Every time you use a credit card or borrow money, it’s recorded on your credit report. Companies collect information about your loans and credit cards, and put it all in one place for businesses to review when they decide whether to lend you money or not. They want to know you’re responsible with payments, if you have a lot of debt and more. The details in your credit report make up your three-digit credit score, which lenders study when deciding on credit card, loan or mortgage applications.
The details in your report include information from credit grantors and public records that can stay on your record for up to 10 years. It’s compiled by the three main reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian — and provided to businesses that request it. These include credit card, auto and mortgage lenders; employers, insurance companies and landlords. The three credit bureaus also sell your information to other businesses that may use it to determine whether or not you qualify for a product or service.
Each of the three bureaus has a slightly different version of your credit report. It’s a good idea to check each of your reports periodically so you can catch errors and keep up with your history.
Accounts and Inquiries
This section includes detailed listings of your current and previous credit accounts (revolving, like credit cards, and installment, such as mortgages and personal loans) and the status of each, such as open or closed. It also lists any public records on your file, such as bankruptcy or a judgment against you. It includes the amount you owe on each account and how much of your available credit is being used. This information makes up 35% of your credit score.
It also includes a list of inquiries made to your credit, both hard and soft. Hard inquiries remain on your report for two years and typically impact your credit score for one; soft inquiries don’t. This is helpful when reviewing your report for suspicious activity, such as someone applying for credit in your name without your consent.
In addition, this section includes your contact information and lists any addresses associated with your credit, as well as your spouse or co-applicants. It also contains a list of your past and present employment, as well as the names of any co-signers or joint account holders.
Errors can appear on your credit report for a variety of reasons, including inaccurate data and identity theft. A credit error can make it more difficult to get a loan, insurance or a job. If you find a mistake, it’s important to take it up with the agency that provides your report. You can do this online, by phone or by mail. If you’re unable to resolve the problem with the company, the bureau is required to notify the other businesses that have requested your report. This will give them an opportunity to correct the error. credit reports