How to Read the Renter’s Screening Report, Part 1: CREDIT

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How to Read the Renter’s Screening Report, Part 1: CREDIT

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Whether you’re an ApplyConnect® veteran or first-time user, screening your applicants is a vital component of your rental decision process. As your first defense against property damage and crime, knowing how to read your ApplyConnect® report is just as important. In this segment we’ll be reviewing the essential parts of the credit section on your report.

The Information Reported by the Applicant & Experian®

The top of the background report has basic information like your applicant’s name, address, report number and the date the report was requested. Other than the report number (which is used by ApplyConnect® customer service to easily look up the report if you have a question), this is information supplied by the applicant. Beneath this section Experian® delivers identifying information they have available on your applicant. Information such as alternative names, current and previous addresses, and employers will appear. Next to these sections the date that information was reported to Experian (RPTD) will be present.

Your Applicant’s VantageScore® 3.0 from Experian®

The gold standard for quickly knowing whether your applicant has a poor, good or excellent credit history! Experian®’s VantageScore 3.0 ranges from 300 to 850 where the higher the number, the better the applicant’s credit history. If you’re curious about the differences between VantageScore 3.0 and FICO®, we have a handy guide available.

Within this section of the report, up to 5 factors used to create the score will be listed. For example, “serious delinquency and public record or collection filed” or “length of time accounts have been established” negatively impact your applicant’s score, resulting in a lower number. It’s also important to note that civil judgments such as evictions will ONLY affect the credit score if there is a monetary judgment, and criminal records will have no impact on the score. Applicants with criminal records can still have an impeccable credit score, although they may show large gaps of time where Experian® had no information to report during the incarceration.

For the rest of this section you may disregard the numbers next to the left of these factors. These are just “score types” (a.k.a. internal codes) that come directly from Experian® for referencing different messages, and do not numerically effect the final score.

Credit Summary and Account Details

This section is a summary of your applicant’s accounts (tradelines) and includes 10 details like total number of positive and negative tradelines, open accounts and accounts up for collection, number of late payments and so forth.

The Credit History Reported by Experian®

Following the summary section will be the account details giving you a more in-depth view of your applicant’s credit history.  Essentially, every financial account is broken up using these headers from left to right:

Creditor Name: The name of the company reporting the tradeline on this applicant.
Date Reported: The date the tradeline was reported to Experian.
Date Opened: The date the tradeline was opened.
Account Status: Shows the account type and the status of the account. More on this below.
High Credit: The highest dollar amount charged or extended.
Aproximate Balance:
Aproximate dollar balance on the tradeline.
Terms: The monthly installment amount or minimum payment required
Months Reviewed (MOS REV):
How many months Experian® has received account data.
X (Days) Past Due: How many days the tradeline is past due. Shown in 30, 60, 90 day incriments. If the tradeline is past due beyond 90 days, it will simply show 90.
ECOA (E): Indicates if the account is for an individual (I), joint (J), or merely and authorized user (A)
Amount Past Due: The dollar amount past due on this account.
Date of Last Activity (DLA): The date of last activity (typically a payment or use of the account).

While in this example, it’s clear that the creditor is “Cig Financial” and that it was reported on February of 2012, the account status may not be so obvious. At the bottom of this part of your ApplyConnect® report, you’ll see two tables.

The first one shows the codes for account types and the second reveals the account status codes and what they mean. So for the example, the account status says “I – 1”, this means that this account is an installment, satisfactorily paid as agreed.

Your Applicant’s Accounts Placed for Collection

Any accounts sent to a collection agency will be reported in this section. When reading this part of your applicant’s report, you’re going to want to pay attention to what row your information is in.

For example, “Credit Systems Intl In.” is the collection agency assigned the account, whereas Oklahoma Natural Gas was the original creditor that the applicant owed the money to.

While parts of the report are self-explanatory (like “creditor” or “open date”) there are a lot of acronyms that you may not know. DLA is the account’s Date of Last Activity and MOP reveals the current Manner of Payment. VI and IS are internal codes for ApplyConnect®’s use and SRC is the acronym for the Source of the collection information (which is always EXP, in reference to this being an Experian® credit report).

The Public Records Reported by Experian®

This is where you’ll find public record data which are bankruptcies, tax liens, and civil judgments reported by Experian®.   Most eviction cases are not reported by Experian® in this section. Criminal activity is never reflected as a public record within this section of the credit report, but rather has its own section on a separate page further down along with ApplyConnect®’s proprietary eviction search.

Prior Inquiries and Contact Information

When you reach the Prior Inquiries section of the report, you’ll see a list of previous agencies that have requested your applicant’s credit report in the last 24 months. The Contact Information section will always be the same for ApplyConnect®. This is so that if your applicant has any disputes as to the information on their background report, they can contact us directly.

By going over this easy guide (and the other guides soon to come), you’ll be breezing through your applicant’s screening reports faster than ever!

Still confused? Leave us a comment or call us at 800-288-4757 opt. 7 and we’ll be happy to assist you. Be sure to Subscribe to learn about how to read the criminal and eviction sections of your report which will be coming soon to the blog!

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Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.