Your Credit Report - The Basis of Your FICO Score
Credit reporting agencies maintain files on millions of borrowers. Lenders making credit decisions buy credit reports on their prospects, applicants and customers from the credit reporting agencies.
Your report details your credit history as it has been reported to the credit reporting agency by lenders who have extended credit to you. Your credit report lists what types of credit you use, the length of time your accounts have been open, and whether you've paid your bills on time. It tells lenders how much credit you've used and whether you're seeking new sources of credit. It gives lenders a broader view of your credit history than do other data sources, such as a bank's own customer data.
Your credit report contains many pieces of information that reveal many aspects of your borrowing activities. The ability to quickly, fairly and consistently consider all this information, including the relationships between different types of information, is what makes credit scoring so useful.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT
You should review your credit report from each credit reporting agency at least once a year and especially before making a large purchase, such as a house or car. By September 1, 2005, people in all 50 states will have the right to obtain one free copy of their credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. For more information, contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service at:
P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348"5281
1 877 FACT ACT (1 877 3228228) www.annualcreditreport.com
You can buy additional copies of your credit reports from www.myF1CO.com.
If you find an error, the credit reporting agency must investigate and respond to you within 30 days. If you are in the process of applying for a loan, immediately notify your lender of any incorrect information in your report.
WHAT'S IN YOUR CREDIT REPORT?
Although each credit reporting agency formats and reports this information differently, all credit reports contain basically the same categories of information.
- PERSONAL INFORMATION
Your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and employment information are used to identify you. These factors are not used in credit bureau scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.
These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on each account you have established with them. They report the type of account (bankcard, auto loan, mortgage, etc.), the date you opened the account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance and your payment history.
When you apply for a loan, you authorize your lender to ask for a copy of your credit report. This is how inquiries appear on your credit report. The inquiries section contains a list of lenders who accessed your credit report within the last two years. The report you see lists "voluntary" inquiries, spurred by your own requests for credit, and may also list "involuntary" inquires, such as when lenders order your report before making you a preapproved credit offer in the mail. See page 15 for more information on inquiries.
- NEGATIVE ITEMS
Lenders report delinquency information when you have missed a payment. Credit reporting agencies also collect information on overdue debt from collection agencies, and public record information from state and county courts. Public record information includes: bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, garnishments, legal suits and judgments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can mistakes get on my credit report?
If your credit report contains errors, it is often because the report is incomplete, or conta'ins information about someone else, This typically happens because:
- You applied for credit under different names
(Mary Jones, Mary Jones-Smith, etc)
- Someone made a clerical error in reading or entering name or address information from a hand written application.
- You gave an inaccurate Social Security number, or the number was misread by the lender.
- Loan or credit card information was inadvertently applied to the wrong account.