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Understanding your credit report

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2019


All the information in your credit report should be correct. There are 5 sections in the report. Check each section. If any information is wrong tell the credit bureau you dispute it. The 5 sections are:

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Your Information

This section lists your:

  • name,
  • current address,
  • past addresses,
  • current employer, and
  • past employers.

Tell the credit bureau about any errors in the report. The credit report may have mixed up information about you with information about someone else who has the same name. Check to make sure all the names, addresses or jobs in your report are actually yours. Tell the credit agency right away if you find anything wrong.

Your Open Accounts

This section shows information for each of your accounts and loans.

The type of loan you borrowed

  • car loan, mortgage, or a revolving account like a credit card.
  • The date you opened your account.
  • your monthly payment.
  • the amount of the original loan.
  • the total amount you owe on the loan.
  • your credit limit for the account.
  • the status of the account— if the account is open, closed or sent to collections.
  • Your credit report also shows a month-by-month record of your payments. It shows on time payments or if the account was overdue by 30, 60, 90 or more days.

Tell the credit bureau about any errors in the report. If you see any accounts that are not yours cancel them right away and report them to the credit bureau.

Closed Accounts

  • The creditor name.
  • Who closed the account.
  • The payment history.

If you find an account in the Closed Accounts section and you never opened this account, tell the credit bureau.

Accounts in Collection and Public Records

This section lists accounts that are so over due they are in debt collection. You should already know about these accounts because creditors or debt collectors are taking you to court.

It also lists:

  • If you are in foreclosure, and
  • If you have filed for bankruptcy.

Tell the credit bureau if any of the information in this section is wrong.

Civil Judgments and tax liens are no longer shown on credit reports


This section shows who has asked to see your credit report. It lists:

  • lenders who were deciding if they would loan you money,
  • insurance companies,
  • background-checking companies. Sometimes employers or landlords hire these companies to do a credit check on you before hire you or agree to rent to you.,
  • utility companies, and
  • cell-phone carriers.

Learn more using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's tool Reviewing your Credit Report.

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