What To Look For On Your Credit Report
Lenders use codes to send information to the credit bureaus about how and when you make payments.
These codes have two parts:
- a letter shows the type of credit youre using
- a number shows when you make payments
You may see different codes on your credit report depending on how you make your payments for each account.
What’s In Your Credit Report
Your credit report contains personal information, credit account history, credit inquiries and public records. This information is reported by your lenders and creditors to the credit bureaus. Much of it is used to calculate your FICO® Scores to inform future lenders about your creditworthiness.
Although each of the credit bureausExperian, Equifax and TransUnionformat and report your information differently, all credit reports contain basically the same categories of information.These four categories are: identifying information, credit accounts, credit inquiries and public records.
What Are Public Records On A Credit Report
Your credit report is an evolving compilation of your financial history. The report contains personal information, including current address and Social Security Number, and credit accounts, like credit cards and car loans. The report also contains public records, so its beneficial to understand what a public record is and its potential impact on your finances.
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Why Should I Get A Copy Of My Report
Getting your credit report can help protect your credit history from mistakes, errors, or signs of identity theft.
Check to be sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. Consider doing this at least once a year. Be sure to check before you apply for credit, a loan, insurance, or a job. If you find mistakes on your credit report, contact the credit bureaus and the business that supplied the information to get the mistakes removed from your report.
Check to help spot identity theft. Mistakes on your credit report might be a sign of identity theft. Once identity thieves steal your personal information information like, your name, date of birth, address, credit card or bank account, Social Security, or medical insurance account numbers they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, get new credit cards in your name, open a phone, cable, or other utility account in your name, steal your tax refund, use your health insurance to get medical care, or pretend to be you if they are arrested.
Identity theft can damage your credit with unpaid bills and past due accounts. If you think someone might be misusing your personal information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a personalized recovery plan.
How Do You Check Your Credit Report
On AnnualCreditReport.com you are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. These agencies include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing financial hardships. To remain in control of your finances, you can get free credit reports every week through April 2022.
Request all three reports at once or one at a time. Learn about other situations when you can request a free credit report.
Request Your Free Credit Report:
By Mail: Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
If Your Request for a Free Credit Report is Denied:
Contact the CRA directly to try to resolve the issue. The CRA should tell you the reason they denied your request and explain what to do next. Often, you will only need to provide information that was missing or incorrect on your application for a free credit report.
If you can’t resolve your dispute with the CRA, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau .
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What If I Find A Problem Or Mistake On My Credit Report
If you have no plans to apply for new credit, it’s a good idea to review your credit report from each bureau on an annual basis. Check to ensure that your identifying information is correct, and that the credit accounts listed in your report are accurately represented.
If you do plan to apply for a new loan or credit card, it’s vital that you check your credit reports beforehand in case there is anything that needs to be cleared up. Negative information in your credit reports can lower your credit scores, and you want your credit scores to be the best they can be before applying for new credit.
Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting bureau and the information provider are responsible for correcting any inaccurate or incomplete information in your reports. To get information corrected, you must initiate a dispute with the credit reporting agency. This typically involves submitting your dispute in writing. The credit reporting agency must investigate your dispute within 30 days of your submission.
Experian makes it easy to initiate a dispute online through our Dispute Center. You can also initiate a dispute at Experian by phone or mail see “How to Dispute Credit Report Information” for more details.
How To Get Your Credit Report
If youve ever borrowed money from a lender you should have a credit file. Whether youve applied for a credit card or taken out a mortgage to purchase your dream home, you should have a credit report with the credit rating agencies. Its important to regularly review your credit report to ensure its accurate and you havent been the victim of fraud. Heres how to request your credit report from the credit bureaus.
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What Is A Public Record On The Credit Report
Knowing the credit report is essential in your banking and loans journey. This article talks about the public record on credit reports and the information on credit reports.
A credit report has a separate section on it which is for public records. A public record is necessary to know about your financial affairs and how you deal with your bills and other financial matters. It can affect your . These come from government documents and any negative information can hurt your credit scores. The public report is very important when the financial institution is trying to look for how frequent youre with paying your bills and also if you have any negative financial history.
