What is a Credit Report?

A credit report documents your financial affairs so banks, businesses, employers and even landlords can view it and decide if you are a worthy candidate for a loan, a credit card, an apartment or a job. These businesses or individuals actually buy your credit report to get an inside look at how financially responsible you’ve been in regards to paying your bills in a timely manner.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) states that by law you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once every twelve months. You can benefit from this free offer by carefully looking over your report to see what is on it. Websites such as annualcreditreport.com give consumers a central location to order from all three.

What information is on a credit report?

A credit report can be extremely detailed, even including personal information such as your name and any maiden name or aliases you may have used, current and former residence addresses, and current and former employers.
The financial information is even more comprehensive. Information about your financial accounts involving the extension of credit, including credit cards, charge cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, and other secured and unsecured obligations, such as delinquent medical bills are reported – medical accounts are not typically included in a credit report unless they become delinquent. Public records are also reported on your credit report. This includes judgments, liens, bankruptcy filings, foreclosures, and repossessions.

Who provides information to credit reporting agencies?

Banks, credit card companies, other lenders and courts of law – when dealing with liens, overdue child support or bankruptcy – report your record of payments to the credit reporting agencies. As a result your credit report reflects your payment history and other account information such as account numbers. There is really no way of hiding your credit history, but there are ways, such as using New Leaf Credit, to discover if any of the companies reporting your record of payments has made an error.