- How to obtain a copy of your credit report
- What your credit report includes
- How to read a credit report
- How to dispute credit report
- Understanding credit report score
How to obtain a copy of your credit report
- Your report is inaccurate detail due to fraud or identity theft
- You're unemployed and are looking for a job within the next 60 days
- If you've been turned down for a loan, you can get a free report within 60 days of denial
- You're on welfare
In order to get a free credit report, you can call the toll-free number 1-877-322-8228, or you can request for free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com the central website set up by the credit bureaus. You can also fill out the Annual Credit Report Request form available at the website and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
However, when you aren't able to get a free credit report, you need to buy it for $10.50. If you'd like to get your credit score, you'll have to purchase it, as free credit report scores are not available.
Whether you get a free credit report or pay for it, you'll have to provide personal and financial details to the bureaus. Once you provide the details, it'll take 15 days to get the report. If you request your credit report online, you will be able to access it instantly.
What your credit report includes
- Personal Information: This includes -
- Your name, address & contact number
- Social security number
- Your date of birth
- Current and previous employers' names
- Tradelines: This section includes -
- The types of credit accounts or loans you have
- The date when you opened the account
- Credit limit or loan amount
- Your account balance Account Status (open, inactive, closed, paid)
- Payment history (late payments, default, charge off etc)
- Inquiries: This is the list of the creditors, lenders, and anyone else who has accessed your credit report so far. Inquiries include -
- Soft inquiry (involuntary): This occurs when you check your report/credit history or when the lender/creditor checks your report for promotional purposes.
- Hard inquiry (voluntary): This occurs when lenders or creditors pull your report when you apply for loans or credit.
Only hard inquiries are shown to lenders when they order a copy of your report. Soft inquires are shown when you ask for your credit report.
- Public records and collections: This includes -
- Liens, judgments, foreclosure, and bankruptcies
- Wage garnishments
- Reports from State and County courts
- Collection accounts along with the name and contact details of the CA
How to read a credit report
How to read credit report tradelines
You'll find a letter beside each tradeline or credit account stating your relationship to that account. Here's what some of the letters mean: J = Joint, I = Individual, A = authorized User, C = Co-maker, T = Terminated
When looking at the types of credit accounts, the letters mean:
O = Open account, R = revolving account and I = Installment account.
Also, there are numbers which indicate your account payment status:
0 = Approved but not yet used or too new to rate
1 = Paid as agreed
2 = Past due for 30 days or more
3 = Past due for 60 days or more
4 = Past due for 90 days or more
5 = In collection or past due for 120 days or more
7 = Making regular payments
8 = Repossession
9 = Charge off
There are also combinations like:
O1 = Paid as agreed open account
R1 = Paid as agreed revolving account.
How to read your credit report inquiries
Let's consider the codes used by Equifax:
PRM = You have been pre-approved by a creditor
AM or AR = Your creditor has pulled credit report to check if there's any change in your financial situation.
How to dispute a credit report - Credit report repair
You need to support your claim with copies of your billing statements or cancelled checks, a copy of your credit report, and a return receipt request with the certified letter. This will provide the credit bureau with evidence of the dispute. Make sure you keep a copy of everything you send to either the creditor, collection agency, or credit bureau in a safe place.
The credit bureaus take 30 days to investigate any inaccurate information. The bureaus may even send you a free credit report if there has been any change to it after they have fixed any errors.
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