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The Smart Way To Read Your Credit Report

Oct 13, 2007
You might not realize but finding out the best way to read your credit report can actually save you a lot of time and money - it's not even that hard to get started, but there are some basics that you need to get your head around all the numbers, abbreviations and unfamiliar terms before reading your credit report.

Before going to a website and getting your credit report you need to be aware that you will need to get more then one create report.

The three main credit report agencies will have a copy of your report but your information will be inconsistent across all three of them - lenders will report your information to maybe only one or two agencies and that information might be incorrect.

Your personal information is no doubt old and out of date as when past lenders reported on your personal information they will only normally report it back to one of the agencies.

You need to get a copy from each one and make sure you do this regularly through out the year, it is recommended that you get a copy from all three first and then get one copy every 4 months - but get one at a time - only by getting your report through this process can you be sure you have the correct information.

The main resign for this is that its voluntary reporting process so the lenders don' have to by law report your information.

You need to make sure you get a consumer friendly report - don't ask your friend who may work at a bank to get your copy for you - as you will not be able to read it correctly - you need to get a consumer version.

The Credit report layout
Each report is divided into four sections falling under these categories - Identifying Information, Credit History, Public Records and Inquires.

Identifying information is quote obvious - it';s all the key information about you but make sure you look t this closely - this is the most common place for your report to be incorrect, especially check you social security number.

Other personal information is your address, phone numbers, date of birth, drivers licenses, your employment information and your spouses name.

The following section is your Credit History - this is the most important information that your new lender will look at to assess your credit worthiness required to make an assessment. You might see that individual accounts are called trade lines.

The accounts will include each creditors name and the associated account number (this could be disguised for security reasons) Note that you may have multiple account kinds with the one lender as they will create a new one if you move.

Here you will have information like the date you opened your account, total amount of the loan, if you've paid off the account well and one time. It will also state how much money you owe and the credit limit, and ofcause the account status.

Look out for "charge Off.'s these are big black marks that mean that the lender has given up chasing you and has noted that they did not receive the money they were owed.

Public Recored
You wan this section left totally pristine white - blank as can be. As having a report here will seriously impact your likelihood of gaining credit. bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens activities are listed here.

Inquiries - The Last Section
This the place that will note each inquiry that was made you your account - noted as a soft or hard "call"so if you If you call the credit bureau and ask for a copy it will be on there. It's great as it's a very detailed entry record.

"Hard" inquiries are ones you initiate by filling out a credit application - you wan to avoid these as they will have a negative impact on your report if you have too many but the good news is that it also counts two or more "hard" inquiries in the same 14-day period as just one inquiry.

Read your report carefully and report any mistakes to each credit agency so you can get them all fixed and consistent as soon as possible.

I hope you know how to read your Credit Report, so you have a good handle on what your information means.
About the Author
Find online bad Credit Report at Credit-Reporter.net .
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