A bad public record on the credit report can stay there for a long time due to which you might suffer. Legal actions may be initiated. Lets look at it in a bit more detail to see what a public record on a credit report is and how it works.
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How Often Can I Get A Free Report
Federal law gives you the right to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. Through the pandemic, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three national credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Also, everyone in the U.S. can get six free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. Thats in addition to the one free Equifax report you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.
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Whats On My Credit Reports
Your credit reports contain personal information, as well as a record of your overall . Lenders and creditors report account information, such as your payment history, credit inquiries and credit account balances, to the three main consumer credit bureaus. All of that information can make its way into your credit reports.
Much of whats found in your credit reports can impact whether youre approved for a credit card, mortgage, auto loan or other type of loan, along with the rates youll get. Even landlords may look at your credit when deciding whether to rent to you.
Lets dig into some of the main components of your credit reports.
Personal InformationThe personal information you might find on your credit reports includes your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and any jobs youve held.
The credit bureaus use this personally identifiable information to ensure youre really you, but it doesnt factor into your credit scores. In fact, federal law prohibits credit scores from factoring in personal information such as your race, color, gender, religion, marital status or national origin.
That being said, its not necessarily true that the American financial system is unbiased or that credit lending and credit scoring systems dont consider factors affected by bias. To learn more about racial justice in lending and initiatives seeking to create change, connect with organizations leading the fight, like the ACLU.
What Goes Into A Credit Score
Each company has its own way to calculate your credit score. They look at:
- how many loans and credit cards you have
- how much money you owe
- how long you have had credit
- how much new credit you have
They look at the information in your credit report and give it a number. That is your credit score.
It is very important to know what is in your credit report. If your report is good, your score will be good. You can decide if it is worth paying money to see what number someone gives your credit history.
Your credit history is important. It tells businesses how you pay your bills. Those businesses then decide if they want to give you a credit card, a job, an apartment, a loan, or insurance.
Find out what is in your report. Be sure the information is correct. Fix anything that is not correct.
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The Importance Of Knowing Your Score
As we mentioned above, you shouldn’t go through life without knowing your credit score. This number is updated regularly. It goes up or down usually every month, but it may even be changed more frequently based on who’s reporting.
Knowing your score means you’re more likely to make better decisions about your finances. Having a lower score may make you more cautious about applying for new credit as there’s a good chance you’ll be denied. If you have a lot of inquiries and very few accounts, your score drops, and lenders may refuse to grant you a new account. On the other hand, knowing you have a higher credit score makes you a more attractive applicant to .
Keep in mind that checking your credit score isn’t the same as checking your . Your credit report provides a detailed history of your financial life, including any accounts you have, how often you’ve paid them on time, any delinquencies, bankruptcy reports, flags and messages, write-offs, and inquiries. The report also includes the dates of any changes to your credit history. You can use this history to account for and report any discrepancies.
You can start by going to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion first by logging on to AnnualCreditReport.com to check your report for free. Each agency gives you access to your report once every 12 months. You’ll have to pay them if you want your credit score. But why pay when you can get your score for free?
Why Do I Need A Credit Report
Both your credit report and your credit score are valuable financial tools that can help you in various ways as you make your way through life. In fact, a solid record of responsible credit usage will allow you to secure loans of all kinds. Lenders and creditors want to know, first and foremost, that their clients have the ability to pay them back. They can verify this by looking at your credit report and seeing that you dont have a history of debt or bankruptcy problems. Similarly, having a good credit report and score can help you not only secure those loans but get the best possible interest rates. So, its important to keep up to date and check your credit report and credit score regularly, so that you can have a healthy and happy financial future.
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Free Credit Report In Spanish
Additionally, Equifax is the first and only credit bureau to offer a free, translated credit report in Spanish online and by mail. There are two ways to request your Spanish credit report, online or by phone.
To receive your credit report in Spanish, you can visit: www.equifax.com/micredito or call Equifax customer service 888-EQUIFAX and press option 8 to begin requesting your free credit report in Spanish. Our Customer Care is available between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM ET, Mon-Fri 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM ET, Sat-Sun. When you request your Equifax credit report in Spanish by phone you will receive it in the mail.
