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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Credit Reports, part two

Last week we shared the process for obtaining your free credit report. This week we will cover the information contained in a credit report and what to do when any of that information is incorrect or inaccurate. As you may recall, there are three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. These agencies monitor your credit activity with lenders, your public information, and collection agency accounts, and then compile that information into your credit report.

On your report, the information is organized into the following categories:

Personal Information is used to identify you; your name, including possible alternate spellings or misspellings; current and recent addresses; your social security number; date of birth; and current and previous employers.

Account Summary/History contains most of the information on your report and details the different types of accounts you have open, such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, or lines of credit. This section also shows the creditor name, the date the account was opened, the account type (such auto loan or student loan), the credit limit or amount of the loan, the current balance owed, payment status (current or past due), and a payment history, which shows if prior payments on the account were made on-time or late. This section will also tell if the account is revolving (credit cards), or if installment payments are being made (loans).

Inquiries are documented whenever your credit report is obtained by another person or company. Inquiries may be made by lenders, service providers, landlords, insurance companies, or potential employers in order to approve an application for credit or employment, or they may be made by lenders for promotional purposes, such as "pre-approved" credit card offers.

Public Records show financial information reported by government institutions, including bankruptcy, liens, judgments, and overdue child support. Such information can stay on your report for seven years.

Make sure you review your report for any errors or inaccuracies. If you find any information that you believe is incorrect, you can dispute it with both the credit agency reporting the information and the creditor.

If you have any questions about the information in your credit report, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension has family resource management program specialists available. Please contact your local ISU Extension office and staff there will put you in contact with a program specialist. Cherokee County Extension Office 209 Centennial, Suite A Cherokee, IA 712-225-6196.

Extension programs are available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.