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Glossary of Terms

For updated Metro 2® Format Terms and Glossary please obtain the latest copy of the Metro 2® Credit Reporting Resource Guide contact CDIA Online

Account Number Scrambling
A security feature that allows a data furnisher to report a scrambled version of the account numbers.
Three methods of scrambling are available based on CDIA guidelines.
The consumer reporting agencies will unscramble the account numbers for display purposes.
Describes a character set that includes both letters and numbers.
An acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
A code used by certain types of computers.
Authorized User
Person permitted by a credit card holder to charge goods and services on the cardholder’s account.
Authorized users are not legally responsible for payment of the charges incurred.
Automatic Stay
The filing of a bankruptcy, under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, stops most actions by any creditor against the debtor or the debtor’s property.
In Chapter 13, the stay even protects co-debtors (non-filers) who are liable with the debtor on consumer debts.
The automatic stay gives the debtor protection from his creditors until the rights of all concerned can be balanced in bankruptcy court.
Bankruptcy Closed
A bankruptcy case may be closed or terminated when the consumer does not pay the applicable court fees or does not attend the required financial management class.
Bankruptcy Discharged
The judgment of the court that a person who has filed a Chapter 7, 11 or 12 petition be granted a bankruptcy.
A Chapter 13 debtor is entitled to a discharge upon completion of all payments under the Chapter 13 plan.
Bankruptcy Dismissed
A Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13 petition is terminated without the granting of a discharge by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Bankruptcy Petition (Chapter 7)
An application made to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court requesting release from financial obligations due to a debtor’s inability to pay his debts.
Bankruptcy Petition (Chapter 11)
An application made to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court requesting financial reorganization.
Bankruptcy Petition (Chapter 12)
An application made to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court requesting release from financial obligations due to the inability of a family farm to pay their debts.
Bankruptcy Petition (Chapter 13)
An application made to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court requesting adjustment for personal debts and the establishment of a repayment plan.
Bankruptcy Withdrawn
The petitioner has decided not to file bankruptcy and has taken back the petition.
Combining two or more records into a block to increase the efficiency of computer input and output operations.
One alphanumeric character.
Chapter 128
See Personal Receivership.
One who buys goods or services.
Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA)
CDIA is an international trade association representing the consumer credit, mortgage reporting, employment and tenant screening, and collection service industries. Headquartered in Washington, DC, CDIA provides legislative assistance and a lobbying function to its members, and establishes standards for the consumer credit reporting industry.
Cycle Reporting
A method by which data furnishers can divide their files for reporting purposes, usually in alphabetical order by surname or by billing date.
Reporting takes place at the end of each billing cycle, resulting in more accurate and timely reporting of account statuses.
Debt Buyer
A company or individual who purchases accounts (generally non-performing debts) with the intent of collecting debts owed.
An acronym for Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code. A code used by certain types of computers.
ECOA (Equal Credit Opportunity Act)
A federal law that prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants on the basis of sex or marital status in any aspect of a credit transaction.


An alpha or numeric code used to describe a borrower’s association with an account, according to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).
Factoring Company
See Debt Buyer.
FCBA (Fair Credit Billing Act)
A federal law stipulating procedures to help consumers resolve credit billing disputes with the credit grantor promptly and fairly. Disputes must be reported.

FCBA at the FTC – PDF

FCBA at the FTC main page

FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act)
The FCRA states that companies which furnish data to the consumer reporting agencies have a responsibility to provide accurate information, to update and correct information and to respond to notices of dispute.
It also states that consumers have the right to know what is in credit records; to challenge the accuracy of information; and to have it re-verified, updated or removed.
It also limits the time derogatory information can be retained on a credit record and assures that a consumer’s privacy will be protected at all times.FCRA at the FTC – PDFFCRA at the FTC – PDF
FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act)
The FDCPA regulates the activities of debt collectors concerning their communications with consumers, prohibiting harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices.

FDCPA at the FTC – html

fdcpa-pdf portal


Fixed Length Record
A record that always contains the same number of characters.

For example, you may report a 426-byte Base Segment, a 100-byte J1 Segment, and a 30-byte K4 Segment for every record.
The fixed record length would be 556. If there is no associated consumer on the account, report the Base Segment, report the J1 Segment Identifier, blank fill the remainder of the J1 Segment, and report the K4 Segment information.

