A credit report is a record of how you have paid your credit card debt and other loans. Your credit report information shows whether or not you have paid your bills on time, the amount of money you owe to your creditors, and if you have loans that you have not paid back. Credit reports are compiled by three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Review your personal credit report at least once a year and especially before making a large purchase, like a house. Review the four types of information found on your credit report:
1. Identifying Information – Your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and employment information.
2. Trade Lines – These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on each account you have established with them. They report 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.
3. Inquiries – The inquiries section contains a list of everyone who accessed your credit report in the last two years. The report you see lists both “voluntary” inquiries, spurred by your own requests for credit, and “involuntary” inquires, such as when lenders order your report so they can make you a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.
4. Public Record and Collection Items – Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, suits, wage attachments, liens, and judgments. Information is also included about overdue debt from collection agencies.