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How To Read Your Credit Report

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The Main Credit Report Bureaus

Your credit report contains a wealth of information about your financial actions. If you have credit or loan accounts, those accounts, and how you pay them, are included in your credit report. It’s important to review your credit report at least once a year so you know what your creditors are saying about you.

Most people order a credit report from one of the three bureaus, look at their credit score, and then either surmise that they have bad credit or excellent credit, based solely on the three-digit score. To this effect, very little gets accomplished. You need to properly understand what’s on your credit report to really make any sense of your credit score.

Many people seem to think their credit score is the end-all when it comes to determining whether they have good credit or bad credit. But a great credit score will mean very little if there isn’t enough history to support large amounts of debt, or a decent number of tradelines to qualify for certain loans and credit cards.

Take for instance a consumer who has a single credit card that they’ve paid on time each month for the past five years. They may have a good credit score because they’ve got no derogatory accounts, but with only one credit card to their name, and no other loans, their credit depth would be considered very shallow. So anyone thinking about offering them a sizable loan would probably think twice despite the relatively high credit score.


TransUnion is an American company that provides credit information and information management services to approximately 45,000 businesses and around 500 million consumers worldwide in 33 countries

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Experian is a global information services group with operations in 40 countries, with corporate headquarters in Dublin, Republic of Ireland and operational headquarters in 4 countries

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Equifax Inc. was founded in 1899, Equifax is the oldest of the three agencies and gathers and maintains information on over 400 million credit holders worldwide. Based in Atlanta, Georgia

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FICO is a software company based in San Jose, California and founded in 1956. Its FICO score, a measure of consumer credit risk has become a fixture of consumer lending in the United States.

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