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Looking at a credit report online, it says three open accounts. What does that mean?

Are those the accounts that are owed money on? And how does that differ from a closed account?

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It doesn't necessarily mean that you owe money. A credit card or line of credit that has a zero balance but has not explicitly been closed would still be considered "open". It means you could still borrow from it if you needed to. It's also possible that the account is actually closed but the creditor has not yet informed the reporting bureau(s) of that.

A closed account is one that has been reported as "closed", meaning no more activity is allowed on that account. Most term loan accounts (like a mortgage or car loan) are reported as closed as soon as they're paid in full. Revolving credit lines are kept open until explicitly closed by the borrower.

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  • @RonJohn, can there be a situation of an account being "closed", but not paid off?
    – Daniel
    Jan 21, 2021 at 19:15
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    @Daniel absolutely... happens all the time with credit cards. That doesn't absolve you from paying the debt, though.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 21, 2021 at 19:23
  • @RonJohn, interesting so how does it work? Meaning if there is a closed account that is unpaid and unreported as unpaid, how does that work? Sorry is that too open ended? Should I ask as a separate question?
    – Daniel
    Jan 21, 2021 at 20:33
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    @Daniel you're overthinking. There are multiple "fields" in a credit report. Among others: #1 whether or not the account is open or closed, #2 whether or not it's past due, and #3 the balance due. Field #2 "whether or not it's past due" is most important.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 21, 2021 at 20:38

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