How To Review Your Credit Report

Reviewing your credit reports is a serious practice. Every few months, if not every month, you should review your credit reports to monitor your debt control, and finances and well as to ensure that all the information is accurate, and that negative items are dealt with. 

This is one of the most effective ways of growing your credit score. Once this has become a habit seek the counsel of specialist credit firms like Fair Credit to further safeguard your credit and financial future.

Why Is It Important To Review My Credit Reports?

A credit report is a record of your financial habits. Lenders and rental agents look at your credit report before accepting loan applications, or rentals to see if you are responsible with your spending. Lenders, and rental agents want to make sure that you are a reliable borrower, so they will analyze whether you made your debt repayments timeously, or have a history of non-payment. 

Remember that your credit report might differ from bureau to bureau, depending on which bureaus have been informed of any problems by lenders, or debt collectors. 

How Do I Access My Credit Reports?

You are entitled to one free credit report every year from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, through the “annual credit report” website. To obtain your credit report if you have already requested your free copies, you must contact the bureaus directly – you will have to pay for these copies.

Do not let this stop you from checking your report more than once a year! Set aside some money to get your report every few months so that you can review it consistently. 

How Is A Credit Report Structured And What Does It Contain?

It may seem daunting to review your reports because of all the terminology, the numbers, and the way in which the information is ordered. 

Read through our breakdown of how to review your credit report. It is simple, effective, and timesaving.

Your credit report is divided into four main sections, namely:

  • Personal— Information pertaining to your identity, past and present addresses, previous and current employers, and your Social Security number.
  • Credit accounts—This section includes information on current and past loans, credit accounts, limits, and current balances, as well as your payment histories. This includes positive, and negative information.
  • Public record information—This section includes information about any tax liens, bankruptcies or judgments filed against you in court. 
  • Inquiries—This section includes information about businesses that have requested your credit report within the last 30 days, as well as any hard inquiries that you have made within the last 30 days.

Your credit summary will provide you with a list of the open credit accounts in your name. Your credit limits, payment history, and any amount owing will be visible. The summary could appear in the form of a table. The table displays data about your open accounts, ranging from your mortgage to any revolving credit. The last line usually displays the totals for each column (point).

If you search online, you will be able to find a chart showing the KEY that is used to indicate certain activities. For example, “Pays or Paid as Agreed” is represented by an asterisk (*) and a Repossession is represented by a capital “R”.

What Must I Look For When I Review My Reports? 

A list of what to check for according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

  • Closed accounts reported as open
  • Incorrect balances
  • Incorrect credit limits
  • Being reported as owner of an account that you were an authorized user for
  • Incorrect dates
  • Accounts inaccurately labeled as late or delinquent
  • Accounts listed multiple times

What Can I Do If There Is Inaccurate Information On My Report?

Note that credit is legally required to explain information on your report that you don’t understand. If you have questions, call the bureau from which you obtained the report, and they will help you to understand further.

Credit bureaus have the legal responsibility to report accurate information. However, it is your prerogative to ensure that the information on your report is correct. If you dispute information on your report, the bureau is legally required to investigate the disputed information and correct the inaccuracies or errors that have been reported.

Bottom Line

You must take responsibility for your credit report. Preferably, check your reports more than once a year to scan them for any inaccurate information, which could be signs of fraudulent activity, to ensure that you have settled all debts, and to work on improving your credit score by reviewing your accounts and history.