The 1st thing you should review for accuracy when you get your credit report is:
· Phone (if listed)
· Place of Employment (if listed)
· Credit Score * should be at the top or towards the top)
You will see the name of the creditor, and under (or next to that) you'll see your account number. Very close to the beginning you should see a Date the account was opened. Going to the right you will see a High Credit (highest balance that item has ever had), Credit Line (your max credit avail on that item), and Current Balance. Then moving more to the right you will see a DLT / DLP (everyone calls this something different Date of last Transaction / Payment – most will use transaction from what I have seen) and a DLA / DLR (Date of Last Action / Reporting). If there is a term loan like a fixed amount that is lent to you and you are scheduled to make X payments at $ X.XX you will find this in this line somewhere. It will say something like 48mo / $ 250. You should also see something showing what status you are on the account (ie I-individual and C-Cosigner).
Then you should see something like this:
This is a 24 month reporting on your pay history. The way to read this is, the top line far left is the last reporting from the creditor. This monthly reporting correlates to the DLA / DLR. Meaning that this is the last time the creditor reported your account to the bureau. Not always is this date this month's date; some creditors have (or used to) a quarterly reporting schedule contract with the bureaus. When you go delinquent, when the creditor may have financial problems, or when a creditor is bought; you may see a lag in these dates and reporting. Then from the top left you count backwards in months to the right to the end of the line. Then you start again on the bottom left and count to the right.
Example, using the above for reference:
The 2 would represent this month (assuming the DLA is 10/09), then the 4 would be 11/08, then the 3 would be 10/08, and finally the 1 on the end of the bottom line right side would be 11 / 07. It's a 24 month aging of your account.
What do these numbers mean?
· 1 = paid as agreed (you are not more than 29 days delinquent – from the creditor's billing cycle date; meaning if your bill is due on the 15th, you have paid every month before the 14th of the following month).
· 2 = 30 days late (paid after the 15th of that following month but before the 14th of the next month)
· 3 = 60 days late
· 4 = 90 days late
5 = 120 days late
· 6 = 150 days late
9 = charge off
· 0 = too new to rate or no activity that month
· X = no activity, closed, cancelled, charge off (this is a pretty broad range but it is relevant to what the current status of your account is. I have seen it on brand new cards meaning no activity, I have seen it on charge off meaning closed and dead card in collections. So it really is dependent on what the status of your card is when you are looking at this).
You will see a rating on each line item, either in the front (far left) or the end (far right). There are 2 aspects of the rating system.
1. Type of account:
· O = Open line of credit, can fluctuate up and down (normally these are signature loans that you can continually take money out of as you pay it, or an equity line that operates the same way); normally this is a loan.
· R = Revolving, not to be confused with O because these are normally credit cards. They operate much like the O but the O is normally a loan.
· I = Installment, this has a fixed lending amount and normally cannot be used like an O or and R. The more you pay this down the lower the balance gets but you cannot increase this loan. Normally this is mortgages, car loans, and household goods.
· M = Monthly, this status isn't used much anymore, but it is pretty much the same as the I.
This is a bit harder to define. The bureaus will rate your performance on that trade line. The X below represents the type of account as described above.
· X0 – meaning too new to rate
· X1 – best rating possible
· X2 – pays late occasionally
· X3 – has a few late pays
· X4 – pays late more frequently
· X5 – collections
· X9 – Charge-off
That is pretty much it. There is a lot of information here, but you can use this as a reference guide. The credit report you order should come with a full definition of terms. There are a few other items tossed in there that I may have mentioned, but those are rare cases.