What is a credit report?

Answer: A credit report is a statement that has information about your credit activity and current credit situation such as loan paying history and the status of your credit accounts.

Most people have more than one credit report. Credit reporting companies, also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies, collect and store financial data about you that is submitted to them by creditors, such as lenders, credit card companies, and other financial companies. Creditors are not required to report to every credit reporting company.

Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you. Lenders also use your credit report to determine whether you continue to meet the terms of an existing credit account. Other businesses might use your credit reports to determine whether to offer you insurance; rent a house or apartment to you; provide you with cable TV, internet, utility, or cell phone service. If you agree to let an employer look at your credit report, it may also be used to make employment decisions about you.

Credit reports often contain the following information:

Personal information

  • Your name and any name you may have used in the past in connection with a credit account, including nicknames
  • Current and former addresses
  • Birth date
  • Social Security number
  • Phone numbers

Credit accounts

  • Current and historical credit accounts, including the type of account (mortgage, installment, revolving, etc.)
  • The credit limit or amount
  • Account balance
  • Account payment history
  • The date the account was opened and closed
  • The name of the creditor

Collection items

Public records

A credit report may include information on overdue child support provided by a state or local child support agency or verified by any local, state, or federal government agency.

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