When it comes to finances, knowledge can be your strongest asset. That's why we've compiled this list to help you understand the terms that you may see used in connection with your credit file.

Account Status:

Shows the status that identifies the current condition of the account as of the Date Reported. For example, Pays as agreed, 60 – 90 days late this month, or Account included in bankruptcy.

Account Type:

Refers to the account classification, such as Auto, Education, credit card, etc...

Active Duty Alert:

An alert that notifies all prospective users of a consumer report relating to the consumer that the consumer is an active duty military consumer. This alert is placed at the request of the consumer.

Balance:

Amount due to the creditor at the time account information was last reported.

Bankruptcy:

Three types apply to consumers:

  1. Chapter 7 refers to a court proceeding where one's unprotected assets are sold and disbursed to pay creditors.
  2. Chapter 13 allows the debtor an extended time to repay all or part of his/her debts. The debtor is allowed to keep his/her assets.
  3. Chapter 12 refers to a court proceeding where financial obligations are released due to the inability of a family farm to pay their debts.

Collection:

An account that has been assigned to internal or external collections.

Collection Item:

An account turned over to a collection agency by a creditor.

Comments/Comments on Account:

Any comments a creditor reports regarding account.

Consumer Statement:

The statement a consumer may add to his/her file.

Credit File:

A record of an individual's identification information (such as Name, Address, and Social Security Number), employment, legal items (such as Bankruptcies, Judgments and Tax Liens), and inquiries made for extension of credit and account credit payment and history.

Credit Report:

A compilation of credit information presented in an easy-to-read format.

Consumer Reporting Agency:

Also known as a credit bureau. A company that collects, stores, maintains and distributes information on consumer credit history.

Credit Score:

A score based on variables in a consumer's credit file that is indicative of the consumer's creditworthiness.

Creditor:

A person or business from whom a consumer borrows or to whom the consumer owes money.

Current Ratings:

Shows total of all account types that are currently delinquent 30, 60 or 90 days.

Date Major Delinquency First Reported:

The first date the major delinquency status was reported for this account. A major delinquency is considered to be a collection, repossession, charge-off, foreclosure or account included in bankruptcy.

Date Opened:

Date account was originally opened.

Date of Last Activity (DLA):

Date of Last Payment:

Date of the most recent consumer payment.

Date Closed:

Date the account was closed to further purchases or paid in full.

Date Reported:

Date account information was last updated by the data furnisher.

Filing Date:

Date item was filed with the courts.

Fraud Alert:

An alert in the consumer's credit file that notifies all prospective users of a consumer report relating to the consumer that the consumer may be a victim of fraud, including identity theft. This alert is placed at the request of the consumer.

Inquiries:

Requests for a copy of your credit file. When you initiate a transaction that results is your credit file being accessed, such with a bank, landlord, employer or potential employer, mortgage broker or other institution from which you have applied for credit, the inquiry is generally considered a “hard” inquiry and is visible to anyone who obtains a copy of your credit report. "Soft" inquiries are not shown when someone other than you obtains your credit report. One example of a soft inquiry is the promotional inquiry that is posted when your credit file is accessed in connection with a pre-screened offer.

Inquiry Date:

Date your credit file was requested.

Installment Account:

An account with a fixed payment for the term of the loan.

Line of Credit:

An agreement between an institution and a consumer where the institution agrees to lend a consumer funds up to an agreed upon credit limit. The consumer may borrow as much of the line as needed and pays interest on the borrowed portion only. Payment amounts are revolving, based on the outstanding balance amount.

Mortgage:

A contract or deed to real estate property to secure the payment of a debt. The creditor has actual title to the property, but the property remains with the use and occupancy of the borrower as long as the conditions of the mortgage are met.

Open Account:

Account where the entire balance is due upon demand or that has one payment due as scheduled. This Portfolio Type is used by credit card reporters when there is no credit limit and the full balance amount is due each month (e.g., no revolving terms). This Portfolio Type is also used by Collections Agencies, Child Support Agencies, Debt Purchasers, Student Loan Guarantors, the U.S. Department of Education and Utility Services' payment plans.

Original Creditor:

Shows the original creditor who originally opened the account for the consumer.

Ownership:

Designation by a lender of an individual responsible for payment of an account.

Past Due:

Amount currently past due, which can include late charges and fees.

Portfolio Type:

Indicates the type of loan, such as Installment, Mortgage, Line of Credit, Revolving or Open Account.

Prior Delinquencies:

Dates account was last reported delinquent.

Promotional Block:

A consumer may place a promotional block on the credit file to prohibit receipt of preapproved offers of credit or insurance via U.S. mail.

Public Records:

Bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgments from federal, state, or court records.

Real Estate Account:

A fixed payment account involving ownership of property (such as mortgage payments).

Revolving Account:

An account that establishes a maximum credit limit for a consumer, such as a credit card or charge account. A balance can be carried over from month-to-month. Payment amounts are based on the outstanding balance amount.

Tradeline Name:

Account name.

Trades Opened:

New account(s) opened.