Considering just how vital your credit is when it comes to getting a payday loan, finding an apartment, and even getting a job, it is incredibly important that you learn everything you can about credit reports. The more of this information you get, the better of a position you will be in to improve and maintain your credit throughout the years.
What is a Credit Report?
It is basically just a detailed report that documents your entire credit history. Credit bureaus/agencies are responsible for gathering and putting together these reports, which are sold to lenders so they can determine whether or not to approve you for the loan you want. The three major credit bureaus in the U.S. are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. This report will play a very important role in determining whether or not the loan applications you submit in the future are approved.
What information does it contain?
It will contain a lot of information pertaining to your credit history as well as personal information like your name, current and former addresses, phone numbers, birth date, and social security number. When you look at your report you can expect to see any current debts you may have, as well as any late payments you may have made in the past. The total balance of each credit account and the date it was opened will be listed on your reported as well. Some of the different collection items that can go into your report include liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, judgments, and vehicle repossessions. These reports contain very detailed information on all of your credit accounts, so you will be able to see everything in your credit history.
Why should I look at my Credit Report?
It is extremely important that you take a close look at your credit reports each year so that you can make sure there aren't any mistakes or incorrect information in it. Sometimes mistakes happen when it comes to these reports, and it is completely up to you to spot them. By looking through your credit report once in a while, you will be able to potentially avoid having your credit score lowered due to an honest mistake. If you discover any errors on your report, you can file a formal complaint with the appropriate credit bureaus to have them looked at and corrected as soon as possible.
How to get your free Credit Report
When you want to take a look at your report to check for any errors or mistakes, you will be able to visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your report. You are legally entitled to get one free copy of all three of your credit reports once every year. This includes all reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It is important to keep in mind that these reports do not include your credit score. You will also be able to call (877)-322-8228 to get this information.
How long does information stay on my credit report?
The length of time that negative information stays there can vary, but it is usually anywhere from 7 to 10 years. This includes any negative items like judgments, paid tax liens, and bankruptcies.
Positive items tend to stay on this document longer than negative items, which is definitely a good thing. Credit accounts that you have paid in full according to all of the terms could stay on your report for up to 10 years from the last update the credit bureau received.
Who is allowed to access my credit report?
It can be sold to lenders, collection agencies, insurance companies, employers (with your permission), and rental companies. Your friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors are not legally allowed to see this report at all. It is standard practice for a lender to request a copy of your report from one or all of the three major credit bureaus for the purpose of determining your credit worthiness. These days many companies are running credit checks on potential employees who submit applications as well. It is also common for collection agencies to look at your report when they are trying to collect a debt that you owe.
Reading your Report
When you take a look at your report, you will see that it is broken down into four main sections. At the very top of your credit report you will see all of your personal information, including your name, social security number, current address, and phone numbers. The second section in this report will be made up of detailed information on your various credit accounts, both past and current; these accounts are referred to as trade lines. The third section is devoted to public records, which can include bankruptcies, judgments, tax liens, and other things. The very last part of the report lists the details of all the inquiries into your report.
What makes it so important?
There are lots of different reasons why a person's credit report is so crucial, including the fact that all of the lenders you apply to for a loan will most likely look at it when trying to decide whether or not to approve you. A lot of negative marks on your report can even make it difficult to get the job you want. Most apartment complexes run credit checks on applicants, so that is something to consider as well.
The Bottom Line
The fact is that your credit report is not something to take lightly, and you will need to make a point of looking at it each year so you can determine whether or not all of the information in it is completely accurate. All of the positive and negative things related to your lines of credit will go into this report eventually. The information in your report will stay with you a long time, which is all the more reason to make a conscious effort of maintaining good credit over time.