Understanding Your Credit Report
It’s one thing to request a copy of your credit report; it’s quite another task to understand what it says.
Your report will detail:
- Personal identifying information, such as your name, nicknames, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, date of birth, and current and past employers
- All the consumer credit that has been extended to you over the past 7 years, including the names of the creditors, dates the accounts were opened, payment patterns over time, and names of joint owners or cosigners
- The highest and lowest balances from each of your creditors
- The number of payments made on time to each creditor
- The number of late payments and how late they were
- Public records such as tax liens, monetary judgments, or overdue child support payments
- Bankruptcy filings
- Names of companies or individuals who have requested a copy of your report within the last 2 years
Click here to see what your credit report will look like.
You may be surprised to find how much information is in your report. For example, you may have decided a long time ago to cut up a number of retail, gas, or even major credit cards, but forgot to tell the issuing company. Just because you’ve stopped using your card doesn’t mean the creditor has reported your account as closed even if it’s been years.
Having too many open lines of credit may affect your ability to get approved for a major loan, so it benefits you to check your report to close out any old accounts and/or correct any inaccurately reported items.