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How do I read my credit report to detect problems?

Detecting problems on reportIt is always a good idea to check your credit report from time to time. Mistakes do happen or there is even a chance there is an outstanding debt you have forgotten about.

It is always better to be informed than to get an unpleasant surprise when you apply for credit.

First thing to do is to get your credit report so you can start going through it to make sure that your information is correct

Reading is pretty straightforward if you just read through it systematically. Most people know what credit they applied for so if you see any accounts that you do not recognize, that should alert you to a potential problem. You might sometimes see an inquiry from a company that you are not familiar with. That is no cause for alarm unless there are multiple queries and you have not applied for credit that often.

Reading your credit report

The first section details your personal details such as:

  • Your personal credit score
  • Name ID number
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Employers details

The next section is a summary of all your credit, accounts, values as well as any judgments.

Personal Details

Confirm all personal details. Remember they keep a history of past details as well.

There is then a list of all companies that have made an inquiry on your credit status.

Credit report inquiries

The next sections is where you need to pay attention.

This part of the report details all:

  • Loan accounts
  • Retail accounts
  • Payment profile

Each account is listed and detailed line by line. It will show the status of the account (open or closed), the credit grantor (the company that provided the loan or finance), your payment history, opening date and the current balance.

If the account is unknown to you, raise a dispute with the credit bureau immediately. If the balance or history looks incorrect, go back on your own records where possible. If you are not satisfied, you could either query with the credit provider or lodge a dispute with the relevant credit bureau.

Lastly, your judgments will be displayed. This is where the account has been handed over and legal action has been instituted. If you are not aware of the judgment or wish to dispute it, you will have to log a dispute with the relevant bureau. It's important to note that if you have a judgment, you won't get any finance from any institution. It's very important to seek out legal assistance when you have this to get it removed as soon as possible.

Reading your credit report is pretty easy. The main point to remember here is to make sure that all the information is correct. You need to remember that certain details may take up to 60 days to reflect. For instance if you pay off your account at Edgers this month, then it might take about 2 months to reflect on your credit report.

Make sure you go through your credit report every month to ensure that you have maintain a healthy credit score.


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