Credit reporting agencies.
There are three credit reporting agencies in the United States.
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
Public records may prove damaging to your credit
score. The next section of a credit report lists public records,
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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
Related topics: free