What Is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a record of your borrowing history. Businesses use it to determine whether you’ll be able to pay back a loan or credit card. Other uses include applying for a job, renting an apartment or buying insurance. Credit reports also contain public records such as bankruptcy and legal judgments.

Your credit report is a document that contains information about your credit history.

A credit report contains input on your loan and credit card accounts, including payment history. It also contains information about your debts and a summary of legal matters like bankruptcy. This document is sold to businesses that decide whether or not to lend you money, give you insurance or rent an apartment. It is important to check your report regularly for errors. If you find any, notify the consumer reporting company in writing.

There are three major credit bureaus that generate your credit file and credit score. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In addition to information about credit accounts, a credit report also includes your identifying information and other public records, such as bankruptcy filings and tax liens. A credit report may also include accounts in collections and a list of inquiries, both hard and soft, made about you. A hard inquiry, such as when a lender checks your credit, can affect your credit score, but a soft inquiry does not.

It’s a legal document

Credit reporting companies are required to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information they report. They are also required to investigate disputed information and correct it as appropriate. If a credit reporting company willfully violates New Hampshire fair credit reporting laws, it may be liable for actual damages, punitive damages and other costs and attorney fees.

The credit bureaus collect data on consumers that goes over and above their credit payment histories, such as medical records and payments, rental history, employment history, insurance claims, check writing and bankruptcies. The agencies then sell that information to businesses that want to know about consumers in order to make decisions on their applications for credit, mortgages and insurance.

You can request a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus. Read it carefully and note any errors. You can dispute them by contacting the agency in writing. Include copies of any documents that support your claim. The agency must investigate your claim within 30 days unless it deems the dispute frivolous. The agency must also contact the information provider to verify the accuracy of the disputed information.

It’s a record of your financial activity

Every time you use credit cards, take out a loan or make a late payment on an account, it’s reported to the three major credit bureaus. The bureaus then compile this data and present it in a report that’s used by lenders to assess your creditworthiness.

The credit report carries personal information, including your name (and any variations you’ve used) and addresses, social security number and date of birth. It also lists your past and current credit accounts, along with the balances on them and how long they’ve been open. It also shows any public records, such as liens or foreclosures.

The credit report also includes details about hard and soft inquiries into your credit. Hard inquiries appear on your report and impact your credit score; soft inquires don’t. It also lists the types of credit accounts you have, which helps lenders determine your credit mix. It’s important to check your credit report regularly for errors, as these can prevent you from getting access to loans and credit cards with competitive terms.

It’s a tool for lenders

Your credit report gives lenders a glimpse into how responsibly you’ve used credit in the past. The information it contains helps them determine whether to extend you credit and under what terms. Potential employers and landlords may also review your credit report.

Credit reports contain personal information such as your name (including previous names and aliases), Social Security number and birth date. They also include current and previous addresses. Inaccuracies in this information can hurt your credit. For example, a misspelled name, an address you don’t recognize or an incorrect digit in your Social Security number could make it difficult to verify your identity.

Your credit report also lists debts and payment history with companies that loaned you money, such as banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies and department stores. It also includes debts in collections and public records, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens and lawsuits. It also lists inquiries made by companies and individuals in the last two years, which can either be voluntary or involuntary.