Reading your credit report Part 3: Credit Account Categories

Credit Account Categories

Credit accounts are divided into five categories:  real estate, installment, revolving, collection and other.  Here is a better description of each category:

Real Estate:  First and second mortgage loans on your home.

Installment:  Accounts comprised of fixed terms with regular payments, such as a car loan.

Revolving:  Accounts with opened terms with varying payments, such as a credit card account.

Collection:  Accounts seriously past due that have been assigned to an attorney or collection agency.

Other:  Accounts where the exact category is unknown. This could include 30-day accounts, such as an American Express card.

Your credit report lists a summary of the details and terms for each account. This summary includes information about the account number, condition, balance, type and pay status for each account. The summary for collection records is slightly different.

The following information is for real estate, installment, revolving and other type records:

  • Creditor:  The official account name.  This name may be different than you expect if your account is managed by a larger financial corporation.
  • Account Number:  This is an identifying number for your account.  Typically, this would be a credit card number for a credit card account or a loan identification number for a mortgage.

A portion of the number is hidden for security reasons.  A partial account number is all that is needed to file a dispute about the record.

  • Condition:  This is the account’s status as open or closed, per the most recent update from your creditor.
  • Balance:  The amount you presently owe on the account based on the last reported activity.  Very recent activities may not yet have appeared in the bureaus’ computer system so this balance may be a few days out-of-date.
  • Type:  The account’s specific type. Some common types are real estate, automobile, educational and credit card accounts.
  • Pay Status:  The account’s payment status, per the most recent update from your creditor.

For each account, the report also displays an illustrated payment history over the last 24 months. There will be a key at the top of this section describes each payment history symbol and what it indicates for your account. Green boxes marked “OK” show that your payment was made on time.


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