How to read your credit report

Your credit report will contain this information:

An example credit report.

Information about you — Your name, current and previous address, Social Security number, date of birth, and other information to identify you is listed.

Public record information — In this area, you’ll find any information that is listed about you in the records of local, state, or federal courts.

Collection agency account information — If you fail to pay back one of your creditors, they may hire a collection agency to contact you. This is a company that specializes in collecting money to pay off debts.

Your credit history — This is a list of all the places where you have credit — or used to have credit. These are called your accounts. The credit history section is divided into twelve columns.

Credit history section of a credit report. For each lender, 12 columns of information are listed. Column 1 is company name. Column 2 is account number. Column 3 is labeled “whose account”. Column 4 is date opened. Column 4 is monthly review. Column 6 is date of last activity. Column 7 is high credit. Column 8 is terms.Column 9 is balance as of date reported. Column 10 is past due as of date reported. Column 11 is status as of date reported. Column 12 is date requested.

Inquiries — This is a list of the companies that have requested a copy of your credit report for their review.

If you find an error on your credit report, or suspect someone is fraudulently opening accounts in your name, or trying to steal your identity, contact the credit bureaus immediately to fix errors or place a fraud alert on your report.

Learn more about how to read your credit report.

Click the Next button to learn about credit cards.