Managing Your Credit Report
Did you know that you have more than one credit report? Three credit reporting agencies in the United States have access to your information from lenders who have offered credit or loans to you. This is the information used to create your credit reports, and so it is vital to review the reports periodically to ensure accuracy.
Your credit report creates a very comprehensive view of your financial history. Your report contains some basic personal information for identification purposes, including your name, address, social security number, and employment information. These details come from the information you provide to lenders when seeking to borrow.
Information on your trade lines – your credit accounts – is also in your credit report. Lenders provide data about any accounts you have opened. The date you opened the account, the credit limit, payment information, and balance are all details available in your credit reports.
Any inquiries into your credit within the previous two years will be shown on the credit report itself. If you apply for any type of credit, the lender can see a copy of your credit report. This is a voluntary inquiry, as you have authorized the lender to access this information by applying. Lenders can also make “involuntary” inquiries; they will view your credit data to make pre-approved offers to you.
Your credit reports contain information about collections. This means that any time a lender turns your account over to a collection agency it shows on your report. Reporting agencies will access public records from courts, so if you have been sued, filed bankruptcy, or dealt with a home foreclosure, it will appear on your credit report. Any wage attachments or judgments in a court of law will be listed as well.
Federal Law gives you the right to a free copy of your report from each Credit Reporting Agency once a year. By regularly reviewing the information in these credit reports you can ensure that all the information is up to date and accurate, and potentially catch early signs of identity theft.