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Understanding Credit Reports

Credit reports might seem really complicated.

So let’s make them uncomplicated.

There are 6 key sections of a credit report:

  • Personal information like your social security number and addresses
  • Summary of your credit information
  • Negative information from courts or collection agencies
  • Trades: a current record of your accounts
  • Hard inquiries made for your credit report
  • Creditor’s contact information

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Visit to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The term high credit may seem odd, but it just means the highest amount that has been charged to an account.

The little boxes you see in the Trades section indicate if you have any late payments and shows how late they were.

If you see an error on your credit report, contact the credit reporting company immediately to start the process.

Credit scores don’t appear on your credit report. There are a few free sources, but most of the time you need to buy your scores or access them through another service.

Want to see a sample credit report? Visit, click on Financial Education and then Credit.




American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit organization offering free credit counseling and education to help individuals and families get out of debt and manage money more effectively. Our counselors can provide advice on options for consolidating loans, managing debt and choosing a debt consolidation credit card strategy. We also offer information on student debt relief, including options for student loans consolidation, deferment and forbearance, federal student loan forgiveness, and how to repay student loans when monthly payments for student education loans become overwhelming. Our counselors can information on the hidden costs of student loan consolidation companies and options for consolidating private student loans. The education section of our website features many free tools and resources, including a student loan calculator.

American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts - Better Business Bureau American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts - Mass Housing Approved National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts  - Council on Accreditation American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts  - NFCC Member