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Back to Your Credit Report

What is a credit report?

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A book with the word Credit Report written inside.

Your credit report is a record of your credit payment history. It tells companies how you have managed money in the past and helps them decide whether or not to do business with you. A good credit report can help you get new financial products, a new home loan, or even car insurance.

Information included in your credit report

  • Identifying information such as your name, social security number, current and past addresses and employers
  • Your history of paying bills with companies such as retail stores, banks, mortgage companies including amounts borrowed or credit limits, dates loans were taken out, balances, and past due amounts
  • Public records such as liens, court judgments, and bankruptcies
  • Credit history inquiries

Credit report access

Not just anyone can see a credit report. Only those with a legitimate business need are authorized, such as:

  • Financial institutions, when you apply for loans, mortgages and credit
  • Landlords, when you apply for a lease
  • Employers, with your consent, when they are considering you for employment

Additional credit report use

Credit bureaus can also use information from credit reports to provide marketers with lists of consumers who might be good prospects for credit or insurance. You can instruct all three major credit bureaus not to provide your name to marketers by:

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  • Free Annual Credit Reports

    The three companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — have set up one central service through which you can order your free annual report. You should not order free credit reports directly from the credit reporting agencies.