October 2, 2014 by Lisa Brammer
In last week’s blog “How to check your credit report” we talked about the importance of checking your credit report and how to obtain a copy of your free annual credit report. This week we are going to discuss what you can expect to find in your report.
Before I tell you what you will find in your report, I’m going to tell you what you won’t—and that’s your credit score. I remember the first time I ordered my credit report. I quickly scanned the pages looking for my score, when it wasn’t there I was so disappointed. The law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report, but not your credit score. If you want to know your score, you’re going to have to pay for it. If you see an offer for a free score be careful, it usually has strings attached. In order to receive a credit score for “free” you must sign up for a credit monitoring service or something like that.
The thing is, you really don’t need to know your credit score. As long as you have the information in your credit report you should have all the necessary information to understand how potential lenders will view your credit worthiness.
There are four, possibly five, key types of information contained in your credit report:
1. Personal identifying information – This would include your name, any former names such as a maiden name or married name, date of birth, your current address, previous addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security number, and at least one previous employer along with their contact information.
2. Credit information – Good or bad, credit information will include current and past accounts, and loans. If you have any past due accounts or accounts that are in collections, they should be listed along with accounts that are in good standing—ones you are paying on time as agreed upon.
3. Public record information – Here you will find any accounts you might have that contain a court document. These would include bankruptcy filings, unpaid liens, or civil judgments.
4. Recent inquiries – Whenever you apply for credit, the potential lender will request a copy of your credit report. One to two years of these inquiries will be listed on your report.
5. Optional consumer statement – If there is a negative—credit harming—entry on your report you have the option of adding a statement (up to 100 words) as a way to clarify what occurred.
The first thing you should do when viewing your report is check for errors—they do happen. If you do see an error, contact the credit bureau and the creditor that reported the inaccurate information. The credit bureau must investigate your claim within 30 days. Ask the creditor to provide proof of the disputed item. If they do not provide proof, the erroneous information will be removed.
Remember to check your report at least once a year and before any major credit requiring purchase. This way you won’t have any surprises when meeting with possible lenders.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com or call 877-723-2902.