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A sample credit report shows examples of common features provided by Experts on consumer credit laws and regulations.

credit report

You can get a free credit report. But, do you know how to read and understand it? This interactive guide will help. First, we’ll look at how to acquire your report, then how to read and understand it once you get it.

One free report every 12 months.

Everyone is entitled by law to look at their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months free of charge, or you can buy a credit report from each of the three bureaus if you want to view your report more often.

The three large U.S. credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — were required by a 2003 federal law to set up AnnualCreditReport.com as a central online resource for report requests. You can also request your reports by calling 877-322-8228 or by downloading a request form and mailing it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Upon visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, users are directed to a form page and asked to provide personal identifying information, including name and address, Social Security number, and date of birth.

After submitting your basic information, you go to a page allowing you to select reports from the three large credit bureaus by checking boxes next to the Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion logos. You can select one or all the credit bureaus. Instructions discuss whether you should review all three reports immediately or whether you should spread the requests over a period.

The next step is designed to verify your identity. A page of questions appears about your creditors, loan terms, or other details on the credit report that you’re expected to know. You need to select the correct answers to get access to the credit report. The AnnualCreditReport.com site is integrated with the websites of the credit bureaus, making the transition from one to the other seamless. After requesting one report, you may return to the main site to repeat the process with another credit bureau.

If you use up your free credit report and want to check again for some reason, you can pay about $20 for each report. Or, you can get a free TransUnion credit report from CreditCards.com.

Sample credit report, with explanations

Many consumers have a difficult time understanding their credit reports and piecing the three reports together, so here are examples and explanations of the most common elements that appear in each of the three free credit bureau reports. Roll over the information icon (question_mark) for explanations.

Personal information Personal information is identifying information about the credit report requestor. Experian and TransUnion include this information at the beginning of your credit report, while Equifax puts it at the end of its report.

Name: JOE Q. CONSUMER
Other names: CONSUMER, JOSEPH Q.
Report number: XXXXXXX
A report number is generated by the three credit reporting agencies as a reference for consumers to use if they should need to contact the issuing bureau. Note this number when you need to contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion online, by phone or by mail.Report date: April 4, 2017

CURRENT ADDRESS:
Check to make sure your address information is accurate. 123 MAIN ST., NEW YORK, NY 12345

EMPLOYMENT DATA REPORTED Only some employers will report your employment information to one or all of the credit bureaus. Don’t panic if all your employment information is not recorded on this report. You can contact the individual credit bureaus to correct misreported employment data.
Employer name: CREDITCARDS.COM
Location: New York, NY
Date reported: 06/2012
Employer name: UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
Location: TX
Date reported: 08/2008

Public records
Public records are court judgments, wage garnishments, liens and bankruptcy files that may be reported to the credit bureaus.

ROCKWELL MUNICIPAL Docket#: 9B004875
5468 MLK AVE., SUITE 300, ROCKWELL, TX 97845 Type: Civil judgmentCourt type: MunicipalDate paid: 07/2012Assets: $1,089

Estimated date that this item will be removed 07/2019 

Only TransUnion includes an estimate for the date that a public record will be removed from your credit report.

Adverse accounts, potentially negative items

Adverse accounts, or potentially negative items, are credit accounts you have opened and have been reported as either unpaid or paid after a due date during one or more months throughout the history of the credit line. Even if you are current on your payments for a credit account, it still may be included in this section of your credit report — if you had ever missed or were late on a payment. All three bureaus allow you to dispute the information in this section if you can prove an error. Adverse accounts should fall off your credit report after 7 years, but you need to be sure that they do by checking your credit reports often and reporting overheld accounts.

