How to Read an Equifax Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the Nationwide Consumer Reporting organizations (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) to provide you with one free credit report every 12 months per your request. This means that you are entitled to three free credit reports per year, if you deem it necessary. You can stagger the requests or order all of them at the same time.
Each of the National Consumer Credit Reporting bureaus have a unique credit report format, but in essence they provide you with the same information. When you receive your free Equifax credit report use the following guidelines to read your report:
This section will detail your personal information: Name, Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, any former names, death notice information, current address, previous addresses, any other identification numbers that you may have, current employer and previous employers.
You will also find information about any fraud alerts that you may have against your credit report.
Account Information Summary
You’ll find a list of all your accounts here. Additional information will include account type, account number, date account was opened, account balance, any past due amount, account status and credit limit.
Any inquiries against your credit file will be listed in this section. This section is divided into two subcategories: (a) Inquiries that display to companies and may impact your credit score. (b) Inquiries that do not display to companies and do not impact your credit score.
“Inquiries that display to companies and may impact your credit score”
These are inquiries by potential creditors who are assessing whether to extend you a line of credit or not. Your credit score will be minimally affected and therefore these inquiries should not be of major concern, unless there are some red flags. The name of the company that requested the information and the date they requested it will be listed.
“Inquiries that do not display to companies and do not impact your credit score”
Unlike the previous inquiries – these do not “hurt” your credit score. They include inquiries for pre-approved credit lines, insurance, or account reviews by existing creditors. The name of the company that requested the information, the date they requested it and the type of inquiry will be listed.
Any accounts that have gone to collections will be listed here along with the name of the creditor, date reported, creditor type, your account number, original amount, dates of delinquency, outstanding balance and status information.
Bankruptcies, liens or judgments information from federal, state or county court records will be listed here. Each public record will indicate the type of record, case number, amount in default and any relevant information associated with that particular case.
You may also find the following credit report terms helpful:
CURR ACCT – Account is current in payments and in good standing. CUR WAS 30-2 – Account is current was 30 days late twice. PAID – Account has been paid off and has a $0 balance and is inactive. CHARGEOFF – Unpaid balance on account was reported as a loss by creditor and the creditor is no longer seeking reimbursement. COLLECT – Account is severely delinquent and assigned to collections. FORECLOS – Property was foreclosed. BKLIQREQ – Debt was forgiven due to Chapter 7, 11 or 13. DELINQ 60 – Account is 60 days delinquent. INACTIVE – Account is inactive.
Sample Equifax Credit Report
Equifax credit report