How do I read my consumer credit report?

Once you have your consumer credit reports in hand, you should review them carefully. The reports from each of the consumer credit reporting agencies differ in format, clarity and completeness. Some are easier to read and understand.

There are several critical pieces of information you should check for in every report you receive:

  1. Verify that all of the information about your identity is correct. Check to make sure there are no errors in your name, address, current employment and social security number, or in any other personal information such as your date of birth or the name of your spouse.
  2. Make sure that debts charged to you are truly yours. Check to make sure that there are no accounts, debts, bankruptcies, tax liens or other judgments that do not belong to you or are still listed as open even though they have been resolved.
  3. Make sure your payment history and balances are accurate.
  4. Verify that errors you successfully disputed have been corrected.
  5. Check that information is accurate and not misleading. Make sure that the status of your accounts is correct. Some accounts may be inaccurately marked as delinquent or in collections.
  6. Make sure that your information reported by each of the three bureaus is complete and consistent.

If you find errors or incomplete information take action to fix your report immediately. Click here to learn about fixing errors in your consumer credit report.