COLLECTION RECOVERY SVC #321568
123 CHARLES ST. SUITE 202 CORONA, CA 92877-0137 (909) 898-4424 Balance: $0Date verified: 06/2011Original balance: $243Original creditor: SEARS ROEBUCKCredit limit: $500Past due:$0Terms:$72 for 23 months

Remarks: Paid collection
Estimated date that this item will be removed: 05/2021

DONOVAN & WILSON
1045 MAIN ST., SUITE 105
RIVERSIDE, CA 92501
(909) 781-1248
Balance:$12,745Date updated: 06/2011Original balance:$15,243

Estimated date that this item will be removed: 06/2018

The following item is suppressed pending credit grantor update If an item is suppressed on your credit report, it means that the credit reporting agency is withholding the account information from anyone besides you who requests your credit report. In this case, the item is being suppressed until the credit grantor, Discover Financial Services, updates the bureau about information that the bureau requested from them.
DISCOVER FINANCIAL SVC #6053000570658798
123 SMITH AVE. UNIT 55G WILMINGTON, DE 19850-5316 Phone number not available Balance:$2,145Date updated: 08/2012High balance:$25,463Collateral:2002 Chevy Collateral is property that the credit account holder uses to secure a line of credit. In this example, a truck loan was granted, and the credit grantee agreed to surrender his truck if he is unable to pay the loan.Past due:$136 Terms:$68 for 260 months

Loan type: Student loan
Remarks: Repossession
Maximum delinquency of 60 days in 07/2012 for $400
Estimated date that this item will be removed: 06/2019

Accounts in good standing, satisfactory accounts Accounts in good standing, or satisfactory accounts, are accounts that have been reported to the credit bureau(s) as paid on time and in full during a reported period of time, typically up to 53 months.

GMAC FINANCING #640006137129
78901 JENKINS CIR
FLOOR 15
MIAMI, FL 33025
Phone number not available
Balance:$1,145Date updated:08/2017High balance: $10,000Collateral: 2009 Dodge Ram Collateral is property that the credit account holder uses to secure a line of credit. In this example, a truck loan was granted, and the credit grantee agreed to surrender his truck if he is unable to pay the loan.Credit limit:$10,000Past due:$0Terms:$295 for 36 months

Loan type: Automobile
Remarks: Paid by insurance
Estimated date that this item will be removed:
12/2023

Revolving accounts

CAPITAL ONE
P.O. Box 30281
Salt Lake City, UT 841300281
Account Number: 400XXXXXXXXXXXX Pay
Account owner: Individual account High credit:
Type of account Revolving Credit limit
Date opened: 06/08/2010 Balance:
81-month payment history
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2011
Historical account information
03/2017 02/2017 01/2017 12/2016 11/2016
Balance 965 1095 2336 1161 1268
Scheduled payment amount 25 25 25 25 25
Actual payment amount 1095 2336 1161 1268 950
Date of last payment 02/2015 01/2015 12/2014 12/2014 10/2014

Months before 10/2016 are not shown.

Credit history requests Credit history requests include creditors who have requested your credit report.

CALTECH EMPLOYEE FCU
555 W. ADAMS
SUITE 202
LA CANADA, CA 91012
(818) 555-1212
Requested on:11/01/2017Inquiry type: Individual The type of inquiry is the scope of credit history requested — whether a person’s credit history or an organization or business’s credit history. In this case, just an individual credit history report was requested.
SUNSHINE APARTMENTS via RENTPORT
678 MARINE STREET
SUITE 999
LOS ANGELES, CA 90210
(818) 555-1212
Requested on:05/01/2016Inquiry type: IndividualLoan type: Real estate
CHASE CARD MEMBER SVCS
666 W. SMITH
PHOENIX, AZ 87853
Phone number not available
Requested on:11/01/2016Inquiry type: Individual

Personal statement A personal statement is a statement the consumer chose to have added to his or her credit report. Personal statements range from fraud alerts to consumer statements about being unemployed. A personal statement is a way for the consumer to add additional explanations about his or her credit history that might not otherwise be discerned from standard credit report information.

ID SECURITY ALERT: FRAUDULENT APPLICATIONS MAY BE SUBMITTED IN MY NAME OR MY IDENTITY MAY HAVE BEEN USED WITHOUT MY CONSENT TO FRAUDULENTLY OBTAIN GOODS OR SERVICES. DO NOT EXTEND CREDIT WITHOUT FIRST VERIFYING THE IDENTITY OF THE APPLICANT. I CAN BE REACHED AT 917-555-1212. THIS SECURITY ALERT WILL BE MAINTAINED FOR 90 DAYS BEGINNING 03-01-2018.