How to Find Outstanding Debt

How to Find Outstanding Debt
••• financial report image by Christopher Hall from

Your credit report is the best resource for tracking down most of your outstanding debt. Virtually all of your standard credit card and loan information will be listed on your report, including your payment history and current balance. Tracking down your outstanding debt may be necessary if you are considering eliminating your debt through bankruptcy or you have experienced a financial windfall and want to pay off as much as your debt as possible.

Order a free copy of your credit report by calling Annual Credit Report at 877-322-8228. Or visit the website (see Resources) to get the report online. The website was setup by the credit bureaus to offer free credit reports as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The law entitles you to three free reports every 12 months, including one from each of the bureaus--TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Review the credit report to find all accounts with balances. Make a list of all the accounts and total the balances for an accurate list of all outstanding debt listed on your credit report.

Search your personal files for other debt that may not appear on your credit reports, such as an installment agreement with the Internal Revenue Service, loans from retirement accounts, or loans from family or friends. Add these loans to the list of outstanding debt from your credit report for a complete picture.