Help Reading A Credit Report

Reading a Report

In the following paragraphs you'll find a step-by-step explanation of how to read and interpret each section of your credit report.

I.D. Section

Here you'll find identifying information like:
  • name
  • current address
  • social security number
  • date of birth
  • spouse's name (if applicable)

Easy, right? But don't just skim over this section. Read all the entries to make sure everything is correct.

Credit History Section

This is the meat of the report. It contains a list of open and paid credit accounts and indicates any late payments reported by creditors. Although it may seem a little tedious, it's essential that you read through this section very thoroughly.

The basic format for the credit history section (see sample) is as follows:
  • Company Name - identifies the company that is reporting the information.
  • Account Number - lists account number with the company.
  • Whose Account - Abbreviations may vary depending on the reporting agency but here are some of the most common:
  • I - Individual
  • U - Undesignated
  • J - Joint
  • A - Authorized User
  • M - Maker
  • T - Terminated
  • C - Co-maker/Co-signer
  • S - Shared

  • Date Opened - This is the month and year the account was opened with the credit grantor.
  • Months Reviewed - Lists the number of months the account history has been reported.
  • Last Activity - Indicates the date of the last activity on the account. This may be the date of your last payment or last charge.
  • High Credit - Represents the highest amount charged or the credit limit. If the account is an installment loan, the original loan amount will be listed.
  • Terms - For installment loans, the number of installments may be listed or the amount of the monthly payments. For revolving accounts, this column is often left blank.
  • Balance - Indicates the amount owed on the account at the time it was reported.
  • Past Due - This column lists any amount past due at the time the information was reported.
  • Status - A combination of letters and numbers are used to indicate the type of account of the timeliness of payment.
Abbreviations for the type of account are as follows:
  • O - Open
  • R - Revolving
  • I - Installment
  • Abbreviations for Timeliness of Payment varies among agencies. Numbers are used to represent how current you are in your payments. Current or paid as agreed is usually represented by 0 or 1. Larger numbers (up to 9) indicate that an account is past due.
  • Date Reported - Indicates the last time information on this account was updated by your creditor.