Why Should I Check My Credit Report
Your credit report has information that can affect whether you’re approved for a loan or credit card and the amount you’ll be approved for. Getting a copy of your credit report is valuable to:
- Make sure the information is accurate, complete and updated before applying for a line of credit
- Help protect yourself from identity theft
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Review Your Report & Dispute Any Errors
Reading your credit report is one of the most vital steps when it comes to building credit and maintaining it. While reviewing your report, make sure your personal and account information is accurate.
Common credit reporting errors to look for include the following:
- Incorrect name or address
- Paid accounts that are listed as open
- Account balance or credit limit errors
- Accounts that dont belong to you
If you spot an error, dispute it with each credit bureau that lists it on your report or the creditor that reported it. The investigation will typically take 30 days to complete. Once its over, the credit bureau will remove the information if it finds that it is in fact an error.
How To Safeguard Your Identity
If you find accounts listed on your credit reports that you did not open or if you are worried about identity theft, you might consider filing a free fraud alert on your credit file that remains active for one year through the Experian fraud center. The fraud alert notifies lenders pulling your credit report to take extra steps to verify your identity.
You can also freeze your credit reports, another free measure that prevents lenders from issuing new credit in your name altogether. Or try Experian CreditLock, a benefit of your Experian membership, which allows you to lock and unlock your report in real time, with no waiting period.
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What If I Find An Error In My Credit Report
Well, you wont be the first. In millions of files and hundreds of millions of reported entries, there are bound to be mistakes. Some are minor data-entry errors. Others are damaging whoppers. For example, weve heard of instances where negative credit files from one person got posted to the file of someone who had a similar name .
How Do I Order My Free Credit Reports
If you are getting your annual free credit reports, you can order them online through AnnualCreditReport.com.
This website will let you order all three of your free credit reports at once, with no obligations and no hidden fees. You may have to provide some personal information to confirm your identity before ordering, but you will not be charged if you use this site.
Please note that if you use these free credit reports to file a dispute with the credit reporting agencies, they have 45 days to investigate your dispute instead of the typical 30-day timeframe.
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Option : Request Your Free Credit Report By Filling Out A Form
Quick Links to Equifax and TransUnion Credit report forms
You can also request a free copy of your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion by filling out an Equifax form and/or a TransUnion form. You can then mail the completed forms to Equifax and TransUnion and they will mail you a free credit report.
For all the options listed above, when your credit report arrives by mail, certain personal and identifying details will be blocked out. If this is your own report, there is enough information there for you to know whats going on. If someone should get your report in error, or take it out of the mail, there isnt enough information there for them to harm your identity.
Successfully Answer Security Questions
For each report request, youll be asked a few questions about your finances that presumably only you can answer for instance, the approximate amount of your mortgage payment or who holds your auto loan and when you took it out.
Some consumers have reported difficulty using the site, particularly answering security questions about accounts that are several years old. If you cant recall those details, you can request your reports by mail or phone this process doesnt require security questions.
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Identifying Credit Report Errors
Flubs occur because of human error or incomplete information being provided to a credit bureau. Errors can include:
- Reports of something you didn’t buy or a purchase you didnt authorize
- Reports of amounts differing from what you actually paid
- Inaccurate purchase dates
- Missing payments or credits to your account
- Accounts mistakenly attributed to you
- Reports of applications you didn’t fill out
The other credit report error is fraud, in which someone intentionally and illegally tries to mess with your financial statusfor example, by opening an account in your name.
In either situation, the best way to correct an issue is to find the source of the error. Of course, you wont know there is an error unless you check your report regularly. So, request a copy of your report and carefully review all the information it contains. Look for any entries that are mistakenly attributed to you because of confused names, addresses or Social Security information. Check for mixed account information that could be due to identity theft, incorrect payment status, an ex-spouses information mixed with yours, outdated information or remedied delinquencies not being reported.
Once you’ve discovered a possible problem, make sure to gather proof supporting your position that there is an error before you officially dispute it.