Everything you need to know about Credit Reports
Get the low down on credit reports and all the information that goes into it. Explore our credit reports section to learn more about your credit rights, improving your credit and the details of credit scoring. Below is an excerpt from Building a Better Credit Report, published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To view a complete copy of this booklet, click here.
"If you've ever applied for a credit card, a personal loan, or insurance, there’s a file about you. This file is known as your credit report. It is full of information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses with a legitimate need. They use this information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or a lease."
Having a good credit report means it will be easier for you to get loans and lower interest rates. Lower interest rates usually translate into smaller monthly payments. Nevertheless, newspapers, radio, TV, and the Internet are filled with ads for companies and services that promise to erase negative information on your credit report in exchange for a fee. Most of the negative items on your report will require time and concerted effort on your part in repaying your bills to make a difference. Many of the items that credit repair agencies can help you get removed from your credit report may reappear on your credit within only a few months.
Information about you and your credit experience. This includes bill-paying history, the number of accounts, how many accounts and late payments. Credit agencies will also report any collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts. All of this credit data is collected to create your credit score.
Do I have a right to know what’s in my report?
You have the right to know what’s on your report, but you have to ask for the information. The credit reporting company must tell you everything in your report and give you a list of everyone who has requested your report within the past year.