Fixed Rate Loan
A loan in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.
Flexible Spending Credit Card
Credit card with no preset spending limit. The credit card has a Credit Limit, but the terms of the card allow the consumer to exceed that amount.
Refer to Frequently Asked Question 50 for reporting guidelines.
A period of time during repayment in which a borrower is permitted to temporarily postpone making regular monthly payments. The debt is not forgiven, but payments are suspended until a later time.
As an example, forbearance may be granted if a borrower is experiencing temporary financial difficulty.
A forbearance agreement is most commonly applied to mortgages and student loans. However, forbearance is applicable to any type of loan. Refer to Frequently Asked Question 45 for reporting guidelines.
Installment (Portfolio Type)
A loan repayable in installments, usually in set monthly amounts.
Lease Assumption
The debtor’s assumption of personal liability for leases of personal property that would otherwise be discharged in bankruptcy. When a lease is assumed, the consumer is assuming use of the personal property, such as an auto, as well as payment on the account.
Line of Credit (Portfolio Type)
An agreement between an institution and a consumer where the institution agrees to lend a consumer funds up to an agreed upon credit limit.
The consumer may borrow as much of the line as needed and pays interest on the borrowed portion only. Payment amounts are revolving, based on the outstanding balance amount.
Loan Assumption
Full Loan Assumption – A new borrower assumes responsibility for a loan.
The original borrower is terminated from the loan and is no longer responsible for payments.
Refer to Frequently Asked Question 54 for reporting guidelines.Simple Loan Assumption – A new borrower assumes responsibility for a loan.
The original borrower remains responsible in the event that the new borrower defaults.
Refer to Frequently Asked Question 55 for reporting guidelines.
Computerized magnetic tape, cartridge, diskette, or electronic data transfer containing consumer credit information.
Mortgage (Portfolio Type)
A written conveyance of title (i.e., contract or deed) to real estate property.
The creditor has actual title to the property, but the property remains with the use and occupancy of the borrower as long as the conditions of the mortgage are met.
Open (Portfolio Type)
Accounts where the entire balance is due upon demand or that have one payment due as scheduled (i.e., Terms Duration = 001).
This Portfolio Type is used by credit card reporters when the full balance amount is due each month (i.e., no revolving terms).
This Portfolio Type is also used by Collection Agencies, Child Support Agencies, Debt Buyers, Student Loan Guarantors, the U.S. Department of Education (as guarantor) and Utility Services’ payment plans.
Personal Receivership
A voluntary debt repayment plan filed in Wisconsin (Chapter 128) that is an alternative to Bankruptcy.
The consumer may include debts they want managed by the court.
The plan is administered by a court-appointed trustee and lasts for a period of time no more than three years.
Refer to Frequently Asked Question 60 for reporting guidelines.
Reaffirmation of Debt
An agreement by a debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property that would otherwise be subject to repossession.
This agreement is done through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Reaffirmation of Debt Rescinded
The consumer may rescind a reaffirmation agreement prior to the bankruptcy discharge or within 60 days after the reaffirm agreement is filed with the court, whichever occurs later.
A consumer files a rescind of debt (requires judge’s signature) for one or more of the debts in the reaffirm.
This means that the reaffirm is canceled (taken back) and the debts are again included in or discharged through bankruptcy.
Redemptions (due to Bankruptcy)
In a Bankruptcy filing, the consumer can choose to redeem merchandise from a creditor by paying fair market value. Refer to Frequently Asked Question 31 for reporting guidelines.
Relief from Stay
A bankruptcy judge grants a secured creditor the right to collect a debt that has been included in bankruptcy, to the extent that the order permits.
Revolving (Portfolio Type)
An account that establishes a maximum credit limit for a consumer, such as a credit card or charge account.
Payment amounts are revolving, based on the outstanding balance amount.
Short Sale
The sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on the loan, which is secured by the property sold.
In a short sale, the lender agrees to discount the loan balance, typically due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the consumer.
Third Party Collection Agency
A company or individual who specializes in collecting outstanding debts for other businesses or individuals.
Variable/Adjustable Rate Loan
A loan in which the interest rate is periodically adjusted based on a variety of indices, usually in response to changes in the Treasury Bill rate or the prime rate.
Variable Length Records
Records which may be different lengths within predetermined minimums and maximums. Variable length records allow a data furnisher to report only the size of record required for a transaction, thus allowing more data to be placed on the media.
For example, the J1 and J2 Segments would be reported only when additional borrowers are associated with an account. Some records may include these appendages, while others may not.