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I’m Trying to Figure Out My Credit Report. Help! – Alex

“Dear Steve,

My current situation is not that bad. I bought a house last year and I have a few credit cards. My credit score has gone up a few points from last year but still in the poor category. Have not had any late payments for about 6 years now, all my negative history is very close to that 7 year mark so I assume that most of that will come off my credit report soon.

I realize I need to pay down some of the credit balances because some are close to maxed out. But I have noticed some credit inquiries on my report that I do not recognize that may have affected it negatively.

And I am also having a hard time understanding some parts of the report. For example, when it says date of last payment was 02/2004 yet the 81-Month Payment History has the green squares filled in all they way up to February of 2009. What is th e difference between the two? I want to make sure that all the information is accurate so that I may improve my credit score.

Basically I would like to know how can I improve my credit score and insure everything is accurate and do you recommend anyone who could assist me with that?


Dear Alex,

All good questions you have my friend. Dealing with a credit report can be confusing.

On that account that has the last payment in 2004, if this is an account you still have open but are not using it sounds like they are just still dumping information about you to the credit bureaus. Not a big deal.

I suspect one of the prime reasons your score is not getting significantly better is because you are well maxed out or have little new credit activity to help boost your score up.

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We could play guessing games all day long about why your score is what it is but the most efficient and best way to get to the bottom of your credit score is to order a copy of your credit score and see exactly why it is what it is. Follow the link.

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As far as the inquiries, they might be pre-screening inquiries or applications for credit. Have you expressed an interest in any type of financing over the past two years? Maybe a car loan? Often times taking a test drive can result in five or six credit inquiries by a dealer that checks you out with multiple sources. If that is the case, multiple inquiries around the same time period are only counted as one.

The other likely reason for the inquiries might be from the house purchase last year. If you worked with a mortgage broker there may have been some multiple inquiries as well.

Checking over your consolidated credit report is as easy as just looking it over to make sure you recognize the people listed. If you don’t follow the instructions provided with your credit report and dispute those items.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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