What You Should Look For on Your Credit Report

A typical account on your credit report can easily contain 50 to 100 unique bits of information, from creditor details to a three-year history of your payments, from your current account balance to the highest account balance you have had. How are you to know which of all these data you should care about most?

Here is a step-by-step process to help you find information that will give you an idea of whether your credit is doing well, is in need of some TLC, or is requiring some emergency attention.

  1. Verify that the names, addresses, and phone numbers listed under the Identifying Information section belong to you. Don’t worry about misspellings or transcription errors. However, if you see the name of your ex’s new partner, your long-lost cousin, or a name that is completely erroneous, this might be a sign that you should take extra care to look at the accounts on your credit report for the possibility of identity theft or fraud. Do the same with the addresses and phone numbers listed.
  2. Go through your trade lines sections to make sure you recognize every single account listed. It can be difficult to identify accounts, especially if they are collections. However, collection accounts will list the original creditor under their details. Mark any account you do not recognize and return to it at the end to do further research or to dispute. Keep in mind that even after paying off an account or when a collection agency transfers an account to another agency, that account will continue to show on your report for up to seven to ten years.
  3. Go through each account, one by one, looking to verify that the reported balance, account status (e.g. paid as agreed vs. charged off), and history of payments are accurate. If you see something that looks inaccurate – keeping in mind that information is only reported once a month – highlight it and return to it to either research or dispute.
  4. Look over the businesses listed under your reports’ hard inquiries section. If you see any businesses listed there that you do not recognize from having applied for a loan, line of credit or an account with them in the past two years, highlight and note the account for a possible dispute.
  5. Return to do some extra research on the items you highlighted. If you believe they are inaccurate or in error, use the credit bureaus’ error dispute options to have them removed. If you would like details on how to dispute errors, we are happy to help. The following segment explains in just eight easy steps how to request the removal of errors and fraudulent activity from your report.
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