Thursday, January 7, 2010

Credit Report: Looking in past days!

How to Review Your Credit Report

Review your credit report carefully when you receive it. Why?

* Discover and correct errors: Credit reporting errors can cause your applications for credit, employment, or housing to be denied unexpectedly and unfairly. If possible, order and review your credit reports at least six months in advance of applying for a major loan to allow enough time to dispute any errors that you might find, and give you time to prepare an explanation for any remaining inaccuracies to a potential creditor.
* Get a snapshot of how creditors see you: Lenders want to know how you’ll perform as a borrower. Once you’ve identified any weaknesses in your credit file, you can work to resolve them and improve your appeal as a borrower in the eyes of creditors.
* Become aware of identity theft in its early stages: Most people don’t know they’ve been a victim of identity theft for months or even years after their identity is initially stolen. I was fortunate to discover that my identity was stolen after only 2 months. The sooner you recognize and address identity theft, the sooner you can minimize any damage to your credit and your finances. I keep tabs on my identity (since it was stolen) by monitoring my credit.

What’s in a Credit Report?

Although each of the three credit reporting agencies uses a slightly different format, all credit reports contain the same four main types of information:

* Identifying data
* Credit history
* Credit inquiries
* Public information

Identifying Data

The identifying information in your report comes primarily from your past credit and loan applications. This section will generally include the following data:

* Your full name, including any nicknames and suffixes (e.g., Jr., Sr., III) used to apply for credit
* Your spouse’s name, if you’re married
* Your Social Security number
* Your birth date
* Your current and previous addresses
* Your current and previous employers

Credit History

The credit history is the most important section of your credit file. It lists every credit account opened in your name. Each listing contains the following information:

* Name of creditor and account number
* Type of account (revolving, installment, etc.)
* Date account was opened
* Payment history, including late or missed payments and collection referrals
* Credit limit or original loan amount
* Current balance due
* Date of last payment
* Date information was last reported
* Number of months information has been reported
* Authorized users, if any