What Are Credit Reports?
A credit report is entirely different to a credit score. Although credit scores are calculated using information that can often be found on your credit report, they are a formulaic value and only work with figures. Credit reports are a more comprehensive profile of your financial responsibility and take a lot more into consideration. Every US citizen is entitled to a free annual credit report courtesy of the government, so if you’re wondering what yours looks like; you can order one at no cost.
What is in my Credit Report?
Your credit report reads much like a financial resume, it details and documents your history is credit and payments so that assessors can decide whether to grant you credit and at what interest rate. Your credit report will normally open with Personal Information, which is made up of the mandatory details such as name, address, contact details, date of birth employment history, social security number and marital status.
Your credit history makes up a large proportion of the report, detailing the history of your bill-paying with any bodies who have granted credit. This will only apply to bodies who have loaned money and given finance, this doesn’t take into account utility bills which aren’t given on a credit basis. The main organizations who contribute content to this section include banks, mortgage brokers and finance companies. Your credit activity is detailed for each account of credit; date opened, outstanding balance, repaid balance, monthly re-payments, length of loan etc.
Public records are also included in your credit report, made up of any past bankruptcies, tax liens and legal financial interventions. The report inquiries section is a list of all bodies who have received your credit report or are authorized to view it; whilst the final section is made up of any disputes that either you or the creditor have raised against information on the report.
What isn’t in my Credit Report?
In the interest of avoiding discrimination and visibility of unnecessary personal details, there are a number of omitted areas such as your current bank balances, your race and religion and status of health. Criminal and driving records are also not included, whilst your wages, salary and income don’t appear in your credit report either. Canny assessors can determine a large number of these through existing information such as automobile finances and medical bills.
Who can see my Credit Report?
Those who have the right or permission to look at your credit report are laid out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. By default, the only two bodies allowed to view your credit report are the consumer (you) and the government. Bodies with ‘permissible reason’ to access your credit report include anybody you are intending to score finance with or gain credit from, the most common of these being banks, lenders and credit card companies. Your landlord or employer may also request access to your credit report.