Discover the Secrets of how to read your Credit Report and What the Credit Agencies are Reporting About You.
How do lenders come up with Credit Scores that determine how much money you can borrow? Under the Law, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your credit reports are accurate and quite frankly, that’s a little scary if you don’t know how to read your credit reports. We get calls from people every day that want to know how to read a credit report and what to do about inaccurate information listed on it. While there are some nuances to it, every credit report is made up of 5 sections:
Section 1: The Header. This section contains personal information about you. The first section of any credit report is going to contain information such as your name, other names you have used, current and previous addresses, phone numbers and sometimes, your place of employment.
Section 2: Public Records – In this section, you will find information about judgments, liens and bankruptcies. Each of these items, judgments, liens and bankruptcies can severely damage a credit score. Credit reports can really get messed up in this section because judgments rarely contain the defendant’s address and never contain a social security number. If there are two Joe Smiths in Detroit, Michigan and a judgment gets entered against one of them, it will probably show up on the other Joe Smith’s credit report as well.
Section 3: Collection Items – This section lists all items that have been turned over to a collection agency. Some dangers to look out for in this Section are; 1. A debt collector reporting a debt with a newer date then it actually is. This illegal practice is called “Re-aging.” It results in a negative item remaining on your credit report for longer than allowed by law. 2. Debt collectors adding fees and costs to a debt that you may owe. 3. A debt that is paid, but the collection agency lists this debt in a collection status anyway.
Section 4: Trade lines – This section contains information about what current and former creditors are saying about you and how you handle credit. In this section, you will notice creditors reporting things such as the highest balance on your account as well as late payments, current status of the account and other details.
Section 5: Credit Pulls – Items listed in this section contain a list of people and companies who have pulled your credit report in the previous two years. Note, if you apply for an auto loan, dealers will send your credit application to several lenders to see if anyone wants to finance you. Each of those lenders are going to pull their own credit report on you. While each pull of a credit report normally dings your credit score or FICO, (the company that actually sells credit scores based on the data that they receive from the credit bureaus), these pulls are counted as one pull.
Now that you know how to read a credit report, you can pull your own credit report for free by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. You get one free copy of your credit reports, once a year, from this website. Look at all 5 sections and see what your credit reports are saying about you. If you have mistakes or errors on your credit reports, or you think the information isn’t accurate, email me, Attorney Gary Nitzkin at Gary@crla.com or call us at Credit Repair Lawyers of America for a free no obligation consultation (888) 293-2882. We are happy to review your credit reports with you, for free, to make sure that they are clean and accurate.