Most people who see their credit report for the first time are overwhelmed, and rightfully so. What do all of these sections mean, and why do they matter? Let’s break down how to read your credit report.

  • Public Records: Public records are notes of negative information on your credit report. Here’s where you’ll see things like bankruptcy, foreclosures, tax liens, court records and judgments. These items can stay on your report between 7 and 10 years.
  • Collection Items: If you didn’t pay your bills and have items in collections, they will show up here. These items negatively affect your score, so try to avoid having anything reported in this section by paying all of your debts on time.
  • Account Information: This is where all of your accounts that are being reported to the credit bureaus are listed. Here, you can see what accounts are open and your payment history.
  • Inquiries: Only “hard inquiries” show up here (remember, Quizzle is considered a “soft inquiry”). Companies that pull your credit report will be listed in this area. Be sure to spread out the amount of companies pulling your report.
  • Consumer Statements: Consumer statements give you the opportunity to explain any negative information on your credit report. This is a great place to put a statement if you’ve been a victim of identity theft or fraud, where you can explain your less than stellar report.
  • Personal Information: You will find information such as your name, date of birth, social security number, addresses that you’ve been associated with, and employment information. Be sure to check that this information is accurate.
  • Creditor contact information: Wondering how to get in touch with your creditors? Their names and contact information will be available in this section of your credit report.

Now that you know the information listed on your credit report, study it carefully and make sure everything that’s supposed to be there is present.