Click here to watch Linda’s Video on Part 2.
Laws have made it easier for you to access your reports, but they haven’t made those reports easier to understand. Credit reports have come a long way since the first credit report appeared looking more like NASA code than someone’s credit history. The good news is, today’s credit reports are NOT rocket science.
There are hundreds of different credit report formats in use today. An explanation of each would not only make for a very boring read, but it would also be impossible for me to teach you in this report how to read each format. The good news is that you don’t have to know how to read every format to manage your credit. Once you learn the basics, you will be able to apply your knowledge to any credit report you lay your eyes on. Here are some helpful hints on what to look for as it relates to the format of each:
Equifax mixes positive and negative trade lines. This makes Equifax’s report the most difficult to read. As a general rule, Equifax will list public records first, and most collections separately. However, sometimes collections are intermingled with other trade lines, so review every trade line carefully and thoroughly. Late pays are listed at the very bottom of each trade line under the section title “Account History with Status Codes.” Personal identification and demographic information is on the first page, and inquiries are listed in the back of the report.
Experian separates positive from negative all the time. As a general rule, Experian will list public records first, then all “Potentially Negative Items or Items For Further Review” followed by “Accounts In Good Standing.” Inquiries, and personal identification and demographic information are located in the back of the report.
TransUnion follows suit with Experian, by separating positive from negative accounts. As a general rule, TransUnion will list public records first, then all “Adverse Accounts,” followed by all “Satisfactory Accounts.” Personal identification and demographic information are on the first page, and inquiries are listed in the back of the report.
WORD OF CAUTION: When you dispute with a credit bureau, they will respond with a copy of your updated credit report. So if your action plan begins with an online version of your credit report, the version that you receive in response to your dispute will be different. Don’t be thrown off. The mailed version contains the same information, just laid out differently.
In Part Four, you will receive some great tips and information about how you can create an effective Take Action Plan Checklist. Be sure to keep an eye out for this important information.
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