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Credit Score Terms

Account Condition

States the present condition of the account, however it does not indicate the payment history of the account which led to the current state (i.e. paid, open, repossession, charge off, foreclosed, settled, etc.)

Accounts in Good Standing

These are credit accounts that you have showing on your credit report which have a positive status and should reflect favorably on your creditworthiness.

Annual Credit Score

Your credit history is really in a constant state of change if you do anything with regards to credit, like use a charge card, make a car payment or mortgage payment, etc. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from the three credit reporting agencies. This report, however, will not provide you with your credit scores. It can be used to review what is in your credit file at the point in time that you obtain your credit report.


This is a proceeding in United States Bankruptcy Court which may legally release a person from repaying debts owed or set up a payment plan to Bankruptcy Court for repayment of creditors involved in the Bankruptcy. A bankruptcy normally shows on ones credit report for up to 10 years.

Charge off

The process of transferring accounts that are considered uncollectible to a category such as bad loss or debt. Even though these accounts are no longer considered a part of a company's profit picture or receivables collectors will usually continue to solicit payments.

Civil Action

This is any court action against a consumer in order to regain money for someone else. Usually this is for collection of things like child support, small claims judgment, wage assignment, judgment or a civil judgment.

Closed Date

The date that a credit account was closed.


A co-maker is someone who is creditworthy that can co-sign for a loan when an applicant's qualifications are marginal. The co-maker is also legally responsible to repay the debt in this joint account agreement.

Credit Items

Information reported by current or past creditors about an item of credit with that credior. This will include information like original loan amount, payment history, date of loan, etc.

Credit Obligation

This is a written agreement between you, the borrower and the creditor or lender. It basicly states the borrower's obligation to repay the incurred debt according to the terms specified in the agreement.

Credit Reporting Agency

This is a company (usually referred to as the credit bureaus) that collects and sells credit information about consumers. A credit reporting agency will issue credit reports that depict how consumers manage their debt and make payments toward that debt. The report will also show how much untapped credit they have available and what what new loans they may have applied for. These credit reports are made available to new potential creditors that profess to have a legitimate need for the information.

Credit Risk

This is a term used by creditors to state how credit worthy a person is when it comes to borrowing new funds or obtaining new financing or credit. If you have repaid your past debt on time then you are considered to be a better credit risk and will more than likely be charged a lower interest rate on any new credit you are granted.

Credit Worthiness

When one applies for new credit the prospective new creditor wants to know if you are credit worthy. Which means are you a credit risk or are you likely to repay the new loan that they are about to grant to you. They determine your creditworthiness by reviewing your credit history and your credit scores.

Date Opened

A field on the credit report that indicates the date an account was opened.


When a payment on ones credit account is received by the creditor after the agreed upon due date then the payment is considered delinquent. If the payment is not received within 30 days after the due date then the payment is considered 30 days past due. Other classifications are 60, 90 and 120 days past due.


This is an action granted by the courts which will release a debtor from most of his or her debts that were included in a bankruptcy. Debts such as alimony, child support and certain student loans cannot be discharged.


When a consumer believes that a line item on their credit report is inaccurate or incomplete they may dispute the item. The credit reporting agency that receives the dispute letter will investigate and correct or remove any incorrect information. This process usually take 30 to 60 days to complete.

ECOA (Equal Credit Opportunity)

This is a federal law which prohibits creditors form discriminating against any credit applicants on the basis of marital status, sex, color, race, age, religion and/or the receipt of public assistance.

Finance Charge

The amount of interest due/paid on a debt. Finance charges are usually included and collected with each monthly payment.

Fixed Rate

An annual percentage rate for a consumer's debt that does not change during the life of the loan.

Grace Period

This is a period of time that a debtor has to pay a bill in full and avoid interest charges.

Hard Inquiry

This type of inquiry entry on ones credit report shows that someone has requested a copy of the person's credit report. A hard inquiry results from a person applying for credit such as a car loan, mortgage, rental application or a credit card.


When someone with "permissible purpose" retrieves a consumer's credit report then an item is added to that consumer's credit history showing that inquiry. This may be as a result of the consumer applying for new credit with someone or it may be something like a credit card company trying to verify if they want to extend an offer of a new credit card to the consumer.

Installment Debt

This is debt that is to be paid at regular intervals over a specified term (period of time). Mortgages and Auto Loans are examples of installment type debt.

Insurance Bureau Score

This is an insurance rating that is based solely on credit bureau data on file at the major credit bureaus. This score offers a snapshot of a consumer's insurance risk at a certain point in time. It is used to help insurers determine viability and preminums for new or renewal auto and homeowner insurance policies.


A lein is a legal document used to create a security interest in another's property. A lein is often given as a security for the payment of an unpaid debt. Leins are usually placed against a person's property, such as their home or business, for the unpaid debt for which the lein was granted. If this property is later sold the lein will have to be paid before clear title can be acquired for the property.

Original Amount

This is the original amount borrowed during a loan. Later amounts shown as the balance due may include interest, late fees, etc.

Payment Default

This term is used to indicate that a borrower has failed to make a payment when it was due. Normally an account is shown to be in default when a payment has not been made for several consecutive 30-day billing cycles.

Payment Status

This term is a reflection of the previous payment history of the account. A payment status will take into consideration ontime payments, delinquencies (delinquent 30 days, 60 days, 90 days), any redemptions or repossessions and charge offs of the consumer debt.


When a creditor takes possession of property pledged as collateral on a loan contract on which the borrower has fallen significantly behind in their payments this is termed a repossession.

Request for Credit History Report

This is what a credit grantor, direct marketer or potential employer will do to obtain a copy of a consumer's credit report. When this request is fullfilled an inquiry will show on the credit report.

Secured Credit

This is a loan for which some type of acceptable collateral has been pledged. This is usually something like a house or automobile. It you are obtaining a bank line of credit it could be a CD or some other form of cash asset.









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