The law does not necessarily give you the ability to read a credit report. It is the one thing that many people have trouble doing. There is nowhere that is written that the credit bureau have to write it for you in plain sight in a manner that is easy to understand.
As much as many credit reports follow basic format, there are those that vary. This means, your ability to read the credit report is not necessarily applicable across board. In this respect, one of the best ways of getting it is through the translation on the source giving you a copy of it.
There are four part skeletons used by the credit bureau.
This information include your name, previous addresses, social security number, date of birth, current address, telephone number, driver’s license, name of employer, name of spouse and the length of employment. Just like many cases, you should pay keen attention on all of them because chances are that there is something wrong with some entries.
This is mostly because the information coming in gets to them from many sources and they do not update them or correct them. This then leaves you as the only person to make the corrections.
This is the longest part of the credit report. You can attribute this to the fact that you might have department store accounts, multiple credit cards, home equity loans, lines of credit and some other transaction using your credit. They are mostly referred to as trade lines by the bureau.
The accounts give a lot of information about you. For instance, total amount of loan you have with high credit limit. If they have fixed monthly amounts, how much you owe, personal loans, car loan or installments you have. It also shows your status whether active or closed. Follow these payments and know how well the accounts have been paid for.
It is here that you will get to know how you are listed. For example, if you are late on payments and how late you are and if you pay on time, it will indicate.
Public records and public inquiries
This is the place where you will find judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies and foreclosures listed. This is the part that has to be blank. If there is something listed here, ensure it is corrected, as it will impact negatively on you.
This is divided into two more parts. The first part involves those inquiries you fill out on credit application. It is the hard inquiry section as you initiate these inquiries. The second part is the soft inquiry section. It entails names of companies who have send offers of credit and your current creditors monitoring your account.
This can also be there and you need to read it as you can find what has been reported on you. In each credit, report there is an explanation of the terms. You can find them at the backside of your report pages. It is explained there the letters and numbers seen close to your accounts and their meaning. Therefore, know they are explained.