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What's in Your Credit Report & How It Affects You

Understanding what's in your credit report

Your credit report and credit score are determining factors in whether you qualify for credit. But do you understand what information is listed in your credit report?

It's important to know not only what is in your credit report, but also how the information is used and how you can correct any errors.

Information on your credit report

There are several components that make up a credit report. Your report will contain:

  • Personal/identifying information: Identifying information you can expect to see includes name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, employment information and your spouse's information if you share finances.
  • Credit history: Your credit history is the main part of your credit report. It lists current and former accounts (up to a certain age) with banks, credit card companies, mortgage lenders and various other lenders. Account information may be very detailed and include opening of accounts, credit lines, monthly payments, late payments and delinquent accounts.
  • Public records: Court orders and liens for unpaid taxes or loans, bankruptcies and collection accounts will all be listed.
  • Credit inquiries: Hard inquiries (credit inquiries made by lenders) will appear on your account. Too many varied inquiries from unrelated types of lenders may have an effect your credit score.
  • Disputes you have filed: If you have disputed a claim, it will be noted on your credit report.

How the information is used

Your credit history (both good and bad), public records, credit inquiries, and disputes may affect your ability to get credit.

Addressing errors in your credit report information

If you find inaccuracies in your credit report, you should address those errors immediately.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was designed to protect the accuracy and privacy of your credit report. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a guide for correcting credit report errors.

Check your credit information regularly

The information on your credit report is constantly updating. Be sure you know what is on your report at all times. Enroll in a PrivacyGuard membership and get your 3-in-1 credit report and scores, daily credit monitoring and so much more.

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