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How To Read An Employment Credit Bureau Report

Each credit report bureau places an explanation of terms usually on the backside of the report pages. In it, they explain what the numbers and letters you see next to your accounts mean. So, if you see something like I9, it should be defined in the explanation of terms.

Credit Bureau reports contain the following:
Real Estate Accounts – Home mortgages.
Revolving Accounts – Store credit cards and lines of credit.
Installment Accounts – loans which are not related to real estate, such as auto or student loans.
Other Accounts -Accounts that fall into the other categories.
Collection Accounts – Accounts that have been sent turned over to collections.

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Your credit summary will also summarize the number of accounts you have open, closed, in public records, and the number of inquiries made against your credit within the past two years.

Your Account History
The account history section of your credit report contains the bulk of the information. This section includes each of your credit accounts and details about how you’ve paid.
Your account history will be very detailed, but it’s important that you read through it to make sure the information is being reported correctly.

Each account will contain the several pieces of information:
Creditor name of the institution reporting the information.
Account number associated with the account. The account number may be scrambled or shortened for privacy purposes.
Account type, i.e. revolving account, education loan, auto loan.
Responsibility. This indicates whether you have individual, joint, or authorized user responsibility for the account.
Monthly payment is the minimum amount you are required to pay on the account each month.
Date opened. The month and year the account was established.
Date reported is the last date the creditor updated the account information with the credit bureau.
Balance. The amount owed on the account at the time data was reported.

Credit limit or loan amount.
High balance or high credit is the highest amount ever charged on the credit card. For installment loans, high credit is the original loan amount.
Past due. Amount past due at the time the data was reported.
Remarks are comments made by the creditor about your account.
Payment status. Indicates the status of the account, i.e. current, past due, charge-off. Even if your account is current, it might contain information about previous delinquencies.
Payment history. Indicates your monthly payment status since the time your account was established.
Collection accounts may appear as part of the account history or in a separate section. Where it appears depends on the company providing your credit report.

Public Records
Public records include information like bankruptcies, judgments, tax liens, state and county court records, and, in some states, overdue child support. Depending on the type of account, a public record can remain on your credit report between 7-10 years.

What can be taken off my credit report? Any inaccurate, unverifiable accounts such as inquiries, old addresses, additional names on the report (you must have at least one name on your report), unpaid collections, charge-offs, repossessions, bankruptcies, medical bills, credit card debt, and divorce debts.

What can’t be taken off my credit report? There are certain things that just can’t be removed from you’re your credit report. Those things are federal and state tax liens, child support, new student loans, and any bankruptcies reported by the bankruptcy court.
What is a Good Score? The higher your credit score, the better; however, there is no real industry standard. Credit scores range from 350-850. Each creditor/lender judges your credit score differently and takes other factors into consideration when determining your eligibility and/or risk. Typically, anything above 690 is considered a great score. Below a 620 is frequently referred to as “sub-prime.”
How often do Credit Scores Change? Your credit score is fluid; it changes as your credit information changes. Anytime new information is added to your credit report, your credit score can change. The credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Equifax, Experian) usually update their credit data every 90 days.

I have a Number of Credit Cards. Will that Affect my Credit Score? Your overall credit history will determine how your credit is affected by having numerous credit cards. However, having an overabundance of credit cards with high balances or credit availability can negatively impact risk scores if your credit history is questionable.

How do you begin to establish credit? Consumers desirous of establishing a good credit record should start off by applying for a credit card. The companies that monitor credit history compile information based on your payments and responsible consumers build up a good credit report by promptly paying off what they owe. A second consideration, especially if the consumer did not qualify for a conventional credit card, is to apply for secured credit. This method lessens the lender’s risk by having access to some kind of guaranty from the borrower in case of default. An alternative way is to have a person with a proven history of good credit co-sign a loan. These co-signers are a form of guarantee diminishing the lender’s risk of non-payment.

Is There a Rule of Thumb Regarding the Number of Credit Cards to Have? In general, it’s better to have a few credit cards with high credit limits than a large number of cards with limited credit limits. Having credit cards with high credit limits demonstrates that you are responsible enough to carry a high credit limit on multiple cards.

Is it a Good Idea to Transfer my High Credit Card Balance to a New Card with a Rock-bottom Rate? If you want to transfer your credit card debt to a different card, you need to make sure that there are no catches with the introductory rate of the new card. For example, sometimes the low introductory interest rate on a card is only for a very limited time and then it skyrockets to an exuberant amount. You also need to ask if there are annual fees, late charges, or any other stipulations that might make transferring your credit card debt to a new card counter-productive.

So what is Credit Monitoring?
Credit monitoring is the automated process of keeping an eye on your credit. Credit monitoring helps protect you against identity theft and monitors any changes and/or inquiries made to your credit file by alerting you within approximately 24 hours of any major changes made to your credit file.

Will Credit Monitoring Hurt My Credit Score? No. Credit monitoring has no affect to your credit score. It’s simply a service that keeps your credit in check. The only time it affects your credit is when you ask a creditor to inquire about your credit.
Does Credit Monitoring Monitor my Credit with all Three Bureaus? The specific credit monitoring service you use will determine which credit bureau is referenced in monitoring your credit. Each credit monitoring service uses only one of the three bureaus to monitor your credit; however, since the activity you’re looking out for affects your credit across the board, it won’t matter which bureau your credit monitoring service uses. They’ll still be able to identify unexpected changes or discrepancies in your credit report.
How do I get a Hold of My Credit Report? 

There are three major credit bureaus that offer credit reports:
Trans Union

To get a copy of your credit report, contact one of these three bureaus. Each bureau interprets your credit information differently, so you might want to get a report from all three.

Can I get a Copy of My Credit Report at Any Time?
By law, you’re entitled to one free credit report annually from the credit bureaus. This can be accessed at: www.annualcreditreport.com – You can also request a free copy of your credit report if you were denied credit; however, you can only request a copy from the specific credit bureau that supplied the credit report to the creditor who denied you.
What Information do Credit Bureaus Collect about Me? Credit bureaus collect your identification information, employment history, credit inquiries, and any additional public records and data.

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