Your credit report is a crucial piece of your financial history and one that you should check on a regular basis in order to confirm its accuracy and your own financial history. There are multiple pieces to this report. As such, here is a quick review of the various pieces, as well as an overview of what you should look for.
Personal Identifiable Information
Of the various sections of your credit report, this might be the easiest to review and verify. This is literally just your personal information, including your name, address, social security number, and other pieces of contact information. There is also information on here of a more personal nature, including anyone who may have a power of attorney over you, as well as any credit freezes.
There is nothing in here that can directly impact your credit score, but it is important that you review this section of your credit report to ensure that it is accurate, as a failure to confirm its accuracy could potentially make it harder for borrowers to find and pull accurate information about you and your credit. Furthermore, it is important to keep an eye on this section of your report if your name or address were to change, as you always want your most up to date contact information to be reported to the credit bureaus.
Here’s where the meat of your credit report starts to come into play. Credit accounts are just what they sound like: How many credit accounts are open in your name and what the last reported balance of these accounts is. It will also have other information, including your credit history with that account and when the account was opened. Finally, the account will list whether or not it is an account in good standing, meaning a determination about whether or not you have been paying your bills on time. If there are negatives on your account, that means you have missed or late payments.
It is important to check out this section of your account, as it is possible that you may have missed or late payments that you weren’t even aware of. This will give you a chance to address these issues in order to prevent them from becoming major problems on your credit report.
Credit inquiries are the so-called “hard pulls” of your credit report. If you have applied for a new loan or credit card, it will appear here, as these lenders will pull a copy of your credit report in order to evaluate their risk in extending a line of credit to you. This section will also list the “soft” inquires, which is what lenders will request before pre-approving you for certain offers. Hard inquiries will count against your score, but soft inquiries will not, and soft inquiries can only be seen by you. Keep in mind that even those hard inquiries will only affect your score for a few months, and they are usually worth any potential hit to your credit score if it means being offered a new loan.
If you’ve had major credit problems, they will be listed here. The public records section of your report will list types of bankruptcies that you may have had, tax liens, or debt that has been sent to collections. The state in which you live can also have an impact on what is on this section of the report, as some states may also list if you have had a foreclosure or repossession filed against you. It will also list the type of bankruptcy or debt.
The good news here is that this section won’t be on your credit report forever, and after a set period of time, it will be removed. Unfortunately, depending on the action, this can take several years.
It is important that you periodically review your credit report in order to confirm its accuracy and determine whether or not there are payments or actions against you that you may have missed. Remember, nothing in your credit report is set in stone, and it is certainly possible that there are errors on the report or fraudulent claims that have been filed against you. If that is the case, you should work with the credit reporting agencies and take action as soon as possible to have these issues removed.