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Making Sense Of It All: Reviewing Your Credit Report

Apr 16, 2008
Your credit report contains so much information about you and your spending habits that it can be difficult to make heads or tails of it. The first thing that you should know though, is that not all credit reports will look exactly the same. The three main credit reporting agencies all use different formats and setups. Another thing to keep in mind: creditors may not report to all three reporting agencies which means that information contained in one report might not show up in another. this is why it is extremely important to order all three reports at once and review them simultaneously.

OK, now that you have all three credit reports in front of you, let us get started. At the top of your report will be personal information about you: your name, addresses, employment, etc. Quickly go over this to make sure it is all correct. A simple typo on something as simple as your name could spell big trouble later, so examine your report carefully.

The next section of your report is dedicated to adverse or negative accounts. This includes all late payments, charge offs, collections, foreclosures, liens, bankruptcies, etc. For each account there will be a lot of information. Pay special attention to the balance owed and original balance. Check to see who the creditor is. For files sent to collection, you may have to look at the original creditor to figure out what the debt was for. There will also be a section dedicated to creditor information and a notation telling you when the file is expected to drop off of your credit report.

In the next section you will find all of your satisfactory accounts. This includes all accounts that have been paid off or are being paid off as agreed.

Next you will find inquiries. Inquiries can be broken down into three categories: regular inquires, promotional inquiries and account review inquiries. You only need to worry about the first type. These are inquiries that you initiate when you apply for credit.

If you see something that does not make sense in any of the above sections, take note of it. In most cases, the phone number and contact information for each entry will be directly underneath the entry. You can find out more information about the entry by contacting the company who is responsible for the entry. Keep a list of anything that does not seem quite right. You will refer to this list when it comes time to dispute entries on your credit report.

Wrapping up your credit report is information on your rights and how to go about disputing an error on your report. If your report contains any errors or if you have questions concerning your report, you should use all of the resources available until the issue is resolved or your questions are answered. Nearly three quarters of all credit reports contain errors. Yours may be one of them.
About the Author
J Delgado is an expert in helping individuals restore there credit. To find out more about having foreclosures, bankruptcies, late payments and other derogatory items removed from your credit report contact him at creditexpert@scrubyourcredit.com or at: http://www.scrubyourcredit.com
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