What Does the Information on Your Credit Report Really Mean?

Your credit report is a vital tool used by lenders to qualify you for a loan, apartment, and more. However, despite how crucial credit reports are, most people don’t know how to read theirs. Understanding your credit report can help you plan to do things like apply for a mortgage at your credit union and get a better rate on your credit card. There are four basic parts of a credit report. Here is what you need to know. 

Poor Credit Score

Identifying Information

The first part of your credit report simply contains basic information about you, like your name and address. Look closely for any errors. A simple typo in your name or Social Security number could have major repercussions on your report. Alert the credit bureau that issued the report if you find any misinformation.

Credit History

Your credit history lists all of your credit accounts, such as credit cards and loans, as well as the total amount of each loan or maximum limit on each card, what your balance is, and what your payment history is. It also says if any of your accounts have been charged off by the creditor, meaning that you didn’t pay the account in full but the creditor has stopped collection efforts. Old accounts stay on your credit history for seven years.

Public Records

The public records section lists any financial issues you’ve had that were settled in court, such as a judgment against you, a tax lien, or a bankruptcy. Entries in this section are the most detrimental to your overall credit score.

Inquiries

The inquiry section lists everyone who has checked your credit score. These include hard inquiries—credit checks that were initiated by you when you filled out an application for something—and soft inquiries, which are made by companies trying to pre-qualify you for credit offers.

At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, we take our commitment to educating our members about good financial decisions seriously. Our credit union staff is always here to help you understand credit reports, savings strategies, loans, and more. Visit one of our credit union locations or call us at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

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