What Is A Credit Report?



A credit report is a statement that has information about your credit activity and current credit status such as loan paying history and the status of your credit accounts.  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, credit card companies, and other financial companies. Note that creditors are NOT required to report to directly to each credit reporting company. Here lies a huge disconnect with credit reporting both accurate and inaccurate information.  Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money or 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.

  • Credit reports often contain the following:
    • Personal info
      • Your name, past names you have used, nicknames, maiden names
      • Current and former addresses
      • Birth date
      • Social security number
      • Phone numbers
    • Credit accounts
      • Current and historical credit accounts, the type of account (mortgage, revolving, installment, etc.)
      • Credit limit(s) or amount(s)
      • Account balance
      • Account payment history (includes late/delinquent dates and payments made on time)
      • Name of creditor (also collections, sometimes companies accounts were transferred or sold to)
      • Account open/close dates
    • Public records
      • Liens
      • Foreclosures
      • Civil suits and judgments
      • Bankruptcies
        *A credit report may include overdue/delinquent child support provided by a state or local agency, verified by any local, state or federal government agency.
    • Inquiries
      • A list of companies that have accessed your credit report