HOW MUCH? - credit report

Credit report and score.

   
 

Credit reporting agencies.

There are three credit reporting agencies in the United States.

Equifax, Experian and Trans Union keep track of everyone's credit dealings and history. Financial institutions like banks, credit unions, and other lenders voluntarily report to them the details of your financial transactions. Since the information is reported voluntarily, it is likely that each credit report will be slightly different, because most financial institutions will report only to one credit bureau.

Checking your own credit report.

The experts usually advise to check one’s credit report at least once a year, especially in this age of massive identity theft. You can contact each credit bureau directly, or use various online resources to pull your credit report from all three at once. In some states, you can obtain a free credit report if you applied for and were denied credit.

Four sections of a credit report.

The first part of your credit report consists of identifying information: name, social security number, state issued ID number and your current and past addresses. For most people, this part of the credit report will list many variations of their name, SSN number, and so on, and it shouldn't be a reason to be concerned.

The second part of a credit report is a list of accounts - your actual credit history. For each single account, you can see the following information:
1. Name of the creditor and the account number.
2. When the account was open.
3. The account type (e.g. revolving, like a credit card or installment, like a home loan or a car loan).

4. Status of the credit account: open, closed, paid.
5. Balance, credit limits, minimum payment, etc.
6. How you handled the account in the past: never late, late 10 days, etc.

Public records may prove damaging to your credit score. The next section of a credit report lists public records, if any.

Credit Report Check
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This part will potentially have the most damaging information, which could have a negative effect on your credit score. It lists judgments, liens, bankruptcies and wage garnishments. People with a good credit report history have this section blank.

The fourth part consists of all credit inquiries made within the last 18 months. There are two types of inquiries: those made by you, which can have a negative impact on your credit report if you have too many, and those made by the lenders seeking to extend a credit offer to you. This last type will have no baring on your credit report score.
It is important to remember that inquiries made within a 14 day period (for example: while shopping for a car loan) will usually count as one, and will not damage your FICO credit score.

See also: free credit score, credit score formulas, increasing credit score

Related topics: free credit report

 

 

 

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