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An Inside Look at Your Credit Report

Posted on 2015-05-13 09:00:50

Woman with cup of coffee and laptopIf you have ever used credit, chances are good that you have a credit report. Your credit report does not indicate whether or not you are a good credit risk; it presents data about your credit history for lenders (and others) to review. Let’s look inside your credit report. There are four main categories of information in your credit report: 1. Personal Information that identifies you including: • Your full name • Your Social Security number • Your current and previous addresses • Your phone number • Your date of birth • Your current and previous employers

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2. Credit History: A record of your accounts with banks, retailers, credit card issuers, utility companies and other lenders. These accounts are grouped by type of account such as mortgage, revolving credit or installment loans. The age of the account is usually noted as well as your credit payment history for each account. 3. Inquiries: A record of every time someone accesses your credit report. Hard inquiries result when you initiate a credit application and the potential creditor checks your credit report. The impact of hard inquiries on your credit score is usually not one of the more significant factors. Soft inquiries have absolutely no impact on your credit score. Viewing your own credit report is a soft inquiry. Other inquiries that you do not initiate such as an account review by an existing creditor or a promotional inquiry for the purpose of offering pre-approved credit are soft inquiries. Potential creditors do not see soft inquiries. 4. Public Records: A record of bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens. Negative Information If you’ve made some credit mistakes, they will probably be on your credit report for a while. Federal law dictates how long negative information may remain on your credit report—generally seven years from the date of delinquency. Bankruptcies may remain for ten years and tax liens may remain seven years from the date they are paid. There is no legal way to remove accurate negative information sooner, but you should dispute inaccurate negative information with the credit bureau that is reporting the information. What Isn’t on Your Credit Report Your credit report does not include information about: • Race • Political or religious preferences • Sexual orientation • National origin • Medical history • Checking or savings accounts If it has been awhile since you took a look at your credit report, or if you have never looked at it, do it today. Only you will know if your credit report is telling the right story.

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