Navigating a credit report can be a bit confusing, but it is important to understand how all of those numbers affect you whether or not you are considered credit worthy. A credit report is broken into four basic sections, and each one is important to your credit score.

The first section contains your identifying information.

This is just the basic information that identifies who you are. It can include a list of addresses where you have lived, your name and any other names you have gone by, your social security and driver’s license numbers, spouse’s name, date of birth and telephone numbers that have been linked to your name.

The second section contains your credit history.

This section will list all of the credit accounts that you have. It will tell how long you have had the account, what kind of account it is, if it is a joint account, amount that the loan was for or the credit limit you have, total amount that you owe, amount of monthly payments, Status of the account, and if you have been making your payments on time. This section might also include notes that tell if you typically pay late or have a debt that was never able to be collected.

The third section contains your public records

This section includes any bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgments against you. If it is in the public records, it will show up in this section of your credit report.

The fourth section contains inquiries

Anytime someone requests your credit report, that information goes into this section. That means that every time you fill out an application for credit, that credit request will be noted on your credit report. Not all inquiries on your credit report were initiated by you. Soft inquiries are those requested from companies looking to contact you unsolicited and offer you a pre-approved loan or credit card.