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Home : Your Credit/Debt : Your Credit Rating : What Is A Credit Report?

What Is A Credit Report?

A credit report is a record of your credit activities.

All of the creditors you deal with will report your information to at least one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

Your credit report cannot be viewed by anyone who does not have a legitimate need for viewing it. Credit bureaus can provide information only to the following requestors:

  • Creditors who are considering granting or who have granted you credit
  • Employers considering you for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention (requires your permission)
  • Insurers considering you for an insurance policy or renewing an existing policy
  • Government agencies reviewing your financial status for government benefits or employment
  • Anyone else with a legitimate business need for the information, such as potential landlords (requires your permission)

What information is on your Credit Report?

Credit bureaus collect many types of information about you in your credit file. This includes where you live, where you work, how you pay your bills, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy. The four basic types of information collected are:

Your identification and employment information:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Telephone number
  • Current and previous employers

Payment History

All of the credit accounts you have had within the past 10 years appear on your credit report. Types of credit accounts:

  • Mortgages
  • Bank and retail credit cards
  • Bank loans
  • Finance company loans

Information collected on these:

  • Your name and account number
  • Date account was opened or closed
  • Amount borrowed and amount still owed
  • Credit limit
  • Timeliness of payments

Inquiries

A list of people who have requested your credit report other than you, including:

  • Lenders within the past year
  • Potential employers within the past two years

Public Record Information

  • Bankruptcy
  • Foreclosure
  • Judgments, including child support judgments
  • Tax liens
  • Criminal convictions

Active positive information may remain on your credit report indefinitely. Inquiries (i.e. requests for your credit history) remain for up to two years. Most negative information (e.g. collection items, late payments, etc.) will stay on your report for 7 years. Personal bankruptcies will remain for 10 years. Remember that no one can legitimately remove negative information from your credit report if that information is correct. Any company or individual who claims that they can do this is not telling you the truth. The only thing that can erase negative but accurate information from your credit report is the passage of time.

Your Free Reports

Federal law entitles consumers to a free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. To receive your free reports go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. In addition, all Georgia consumers are eligible to receive two additional copies of each credit report per year at no charge. To receive these additional copies, you must contact the credit reporting agencies directly. You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you have been the victim of identity theft or if you are denied credit on the basis of information provided in a credit report.

How to Contact the Credit Bureaus

Experian National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
General inquiries: 888-397-3742
Additional free credit report: 866-200-6020
www.experian.com/freestate
www.experian.com/reportaccess (if denied credit within past 60 days)

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
General inquiries or additional free credit report:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374
800-685-1111
www.equifax.com/fcra (Under the box that says "Reason for Credit File Report", check "Reduced-Fee State Credit File")

TransUnion Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, Pennsylvania 19022
General inquiries: 800-916-8800
Additional free credit report: 800-888-4213
http://annualcreditreport.transunion.com/pdf/DisclosureRequest.pdf

When requesting a credit report by mail, for the purpose of accurate file-matching, include your full name; current full address including zip code; Social Security number; date of birth; and most recent former address.