What's in My Credit Report?
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In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
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Creditors don’t get to know you by inviting you over for a barbecue or “friending” you on Facebook. They look to your credit report to get an idea of who you are, your history of payments with loans and credit cards, and what kind of client you may potentially be. Creditors can tell a lot about you from your credit report. They have a ton of experience in evaluating consumers’ creditworthiness and their potential to be a credit risk based on the information revealed in it.
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of information on your credit report.
Your Equifax credit report contains four categories of information.
Credit Report: Identifying information
This nuts-and-bolts section of your credit report isn’t used for scoring purposes–it establishes who you are.. The information usually comes from lenders who report to Equifax that you applied for or have credit with them.
This section establishes who you are and should list your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth, and it may include employment information. It’s all there so that credit grantors and lenders know that the accounts belong to you, and not to the guy across town who may share your name.
Credit Report: Trade lines
These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on accounts you have established with them. The information includes the type of account (bank card, auto loan, mortgage, etc.), the date you opened the account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance, and your payment history including any late payments
Credit Report: Inquiry information
This section contains information about companies that have requested and/or viewed your credit report information, typically within the last two years. This could be a “soft inquiry” from a credit card company looking to extend a preapproval offer of credit to you, or a “hard inquiry” from credit grantors with whom you have applied for credit. (Check out next week’s post on opting out of credit preapproval offers.)
Credit Report: Public record and/or collection information
Your credit report may contain public record information, such as judgments, tax liens, and bankruptcies. It may also contain account information from professional service providers, such as doctors, hospitals, and cable companies, that has been turned over to an outside collection agency. Not all credit reports contain public record and/or collection information. Generally speaking, negative information drops off your credit file after seven years.
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Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.