How to Read an Experian 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 Experian credit report use the following guidelines to read your report:

Personal Header Information

This section lists your full name, report number and report date. You will need to reference the report number, if you wish to contact Experian regarding your credit report.

Potentially Negative Information

Any information that may lead creditors to view you as a credit risk will be listed here. The following details will be listed: the name of the creditor, their address, your account number, account status, claim filed date, claim amount, claim resolved date and who bears the responsibility of resolving any claims or issues against the account.

In addition, this section will list any bankruptcies, foreclosures, judgments or liens in your credit history.

Credit Items

Here you will find all the credit accounts that you have or have had in the past. It will list the name of the creditor, their address, your account number, the type of account, the status of the account (e.g. paid or past due), the date on which the account was opened, the credit limit, payment terms (e.g. 12 months/year), monthly payments, recent balance and recent payment.

You will see a summary “credit history” for each of your accounts. The summary will indicate, whether the account has been to collections or was delinquent. In cases, where you are disputing items against the account, you will see a note indicating your dispute status.

Accounts in Good Standing

This is the good part. Every account you have listed here works towards a good FICO Score. You will find the name of the account creditor, their address, your account number, the type of account, the status of the account, the date on which the account was opened, the credit limit, payment terms (e.g. 12 months/year), monthly payments, recent balance and recent payment. If you closed the account, you will see a note indicating so.

Requests for your Credit History

Any inquiries against your credit file will be listed in this section. This section is divided into two subcategories: (a) Requests Viewed by Others (b) Request Viewed by You.

“Requests Viewed by Others” are inquiries against your credit report from creditors with whom, you have applied for credit lines or loans (e.g. mortgage loan or credit card application). Some inquiries may have been originated from potential employers. Each request will have details identifying the name of the requesting company, their address, the date on which they made the request and any comments regarding the request.

“Requests Viewed by You” are inquiries against your credit report by yourself or persons who have permission to review your credit file by law (e.g. creditors wanting to offer pre-approved credit, employer about to extend an offer of employment or consumer credit reporting bureau processing a request made by you). Each request will detail the name of the requesting company, their address, the date on which they made the request and any comments regarding the request.

Personal Information

This section will detail your personal information. “Names” will reflect all variations of your name (e.g. Sam J.Doe, Samuel J. Doe, S.J.Doe). Additional information will inclue your date of birth, social security number, current address, previous address, phone number, current employer and any personal statements that you have made to Experian regarding your credit report.

Note: By law, Experian cannot disclose medical information, therefore any accounts of the medical nature will be listed as “Medical Payment Data”.

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 Experian credit report

     

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