How To Read And Understand Your Credit Report
Most credit reports consist of six basic categories:
• CREDITORS, OR LENDERS
• HISTORY OF ACCOUNT
• COMMENTS, REMARKS, DETAILS
• STATUS (when account was opened/closed & current status)
• PUBLIC RECORDS (taxes, liens, judgments, bankruptcies)
These categories may vary, however Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA) by law have to make it reasonably easy for the general public to understand. Many CRA’S show negative information as codes or symbols. Look for a key or a map to help understand what the codes mean, make note of and highlight any negative entries found.
Negative entries may appear as:
30/60/90: 30, 60, 90 Days delinquent or past due.
P&L: Profit and Loss (Creditor considers debt noncollectable)
C/O: Charged Off (Bad Debt, Balance still owed.)
COLL: Seriously Delinquent, (usually sold to a collection agency).
REPO: Voluntary or involuntary repossession of merchandise. (usually associated with a vehicle)
BANKRUPTCY: Chapter 7 , 11 , 13.
SETTLEMENT: Paid less than full amount of debt owed.
JUDGMENTS, GARNISHMENTS, LIENS: Legally recorded.
DEBT MANAGEMENT/CREDIT COUNSELING: Enrollment in a financial help program that reduces interest rates and fees, implying you may be having financial difficulty, may also be reported as a third party paying your bills. Many prospective lenders will view this as a chapter 13 bankruptcy or hardship program.
Duplicate accounts: Same account reported more than once, this will imply that you have more outstanding debt then you actually owe, and may lower your credit rating.
Inquiries: Too many inquiries can lower your score READ MORE
When you receive your report examine it VERY CAREFULLY. Make certain that all information is current and accurate. If you find any error (for example, a loan that you have PAID OFF but still listed as outstanding), you can take immediate action to correct the error.
Good Information On Your Report
Now that you have obtained your report and understand what looks bad you may want to take the time to understand what makes a good credit report. Below I have stated a few things that determine what a good credit report should look like: