Reading Your Credit Report

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Zalutsky & Pinski

We have talked a lot about your credit report in the past few columns. It is important that you can read and understand what the different sections mean. It is also important to know what your creditors are saying about you. A standard credit report is broken up into multiple sections. While credit reports can look different, they generally all have the same sections.

Personal Information – This section contains basic information about the subject of the credit report. The person’s name is listed along with other known names or spellings. If you have been married, your maiden and married name will appear. If your name or at least the spelling of your name is unusual, then there may be different spellings that appear here. There should also be information about prior addresses, employers, and phone numbers. Sometimes this information can be inaccurate which may be a sign that you are the victim of fraud.

Public Records – This section often refers to any court action involving your creditors. If you been sued by a landlord or other creditor the information should be contained in this section. If there have been any judgements against you, they should be listed here as well.

Liabilities – This section should reflect your history with creditors. The creditors can be organized in several ways but are usually broken down into subsections. Typically, the first is active accounts; those that are currently being paid on and are not in collection. Each entry should provide the creditor’s name and contact information along with details about the account. These details include when the account was open, the credit limit, the current balance, if there is a co-debtor and how you are paying. It should show if the account is current or has been 30, 60, 90, even 120 days late.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Usually following the active accounts are any existing adverse accounts. These are accounts that are past due or have been sent to collection. These accounts can really do a lot of damage to a credit score. It is also worth noting that these are the accounts best suited to debt settlement, which we will be discussing in the coming weeks. Finally, there are your closed accounts. One will also typically find a subsection for accounts without balances and/or closed accounts. These are the accounts that are generally either paid off or charged off.

Inquiries – This is usually the last section of your credit report and it provides a list of companies who have taken a peak at your credit report in the last two years. Every time you apply for credit, whether approved or denied, it should go in this section. Too many of these inquiries can also hurt your score.

So this is just a quick overview of the sections of a typical credit report. If you would like more information or assistance with reading your credit report or to discuss options including debt settlement or bankruptcy contact us at 312-767-0111, via email at or on the web at

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