Credit Reporting

Credit reporting is a detailed record of your current and past credit obligations. In a sense, it tells the story of your financial life-past and present. Most of the information on your credit report comes from the businesses with which you have or had accounts or loans

Our pick for BEST Credit Reporting companies

myfreescore

MyFreeScoreNow offers a free 14-day trial that allows customers to see their credit reports and scores. The company offers add-on services that allow customers to see reports and scores from all three of the major credit bureaus. MyFreeScoreNow also provides financial transaction monitoring and credit monitoring to help prevent ID theft.

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Transunion

TransUnion offers a comprehensive monthly subscription that includes access to your VantageScore, detailed analysis of your credit and more. For about $20 a month, you become a TransUnion member with unlimited access to the Score & Reporting, which includes your VantageScore 3.0 — an industry score developed jointly by the three main bureaus.

experian logo

Unlike credit repair companies, Experian Boost is completely free and can increase your credit scores fast. Credit repair may cost you thousands of dollars and only help fix inaccuracies, which you can do yourself for free. Piggybacking services that add you to a stranger's account are risky and considered deceptive by lenders. Raise your credit scores securely with Experian Boost.

equi

Equifax keeps an eye on your overall credit reporting, monitoring applications for loans and credit cards, your repayment history, plus any bankruptcies or an account sold to a collection agency. It can also provides tailored verification services to businesses and the government.

Credit Reporting FAQ

Your credit report is a detailed record of your borrowing history based on information collected from credit card providers, banks, loan providers and other institutions you’ve borrowed from.

Among the details contained in your credit report are:

  • Your personal information. Listed in your report are your full name, date of birth, phone number, address, your Social Security number and your employment information.
  • Consumer credit information. This includes any credit applications you’ve made in the last two years, the type credit accounts (revolving and installment), the account open and close dates, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance at the time of the report and your payment history.
  • Collections. Unpaid debts and accounts that are default or in collections will also be listed.
  • Credit inquiries. Your report includes any credit applications you’ve made in the last two years whether you’ve been approved or not.
  • Information that is public record. Credit bureaus collect information that’s held in the public record, including any bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, liens and judgments made against you.
  • Banks and credit card companies. Credit reporting help financial institutions evaluate your creditworthiness when you apply for a product or service.
  • Businesses. Any company that needs to view your credit report in order to conduct a service or sell a product.
  • Potential employers. Some hiring companies ask permission from potential employees to pull a credit report to learn how they handle their finances. Poor credit scores could signal mishandling of money, lack of organization or financial troubles that could lead to fraud or theft.
  • Insurance companies. Underwriters will pull your report to assess financial risk when drawing up your policy.
  • Credit monitoring services. These are hired companies that act on your behalf to alert you when your credit profile has changed.
  • Government agencies. The government can access your report for a number of reasons including: licensing, identification, government benefits eligibility or to determine child support payments.
  • Debt collectors. Collection agencies check your credit report as a means of attempting to locate you to recoup a loss from a credit transaction.
  • Landlords. By reviewing an applicants credit report, a landlord can get a good grasp on whether or not the potential tenant would be able to make rent payments.
  • Payment history - Up to 7 years for negative history including late payments, Up to 10 for positive history including revolving and installment debt
  • Credit inquiries - 1–2 years for most states whether approved or not, Up to 5 years in New York, Up to 7 years in California
  • Tax liens -  7 years for paid liens,  Indefinitely for unpaid liens
  • Court judgments - 7 years whether satisfied or not
  • Bankruptcy - 10 years from date filed for Chapter 7 or 11, 7 years from date filed for Chapter 13
  • Collection accounts - 7 years from first date past due
  • Your personal information. Ensure that your name, your Social Security number and your employment history are correct. If you find a diversion from this information, report it immediately to limit any chance of identity theft.
  • Open accounts. If your report shows that you owe on an account you have since fully repaid or closed or credit or store cards you’ve never used, call the credit reporting bureau first and then call the provider to find out how to resolve the issue.
  • Incorrectly listed payments or defaults. You may find negative information that’s reported incorrectly on your report, such as late or missed payments. Highlight anything that you believe is not correct and dispute it with both the reporting bureau and the creditor or institution that provided the information.
  • Duplicate listings. Are any of your accounts listed more than once? Especially with collections, you’ll want to make sure that the same account is not listed multiple times throughout your report.
  • Cosigner information. If you find that you’re listed as a cosigner on a loan that you did not authorize, contact the reporting bureau immediately.
  • Mix of credit. The different types of credit you have contribute to your credit score, so it’s recommended to have a healthy blend of revolving and installment credit.
  • Credit utilization ratio. Lenders often look at how much of your available credit is being used compared to your credit limit. When your credit utilization ratio is over 30%, your credit score could take a few dings.

While your credit report tells a lot about you, there are certain things that are not included.

Your credit report does not include the following information:

  • Race
  • Political or religious preferences
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Medical history
  • Checking or savings accounts
  • Debit cards
  • Criminal and driving records
  • Credit score

Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report but is not part of the report.

What is your payment history?

Are you on top of your bills? Do you make sure to pay everything early or on time? This is one thing that your creditors look at. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score—and it’s the biggest portion.

How effectively are you using available credit?

Have you ever wondered how using your credit affects your credit score? With so many misconceptions about carrying balances month to month, this can be confusing. Your credit utilization, or how much of your credit you use, makes up 30% of your credit score. Interested in paying down those high balances?

Your Credit and your Identity

Credit can be complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. Learning responsible credit behavior can set you up to reach your goals. Find out what’s in your credit report, how your credit score is calculated, and how to get on track in your credit journey.

Learn how to help better protect your identity, and what you should look out for. Find out how identity theft happens, and whether you or your children may be at risk. And if you've been the victim of identity theft, find out what you can do immediately to begin the recovery process.

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