Credit Reports: How to read them

Credit reports can be confusing.  The first thing you need to understand is that it is just information pulled together and interpreted by a company who sells the information to other people. 

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While laws do govern credit reporting, credit reports are governed by companies that pull together information to sell for a profit. 

Not all the information on a credit report is true.

If it isn't true, you should be able to get it corrected but trying to do so can be frustrating.

Not everything you owe is listed on a credit report. 

Reporting is up to creditors.  If you rely on your credit report to figure out who you owe, you may miss some debts from creditors who don't report to that credit bureau.

Not everything is accurate.

For instance, sometimes debts that you are not legally obligated on show up on your credit report.  This happens a lot for husbands and wives just because they are married.  It commonly happens if someone adds you as an authorized user on a card, even if you never asked to be added.

When you read a credit report, you need to have a good idea of who you owe, what you borrowed and what the balance should be. 

You don't want the same debt reported several times as it is sold and flipped from collector to debt buyer, and you don't want old debts that should come off your report "reaged" and re-reported as they are sold to new companies. 

Since you are the best person to know who you borrowed money from, you should keep an eye on your credit reports to be sure what is reported is accurate.  


Article: How Do I Read A Credit Report?

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