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Credit FAQs: What Information Is on My Credit Report?

Written by Diane Moogalian on December 3, 2013 in Credit  |   7 comments

Wondering how your credit score is calculated? It’s all about the information in your credit report. Make sure you understand what information lenders are looking at, and how that information impacts your credit score.

information on my credit reportOnce you’ve pulled a copy of your credit report, it’s important that you understand how to read it to ensure that your credit information is accurate and up to date.

One section of your credit report contains information about your credit accounts, which are also known as trade lines. About 15 percent of your credit score is based on the types of credit accounts you have as well as how many of each type you have.

Your credit account activity is furnished to the three national credit reporting agencies by your lenders and creditors. They report information such as the type of credit accounts you have established with them, the dates on which you opened each account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balances, and your payment history.

What Information Is on My Credit Report?

In general, there are three different types of credit accounts you can find listed in your credit report:

1. Revolving credit

How it works: A revolving credit account allows you to borrow up to a pre-established amount—also known as your credit limit—repeatedly, as long as your account remains in good standing. Your payment amount will vary from month to month depending on your current balance.

On a revolving account, you have the option to either repay the amount borrowed in full or to pay at least a specified minimum. If you only make the minimum payment, however, you will also be charged interest for revolving your balance to the following month. As your balance on a revolving account declines, the amount owed in interest will also decline.

Types of accounts: A credit card is a common example of revolving credit, regardless of whether it’s issued by a bank or credit union, another financial institution, or a retail store. A home equity line of credit—where you borrow against your home’s equity—is also a type of revolving credit.

2. Installment credit

How it works: With installment credit, the payment amount and the number of payments are predetermined or fixed. Once you borrow money, you repay it in equal amounts over a specific period of time. On an installment credit account, you also have to pay an annual percentage rate (APR) that is expressed as a yearly rate and which is determined by the interest rate, broker fees, and other credit charges.

Types of accounts: Installment credit includes mortgages, home equity loans, and student loans. An auto loan, which is typically paid off in 36, 48, or 60 months, is another example of installment credit.

3. Open credit

How it works: With open credit, you are required to pay the full amount borrowed within 30 days of billing, and neither a finance charge nor interest is charged on the account.

Types of accounts: A charge card is considered open credit. Unlike a credit card, a charge card must be paid off in full by the due date, and no interest is accumulated. A charge card doesn’t have a credit limit, and purchases are approved based on factors such as credit and payment histories. Keep in mind that with some charge cards, you do have the option to roll over some debt to the following month.

If you find incomplete or inaccurate information regarding one of the credit accounts listed in your credit report, you can file a dispute free of charge with all three nationwide credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). Based on the result of the investigation, the CRAs will either update the current status of the disputed information, which may include informing you that the data furnisher verified that the information was correct, or delete the item from your report.

Diane Moogalian is vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Solutions with responsibility for operational strategy and execution in support of customer care and fulfillment of credit and identity-related products for consumers. Prior to joining Equifax in 2007, Diane held several strategic roles with leading financial services companies. Diane graduated from the University of Richmond with a bachelor of science degree in business administration (marketing and economics) and earned a certificate in international business from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Nancy says:

    Hi Diane, I found the information you provided to be very informative and helpful in my understanding my credit report especially since I am trying to rebuild my credit. I have a question with regards to bankruptcy and negative reporting by creditors. I filed for bankruptcy on 4/1/13 and the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay kept creditors from collection efforts. The bankruptcy was discharged on 7/31/13 which then reverted the automatic stay to a permanent discharge. From what I understand your creditors cannot collect on the discharged debts, as well certain requirements they must follow regarding credit reporting. If the debts are discharged and the amounts I owed were changed to zero as of the date I filed, being 4/1/13 as a result of the bankruptcy, doesn’t that also mean they couldn’t continue reporting me as being late beyond the date I filed since they would have been reporting on being late for owing a “zero balance”? If you have any information from a federal regulation or guidance on this, I would really appreciate it.

  2. Jeff H. says:

    Why is there different reports between the 3 reporting agencies on ones reports. Should not all be identical.

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Jeff H. great question. Several factors are used to calculate credit scores, and it is difficult to pinpoint one reason for score differences. Generally, when you pull three scores at the same time, the difference is a result of the credit file data being different at each of the three credit-reporting agencies. Not all creditors report to all three credit-reporting agencies, so you may see some credit lines on some of your reports but not all of your reports. The number of agencies to which a creditor reports can have an impact on the scores you see from each agency. Here is a link with more information: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/why-are-my-three-credit-scores-different/

  3. Incabod McFudnutt says:

    You know as well as I do that lenders use their own formulas for credit scores, because their intention is to charge you the most interest rate possible. This whole credit score system is flawed to say the least, and is really just another industry unto itself. What good is my credit score from the “Big-3” if the lenders don’t use it?

    • Joseph says:

      I could not agree more! It’s all a scam…I am in the process of buying a new car, the car place told me they were pulling and using my equifax credit score. However the credit score that the car company told me my equifax credit score was, is completely different then the credit score that equifax.com says it is….I’m sorry but it’s all a scam to get as much money out of us as possible.

      And yes you are right they have to use their own formulas to drop our credit scores so we pay the highest interest rates possible!

      So equifax my question to you is ….is it legal for a company/ lender to tell me my equifax credit score is one thing when my credit score pulled directly from your website says it is something else?

      And if it is legal …then what the heck is the point of your website and the random credit score ? !! If the number is going to be completely different whenever I try to get financing?

      Please explain I need some answers!

  4. Johnnye says:

    The credit score you pull directly from Equifax is always going to be different than scores you pull from third party companies(credit cards, auto, mortgage companies)unless the score calculation is similar. The companies will access your Equifax credit report, but they will calculate their own score… Using their own model and guidelines.. The point of the Equifax risk score is to give you a general idea of what your credit standing is. It is also legal for the companies to have these different models and guidelines.

  5. paula i. says:

    my daughter, single mom, has been struggling to stay current on all her bills etc. She paid her car payment 2 days late and her credit score dropped to 510- (100 points)she is just devastated. She doesn’t understand why it dropped so much, who to talk to and what the next steps are.

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