Credit reports can be lengthy, tedious and seemingly repetitive. There are also a lot of tricky credit report terms that may be confusing for most. However, ACCC has a few great tools to help you work through the tough parts.
Tools for Navigating Credit Report Terms
How to View Your Credit Report
Understanding credit report terms starts with taking a look at your actual credit report. A consumer can request his/her credit report anytime. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act entitles consumers to one free credit report each year from each of the three main credit bureaus.
To view your report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only website to get your free credit report. You may also call 1-877-322-8228 or send a written request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Using A Credit Report Guide
It’s one thing to view your own credit report; it’s another thing to understand it. ACCC’s Sample Credit Report can be the perfect guide to help you navigate this tricky document.
This sample report is broken down into 6 sections:
- Personal Information
- Credit Summary
- Negative Information
- Creditor Contact Information
Put these documents side-by-side to work through it. You can also view this Understanding Credit Reports video to get a better handle on credit reports.
Defining the Tough Credit Report Terms
Here is a list of credit report terms that may need more explaining.
- High Credit: the highest amount ever owned total credit limit.
- Balance: total owed on all accounts.
- Available Credit: difference between the credit limit and how much you owe.
- Inquiries: requests for your credit history.
- A hard request can negatively impact a credit score while a soft request will not.
- Available Credit: percent of credit available for revolving, check, credit and open accounts.
- Credit Limit: maximum credit amount approved by credit grantor.
- Balance: balance owed as of the date verified.
- Terms: minimum required payment or number of payments, payment frequency and dollar amount agreed upon.
- Verified: date of the last update on the account.
- Delinquency: accounts that have missed payments reported to the credit bureaus.
- Account Rating: a rating from 0-9 based on credit newness and delinquency.
- Charged Off: the creditor does not expect to collect a balance owing and chooses to transfer the account to an accounting category such as ‘bad debt’ or ‘charged to loss’. These accounts are usually turned over to collection agencies. This is the most adverse status reported on accounts. (source: Equifax)
If you have any more questions about credit, debt or managing your finances, call American Consumer Credit Counseling today at 800-769-3571.