Question and Answer Credit Reports and Credit Scores
# Why is my credit history important?
At some time in your life, your credit report becomes essential to obtaining mortgages, insurance, credit cards, car loans, and other credit, and may even be seen by your current employer or a potential employer. The best way to ensure that your credit report is accurate and positive is to check and monitor it regularly.
# What information is contained on my credit report?
All credit reports contain a variety of personal data about you; specifically, your name, last known address, birth date, Social Security number, and employment history. Though this information is included on your report, it is not used in determining your credit score.
The next section of your credit report contains all pertinent details regarding any loans that you have taken out in your name, for example: type of account, current balance, payment history including any delinquencies, loan term, and the date the account was opened. Bankruptcies, judgments, and foreclosures, if relevant, are also included on your credit report.
Another section of your credit report lists inquiries into your credit history. Potential creditors may view too many inquiries in a short period of time negatively.
# Who reports to the credit bureaus?
Any company that supplies you credit, from student loans and mortgages, to personal loans and credit cards, reports information about your loan to the three major credit agencies. That information can be included on your credit report. You may have slightly different information on each of the three credit agency reports.
# How often is a credit report updated?
Credit reports are updated as frequently as the supplied information changes. Most accurate negative information remains on your credit report for seven years.
# Where do I get copies of my credit reports?
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) gives every consumer the right to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To get your free report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877.322.8228. You can request a free credit report from one agency at a time, or all three at once.