What is a credit report?

Your credit history is kept track of by three major credit reporting services. It is being used to provide information to lenders, landlords, and even employers. This is why it is so important to keep yours healthy.

The companies you borrow money from report your repayment history to the credit reporting bureaus. This includes credit cards, school loans, doctors, hospitals and more. They report the good credit history, like paying things back on time, and the bad as well, like late payments, defaults, judgments and liens. Your report is usually your credit history for 7 to 10 years and follows you around wherever you go.

What is on it

Your credit report will have your name address and social security number. It will also have previous addresses and any other names you have used in the past. It will have your credit history, who you owe, how much you owe and whether you pay on time. Your report might also have any public information and could include tax problems, arrests and convictions. Lastly it will include a list of companies that have looked at your credit report. Companies who offer you credit cards are a good example, every time they check your credit it will show up on your report.

Your credit report is extremely important to your financial well being. If you use your credit wisely it will help you in many ways including getting a rental, buying a house, a car or even getting that job you want. If your credit history isn't good it can really get in your way. In addition to this there are frequently mistakes on your credit report. It is important to check it regularly to watch for errors or identity theft.
New laws make it easier to check your credit reports. The three major reporting bureaus now have to give you copies of your reports at least once a year, but you have to ask for your them. Mistakes can be easy or difficult to fix but it is important to repair them as soon as possible and not let them sit on your record.

The credit reporting bureaus are;

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion

The typical consumer credit report includes four types of information:

  • Personal information: your name, current and previous addresses, social security number, date of birth, and current and previous employers. This information is gathered from credit applications, so its accuracy depends on filling out the forms completely and consistently each time you apply for credit.
  • Credit information: specific information about accounts at banks, retailers, and lenders. The accounts are listed by type, the date opened, the credit limit or loan amount, outstanding balances, and the timeliness of payments on the account.
  • Public information: information gleaned from public records, including bankruptcy filings, tax liens, judgments, and possibly arrests or convictions.
  • Inquiries: the names of those who obtained a copy of your credit report for any reason. This information comes from the credit-reporting agency, and it remains on record for up to two years, consistent with federal law.

Your credit report can have a dramatic impact on your financial stability. With good credit, you can obtain loans at a low interest rate with ease. But if your credit history is poor, your financial options may be limited. Either way, you have a right to know what to expect when a lender runs a credit check on you.
Credit reports may by law be provided only to those creditors, insurers, landlords and employers who have a legitimate need to see them.

Studies have shown that many credit reports contain inaccuracies that can harm your credit rating, leading to rejections when you apply for loans, insurance, even a job. Therefore it's essential that you regularly check all of your credit reports to protect your good credit standing.

You have the right to review your credit report and correct any errors.

How To Check Your Credit Report

To check your credit report, visit following sites:

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion

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