pre-approved offer of credit.
Hard inquiries will damage your credit if there are too many at once. A large number of hard inquiries in a short period of time make you look desperate.
Did you authorize the hard inquiries? They appear on your record when you’ve asked for a loan, interviewed for a job, or had a background check before renting a new apartment. They stay on your record for up to two years.
What’s all this other stuff?
Sometimes you’ll see mysterious codes like “EQ 1” or “TU 9.” Each credit bureau has a key to explain the codes used on their reports. You can check the credit bureaus’ websites for details.
How can you resolve errors on your credit report?
Resolving errors on your credit report is called “disputing.” Some mistakes, like the misspelling of your name, do not affect your credit score or credit history. Other errors, however, can have disastrous results. If there are missed payments on your Visa card but you have proof of payment, get that fixed as soon as possible. Missed payments or late payments are the number one cause of a credit score drop.
You’ll need to contact both the lender and credit bureau with proof to dispute a case. The process can take months.
Get expert help to repair your credit, starting today
If after reading this you are feeling more confused than before you started, then don’t fret there are companies that exists to help you dispute errors, clean up your credit history, and help you increase your credit score. There’s actually hundreds of options out there, however choosing the best and most reputable company that truly has your best interest in mind (and not just their bottom line). Here at Honore’ Credit Consultants we pride ourselves in being in business for the RIGHT reasons – we want to help YOU the consumer achieve financial freedom and have all of the options you desire available to you!
Call one of our credit consultants today so we can discuss options for helping to improve your credit profile! (844) 967-3724