What Is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a record of information collected from your creditors, which summarizes your credit history. When you apply for the credit, your bank, credit card company or mortgage lender uses your credit report to evaluate the potential risk of lending money to you.

In your credit report, the lender will find out what credit card accounts and loans you have, whether they are in good standing, and whether you make payments on them in a timely manner. If any action has been taken against you because you didn’t pay your bills, or if a company had to charge off a debt that was not repaid by you, that will be on your credit report, too.

There are actually three different agencies, called credit bureaus, which collect this information from your creditors. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Since lenders supply this information separately to all three bureaus, the information on each credit report may differ.

The information reported to credit bureaus, that goes on your credit report, generally breaks down to these four types:

Identifying information: Your name, social security number, date of birth, and a list of your current and previous employers, as well as a list of your previous addresses, will appear on your credit report.

Credit Information: Any bank accounts, credit card accounts, utility accounts, or other loans such as mortgages, student loans, lines or credit or installment loans, will appear on your credit report. Your credit report also includes the dates you opened the account, any cosigners, and two years worth of payment patterns on the accounts.

Public Records: if you have any outstanding monetary judgments, tax liens, or bankruptcy filings, they will appear on your credit record.

Recent Inquiries: If anyone has made an inquiry of your credit within the past year, that will also be noted on your credit report.