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Understanding a Credit Report

Your should regularly review your credit report so that you can resolve any errors and identify any areas that need your attention.

The sample credit report below shows basic information about Paul and Sylvia Smith. Sometimes, a credit report includes information about income; in this case, "refused" indicates that the couple's employers would not give income information to the credit bureau. Here is a brief description of the columns shown under Credit Information:

Creditor: The party that loaned money or allowed the Smiths to charge a purchase.

Reported Date: The date the creditor provided information to the Credit Bureau.

Open Date: The date the Smiths opened an account or began to owe a debt to each creditor.

Type: The type of debt. "CHG" means "revolving" credit card debts (e.g., MasterCard, Visa, department store credit cards). "I" means installment debt, such as a bank loan.

Amount: The total amount of debt borrowed from each creditor, or the available limit on revolving credit.

Balance: The amount left to be paid on the loan or charge card. More precisely, the difference between the total amount borrowed and the amount that has already been repaid.

Times Past Due: The number of times the Smiths have made payments late. The 000s indicate that the Smiths have not made late payments.

Payment Status: "As Agreed" means the accounts have been paid according to their agreement with the creditor. If the Smiths had a poor payment record on an account, the payment status column might show "DELINQ" or some similar term.

Collection: "Collection" means the account was referred to a collection agency. Subsequently, in April 1995, the Smiths paid the bill. Nevertheless, this reflects poorly on the couple's credit and could prevent them from qualifying for a mortgage loan.

Inquiries: Inquiries are requests to see a person’s credit report during the past three months. An inquiry, might indicate that the Smiths recently applied for a loan or credit, and new debt could affect the family's ability to qualify for a mortgage loan.


The Smith's Credit Report
Metro Ameriville Credit
500 Main Street
Ameriville, WZ 26000

Report # 9051275

Applicant: Paul Smith Soc. Security # 001-23-4567 Age: 28
Co-Applicant: Sylvia Smith Soc. Security # 001-23-4667 Age: 25
Address: 1902 Glen Dr.
Statesburg WZ 26000
Marital Status: Married
Housing Status: Rent
Dependents: 2
Applicant: Co-Applicant:
Employer: Car Land Employer: City School System
Position Held: Auto Mechanic Position Held: Teacher's Aide
Length of Time: 3 Length of Time: 3
Verified By: J. R. Deal Verified By: Anne Apple
Income: Refused Income: Refused
Previous Position: N/A Previous Position: N/A
Length of Time: N/A Length of Time: N/A


Reported Creditor Open Date Date Type Amt. Balance Times Past Due Payment Status
Dept Store 5/91 1/89 CHG 1100 160 000 As Agreed
Charge Card 5/91 3/89 CHG 2000 522 000 As Agreed
Dollar Bank 6/91 6/88 I 3000 220 000 As Agreed
Charge Card II 5/91 9/87 CHG 128 0 000 As Agreed
Collection Date Filled Amount Status
ABC Hospital 11/84 6,500 Paid 4/85
Inquiries within the past 90 days: