What is a Credit Report?
A credit report, or credit history, is a report of the information maintained in your credit file by a consumer reporting company that could be provided in a consumer report to a third party, such as a lender.
Credit Report Information
The typical consumer credit report includes four types of information:
- Personal Information - including your name, current and previous addresses, telephone number, social security number, date of birth and employment history.
- Public record information - includes bankruptcy claims, unpaid tax liens and overdue child support payments. This information can remain on your record for up to 15 years.
- Account summaries - includes account information, such as the date opened, credit limit, balance, payment patterns, and cosigners. Positive credit information may remain on your report indefinitely, while most negative information remains up to seven years.
- Credit inquiries - shows who has requested your credit information, includes the date of the request and how long the request will remain on your report.
What Information is Not in Your Credit Report?
The following information is not reported or collected as part of your credit report:
- Race, religion, medical history, personal lifestyle, political preferences, friends, criminal record.
- Checking and savings account information.
Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from a consumer reporting company under Federal law and the laws of various states.
You can request this free credit report from any of the 3 nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, through the Annual Credit Report Request Service, visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
. You can get one report from each of the three reporting companies each year.
Reviewing your Credit Report
You should review your credit report whenever you apply for a new credit card, a loan, or before a major purchase, to assure the accuracy of the information being reported about your credit.
Correcting Errors on Your Report
If you believe there is an error on your report, federal law allows you to challenge inaccuracies and correct your credit files, at no fee. Contact the credit bureau that supplied you the report of any errors to ensure a quick resolution.
Building a Positive Credit History
Building positive credit history shows you can manage your financial responsibilities and will improve your borrowing power. Positive credit information remains on your credit report forever, while negative information drops off over time. The following suggestions will help you create a positive credit history:
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- Pay your bills on time Most lenders look at the most recent information on a report. Paying your bills on time will start creating a positive credit history.
- Maintain an accurate file by providing complete, accurate and consistent identification on your credit applications. this will minimize the chance that your credit file will be mixed with another file.
- Review your credit report annually for accuracy and before making a major purchase.