What Is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a detailed account of your financial history that lenders and other businesses use to assess whether you’re reliable when it comes to debt repayment.

Your credit report is available free of charge once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. It’s important to check it regularly.

Information on Your Credit Report

Your credit report is a record of the information lenders, insurance companies and employers use to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for loans, credit cards or other types of debt. It’s also a record of public records, such as tax liens and civil judgments.

Your credit reports typically include details on your credit accounts, such as the dates you opened them and how much you owe, as well as account status and payment history. They may also contain information on overdue child support or if a court has ordered you to pay a tax lien.

You can request a copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies for free. You can also dispute errors on your report with each credit agency, and ask for the information to be removed or corrected.

What’s Included in Your Credit Report

Credit reports are detailed accounts of your financial history that lenders use to assess whether you’re a credit risk. Lenders may pull a credit report when you apply for a new loan or credit card, rent an apartment or purchase insurance.

The major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – collect and compile this information. The information may vary slightly between the three bureaus due to the fact that some businesses don’t provide data to all of them.

Your credit report also includes identifying information, such as your full name, date of birth, social security number and other identifiers. It also includes public record information, including any court actions against you.

Your credit report also contains a credit score, which is a numerical representation of your financial reliability. It can help lenders determine your qualifications and how much you’ll pay for a new loan or credit card. It typically ranges from 300 to 850, depending on the scoring model used by the lender.

What’s Not Included in Your Credit Report

A credit report primarily tracks payment history — but there are other things that can influence how lenders decide whether to loan you money. Some are obvious, like your income and employment.

Other information not included in credit reports are age, race or ethnicity, sex and marital status, and the amount of debt you carry. However, many lenders consider this data when calculating your credit score.

Having more than one credit account can also improve your score. But, don’t apply for too many credit cards or loans in a short period of time. This can trigger a “hard pull” on your credit, which temporarily lowers your score.

Some other information that may be included in your credit report but isn’t reflected in your credit score are public record data, such as civil judgments or tax liens. These records have to be more than seven years old before they can be reported.

How to Read Your Credit Report

Credit reports are a detailed account of your credit history, which helps lenders decide whether to give you loans, credit cards, or mortgages. They’re also used by employers, insurance companies and landlords to evaluate your financial reliability.

Your credit report may look like a financial statement, with personal information at the top and your accounts listed in sections. It’s a good idea to read through your credit report to make sure it’s correct before applying for anything.

The first section is your personal information, including your name, date of birth, Social Security number, past and current addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license number, and employer. You might notice some of the information isn’t exactly right, such as different spellings or addresses that don’t match where you live. It’s usually a mistake, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s worth a quick check anyway.