The Well

Rachel Surman | Blog

How Do I Read My Credit Report?

January 24, 2018

You may have heard that Borrowell has recently launched free credit reports. If you’re thinking about getting yours, now is the time! Checking your credit score and accessing your credit report is a huge step in understanding your credit health and improving your overall financial well-being.

Your credit report reveals important information about your financial history. Credit lenders, such as banks and other creditors, will look at credit reports (as well as other information) to see how much they are able to lend to you. That being said, your credit report includes a lot of information and it might be a little difficult to read. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand your credit report.

When you get your free credit report from Borrowell, you might see something that doesn’t look right! If it’s regarding a specific item, we recommend contacting the credit grantor or collections agency. If it’s regarding incorrect personal information, such as your date of birth or your address, please contact Equifax directly. You can reach them here: +1-866-828-5961. Here at Borrowell, we can’t change or modify any information on your credit report.

Personal Information

Your credit report will show personal information that Equifax has collected from your financial institutions. This section includes your name, date of birth, current address, credit score, date your file was created and the date that your file was last pulled.

When you apply for credit, this information is updated. So if you haven’t applied for credit in a while, this may not be up to date.

Trades and Accounts

This section refers to any open or closed accounts that appear on your credit report. Trades and accounts include any loans you have, lines of credit, and credit card accounts. There are a few different types that you will see on your credit report:

  • Revolving: With revolving credit, you usually have a set credit limit and you can borrow up to that amount. An example of revolving credit includes credit cards and lines of credit from a bank or lender.
  • Installment: Installment loans have set payments that you pay over time. Examples of installment loans are car loans, mortgage loans, or student loans.
  • Open: Open accounts on your credit report will include anything like mobile phone accounts or a utility bill.
  • Mortgage: A mortgage is a loan used to purchase a home or other real estate. Your mortgage amount will show on your credit report, however, the mortgage provider will not be shown because this information is not included in reports.

It’s helpful to be able to see all of the trades and accounts. Seeing all your information in one place can help you to keep track of your different accounts and spot any errors.

Credit Inquiries  

Credit inquiries are checks on your credit that are done by lenders or financial institutions to determine your creditworthiness. It’s important to monitor these checks to make sure they’re all inquiries that you have agreed to. A credit check that you don’t recognize could indicate suspicious activity on your file, such as identity theft. 

It’s important to note the difference between “hard” and “soft” credit inquiries. A “hard” inquiry is the type of inquiry done by banks and lenders and can slightly negatively affect your score. A “soft” inquiry is when you check your score or pull your report yourself, so it doesn’t impact your score or show on your report. Checking your credit score through Borrowell is an example of a soft credit inquiry. 

Just remember: checking your credit score with Borrowell will not affect it! 

Collections

If you have any collections on your credit report, they will show in this section.

When payments on accounts become seriously overdue, they may be sent to an external collections agency in order to track down those missed payments. Once an account has been sold or passed to a collection agency, it can be reported as a second section on your credit report. This section will include information about the account and how large the outstanding balance is.

Having a collections mark on your credit report can significantly decrease your credit score, which is why it’s so important to make on time payments

Legal Items

Legal items will be shown in this section, but again, won’t appear on your credit report if you don’t have any. Legal items are any public records of your credit report, such as a court judgment.

Bankruptcy

This section of your credit report will reveal if you’ve filed for bankruptcy or consumer proposal in the past. Filing for bankruptcy is when you can’t pay your outstanding debts, whereas a consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement where you submit a “proposal” of paying off some of the debt to creditors.

Bankruptcy will have a serious impact on your credit score. 

At Borrowell, we’re excited to have launched full and completely free Equifax credit reports! Now, each month, you’ll receive your free credit report, along with your free credit score. This is just another way we’re working to empower you by providing the tools and education needed to improve your credit health (and save you money). 

Are you ready to get your free credit report? Get your score and report here