READING A CREDIT REPORT CAN BE CONFUSING, SO LETS START FROM THE TOP:
1. The Heading is at the very top right of the report. It contains the Credit Bureau's information. The Credit Agency, their address, their phone number, and the date the report was inquired upon.
2. The next section of the report is the applicant's personal information. This includes the Consumer's name, social security number, up to three different addresses, date of birth (if available), and telephone number (if available).
TIP: Check the addresses against those submitted in the rental application. Do they match? The addresses are located below the applicants Name with the most current address directly below the applicants name and chronologically listed from there. The employment and birth date information are located to the right of the applicant's addresses and above the summary score. Former addresses and employment information is inputted when a consumer applies for credit. Therefore it can or cannot be a definitive verification of the last three residences or jobs.
3. This section of the report is the applicant's employment information. This includes the company name, date hired (if available), income (if available), occupation (if available), and separation date (if available). TIP: Check the employment history against those submitted in the rental application Do they match? The employment history may not necessary have the most current information. Former addresses and employment information is inputted when a consumer applies for credit. Therefore it can or cannot be a definitive verification of the last three residences or jobs. ALWAYS LOOK UP THE EMPLOYER PHONE NUMBER. YOURSELF
4. Here is the overall summary of the applicant's credit history. This will tell you the total number of accounts the applicant has, accounts that are still currently active or negative or too new to be rated, accounts that are past due or paid off, person(s) that have inquired upon the applicant's credit history, accounts that are in collections or public records, total amount still owed, and a breakdown of the amount.
5. The score summary, Experian/FICO, is above the applicants credit and trade information and is the overall rating of the applicant's credit. Up to four factors are disclosed and are displayed in order based on their relative impact on the final score. Generally scores exceeding 625 are considered by banks as worthy of loans. The lowest scores are in the low 400's and the highest scores close to 850 (Very few). Scores between 600 and 700 are very common and considered very good. Most tenant applicants will fall between 550 and 650 credit scores. Scores below 575 are considered a risk, and usually warrant further documentation or higher security deposits if the landlord proceeds. (Note: No Hit means that the consumer has no credit history whatsoever and nobody has even inquired upon their credit history).
6. Identifies consumer accounts that have been transferred to a professional debt-collecting firm. Collection information includes the name of the collection agency providing the information, collector's kind-of-business designators, and the consumer's account number with the collection agency. Also included is the date the amount was charged off by the original creditor, date the information was verified, the original dollar amount of collection, the balance owed as of date verified or closed, name of the original creditor, and an explanation of current account status as reported by the collection agency.
7. If there are any civil actions with dollar amounts awarded, they will appear below the score summary in a field named Public Records. Public Records information consists of bankruptcies, liens, and civil actions against a consumer. This information will include; the reporting account's name and number, original filing date with court, status date if status is satisfied, released, vacated, discharged or dismissed, amount and type of public record, certificate or docket number, and code describing the consumer's association to the public record item per the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Also provided is the plaintiff name; liability and asset amounts for bankruptcies only, voluntary indicator for bankruptcies only.
8. Under the trade lines portion of the credit report, creditors report the amount of loans and credit cards with payment histories. The name of the creditor is in the left column, the credit amount information in the center column, and the payment history is in the right column.
9. On the far right hand side of the report is the consumer payment history for the past 24 months. These codes reflect the monthly status of an account and are displayed for balance reporting loans. Collections and charge-offs are not graded. These codes stand for:
10. This portion of the report is named inquiries. This is a list of companies that have inquired about the applicant's credit, usually for the purpose of extending new or additional credit. Numerous inquiries lower the applicant's summary score by about two points per inquiry.
11. The last portion of the report is for warning messages. This is a list of messages that are about the applicant's credit, social security number, name, and/or address.