What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a record of credit history of an individual or business.

Credit reporting agencies have their own formats but they basically contain the same information. Most credits reporting agencies offer free annual credit check. A credit report includes credit information from creditors, such as loans and mortgages and payments you’ve made, as well as if you’ve had lapses in your payments or have been diligent in making payments. Financial institutions use credit reports to check the credit-worthiness of an individual.

Credit reporting agencies usually prepare credit reports on a yearly basis. However, it is highly advisable for you to check your credit report at least twice a year. As mentioned above, credit reporting agencies offer free annual credit reports especially to those who cannot afford to pay for one. And in this age of technology and of course with the help of the Internet, you can get free annual credit report online. Online credit reports are offered by credit reporting agencies.

What do Credit Reports Contain?

A credit report does not only include your financial or credit history but also pertinent information about yourself. However, this information does not affect your credit report. Below are some pieces of information you will find in a credit report:

  • Personal Information: includes name, address, social security number, date of birth, recent and previous employees. This information usually comes from what you supply to lenders.
  • Credit Information or History: includes details of credit accounts that are made under your name. Creditors usually supply account details on your behalf such as the date the account was opened, amount of the loan, payment terms agreed upon and balance. It also includes a history of your payment, whether you have been delinquent or diligent in your payments. If there are any co-signers on your loan, this will also be reflected here.
  • Request for Credit Inquiries: this part of your credit report contains a list of all the people, usually creditors, who have accessed your credit report for the past 24 months.
  • Public Record: this record is collected from county courts and state by the credit reporting agencies. It includes overdue debt, bankruptcies, suites, wage attachments, foreclosures, judgments and liens.

In order to avoid rejection, you must always check your credit file. Look into every detail including personal details. And check also if there are any entries that shouldn’t be there. By checking your credit file regularly you not only avoid rejection but also identity theft or ID fraud.

Those with permissible purpose usually access credit reports. These include individuals, groups or companies such as landlords, insurance companies, potential lenders or creditors, employers or potential employers (in the latter case, usually with your written consent or someone you authorized to obtain your credit report). Government agencies can also look into your credit report but only certain portions.

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