Understanding Your Credit Report

A credit report is an important document when it comes to applying for credit cards or loans. It acts as an overview of your credit history for lenders and they use this to base their decision on giving you credit. The information within the report will detail your recent credit actions, how many accounts you currently have or had and repayment history.
A credit report is not an easy document to read and when you are applying for credit or a loan, it is important that you understand what it says about you. This article will help you in understanding your report.

The basics

The information that is included in your credit report will be grouped into easy-to-digest categories: Personal information, Public record information, Account information and Credit inquiries. The personal information will consist of your basic information such as names, date of birth, your employment and address history. It is always best to make sure that this information is up to date and correct.

The public record information will be any material regarding any relevant public details that include any County Court Judgements, repossessions or bankruptcy and any instances in which you may have been a victim of fraud. While the last one will not be held against you, it is used to give an overall picture of financial risk.

Credit inquiries is the most important section of the report and used to give an idea of how you handle debt. The information here will detail all your credit accounts, when they were opened and their limits. There will also be information regarding any loans, big or small and these details stay on your report for six years. Any defaults and missed payments will also be noted.
The last section, inquiries, will list any instances where there has been a request to see your credit report in the last two years.

What is not shown on my credit report?

A credit report will only give a lender an idea how you manage your credit. It will not show what you have bought with credit cards or loans and will not show any savings accounts. It is just a report of your credit history and does not include any personal information such as age, salary and religion.

Finally, what will be shown is your credit score. It is easy to be intimidated by the numerical value given in the score, especially if the value is lower than 600, but it is important to remember that the number does not reflect you as a person. It can be improved if it is below the average through making some financial changes and budgeting.

With this brief guide, you should be able to understand your credit to help you when applying for credit in the future. Having an excellent credit report, free from defaults and missed payments is a sure fire way to get accepted for credit and while a bad score will prevent this from happening, you can take steps to change it. Report specialists offer monthly memberships to view your report as well as providing advice on how to read the financial jargon included in the report as well as 24/7 access across a range of devices.

Bill Turner enjoys spending time with his family and dogs. He is a free-lance writer and enjoys the great outdoors.