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5 things to look at in your credit report

5 things to look at in your credit report

25 May 2011

Edition: Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kolkata New Delhi Pg: 20


If you've applied for a loan in the last fewyears, you probably knowthe importance of a good credit report. Just like your medical reports tell you howhealthy you are, your credit report shows your financial health and creditworthiness. You can get your credit report from three agencies-Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd, or Cibil, Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd and Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd. While all three reports are unique in their ownway, each has elaborate information on your finances. While one bank may subscribe to Cibil, another to Experian and the third to Equifax. So it's important to be able to navigate through the reports issued by all three bureaux. Here are five important things-common to all three reports, but with different names in some cases-you must look into to make sense of your credit report.     


This is one of the most important numbers to keep handy. The Cibil report calls it control number, in the Equifax report it is the order number and Experian calls it report number. Thing to keep in mind: This number is unique for the credit report generated. In case you have any queries on your report in the future, you will need to provide this number to the bureau.      


This gives a summary of all your loan accounts. It has various parameters but the most important things to look at are the total number of accounts, number of overdue accounts and zero balance accounts. Account summary is provided on Cibil aswell as Equifax credit reports. Things to keep in mind: Zero balance accounts are those where you have paid off the dues. The credit report also shows the number of closed accounts. If the number of zero balance accounts does not match the number of closed accounts, then it indicates that you have a fewloose ends to tie by closing the paid off for accounts formally. 

Just paying off the last equated monthly instalment does not mean the loan is closed. Another parameter to check is the "recent" account. This shows the date when the latest accountwas opened. If you haven't taken a loan recently and it shows you have a recent account on a date you don't recognize, it means you could have been a victim of a fraudulent activity in your name. In such a case, get in touch with the credit bureau and/or the institution from the where loanwas availed for further assistance.With the Experian credit report, there is a section which shows the name of the credit institutions that have processed the loan within the past 12 months.  


This section of your report contains your personal information, such as name, date of birth, gender, telephone and mobile numbers, addresses and Permanent Account Number. Across all three reports, information provided in this section is more or less the same. Thing to keep in mind: Ensure that the spellings and dates mentioned are correct and your address updated. This section usually shows your latest address aswell as past addresses. 


This information contains various details of all your accounts. Type of loan account, such as whether it is a car or home loan or a credit card. The day the accountwas opened, whether it's a joint or individual account or whether you are a guarantor on a loan account. There are various details mentioned here, the most important being the payment history. Things to keep in mind: Check the status of the account-it could be active, paid off or written off. If you have a dispute on an account, it should be mentioned as a disputed account. If there is any discrepancy, get in touch with your bank. Payment history is an important parameter since it shows the exact number of days, if any, past the due date. 


This section on Cibil and Equifax credit reports shows the enquires made on your account by various lenders. It shows the total number of enquiries aswell as gives details of each enquiry. Right from the name of the institution which enquired, the date of the enquiry, the purpose of the enquiry and the amount for which the enquirywas made, it has all related details. 

Things to keep in mind: 

This tells you who's been asking for your credit report. Remember that no lender can request to see your credit report without your consent. Usually consent to check your credit report is part of your loan application form. If you haven't applied for a loan and the report shows that a lender has made an enquiry, there is a good possibility that you may have been exposed to identity theft. Get in touch with the bank immediately. Nowthat you knowwhat to look at in your report, go ahead and get a copy of yours. And if you find any discrepancy, get it amended as soon as possible.