What is in a credit report?
Credit report has four major categories:
- personal information about you
- accounts reported monthly
- accounts reported when in late or not paid
- public records, and inquiries.
Credit reports may also have a credit score. Finally, some special credit reports, called investigative reports, include more info.
Credit reports do not contain info about race, religious background, medical history, personal lifestyle, political background, and other information not related to credit.
A credit report normally includes your name and any prior names, past and present addresses, Social Security number, and employment history.Credit reporting agencies obtain this data from creditors, who get it every time you fill out a credit application. Because of this , it is very critical that your credit applications be accurate, complete, and legible.If you are married, separated, divorced, or single, your credit report should include data about you only. Info about your husband/wife should be in your report only if you are both permitted to use or signed to pay an account. Example: information about joint accounts should appear on both husband and wife’s reports.
Accounts Reported Monthly
Most of the information in your credit report is your credit history. Some creditors give monthly reports to credit bureaus showing the status of your account. Your credit report have the following:
- Name of the lender/creditor
- Type of account
- Account #
- Date when the account was opened
- Maximum credit permitted
- Your payment history – How you paid before 30, 60, 90, or 120 days; or if the account has been given to a collection agency; whether the account has been discharged in bankruptcy; or if you are disputing any items
- Credit limit or the original amount of a loan, and
- Current balance.
Companies who provide monthly reports usually are:
- Banks, savings and loans, credit unions, finance companies, and other lenders that provide credit cards and give student loans, mortgage, personal, car loans
- Non bank credit and charge card issuers (like Discover,Diner’s Club and American Express)
- Giant department stores
- Gas companies, and
- Creditors receiving monthly installment payments.
- This accounts get Reported When in Default
Most companies send information to credit bureaus when an account is past due or the creditor is in collection proceeding against you, like giving the account to a collection agency. In these cases, your credit report will have:
- Name of the creditor/lender
- Type of account
- Account #
- Your delinquency –If you are 30, 60, 90, or 120 days late; or if the account has been given to a collection agency or you’ve been taken to the court; or if the account has been discharged in bankruptcy case.
If a lender has put an account for collection or charge off, they have to report the year and the month of the late payments , the last payment you missed , that caused the problem .
The creditors have to report the delinquency dates within 90 days of reporting the account as charged off or placed for collection.
These creditors only reports accounts when late or when they are in collection:
- Property managers and landlords
- Electric,telephone companies
- Insurance companies
- Daily papers and magazines
- Hospitals and doctors
- Other professionals like lawyers
While creditors report these accounts only when they are late or past due, credit bureaus increasingly gather monthly info from gas,electric companies, phone companies, and retailers to add to credit reports. The reason is to increase the information in files of young people and immigrants, who don’t have much credit history.
Local, state, and federal court filings are public records.Public records are gathered and maintained by government agencies and are accessible to anyone. Even data kept at land records offices are public records. The credit bureaus employ private agencies to search public records for data such as:
- All lawsuits and marriages and divorces
- Judgments and liens
- Foreclosures/short sales
- Bankruptcies discharged or even dismissed
- Tax liens
- Mechanic’s liens
- Garnishments of wages
- Child support delinquencies has to be reported to credit bureaus by law.
The last item in your report are called “inquiries”. These are the info of creditors and others (like a potential employer) who asked for a copy of your report in last couple of years.
Credit inquiries normally falls into two categories.
A-Soft inquiries :The inquiries that only you see (not the potential creditors). There are a few types of inquiries in this , including creditors that request your credit report for their promotions (like pre approved credit card applications you get in the mail), creditors that review your report to check up on you, and when you personally have applied for a copy of your own report.
B-Hard inquiries: The second category shows up on the report sent to all prospective creditors and employers (they also appear on the report you get). Includes the creditors that have requested your credit report after you have asked for credit with them.
Creditors don’t like to see a report with lots of hard inquiries. It seems you are desperately applying for new credit. This is why it is very crucial to be careful when shopping for new credit. For example some used car dealers try to run your credit as soon as you walk in ,don’t agree to this until you are serious about entering into a deal.
Special credit reports, called investigative reports, have more data than regular credit reports. The big difference is that they have data on your character, reputation, personal characteristics, or way of living, taken from third parties such as your neighbors or buddies Because this data is personal different rules apply to these reports.
Insurers and employers are the likely to ask for these reports not creditors, they should tell you when they ask for such a report, and should disclose the nature and size of the investigation upon your written request. They should also have a legitimate reason to ask for the report and, in some cases, they must get your consent before. Businesses who look for employees for others (headhunters) must get your consent before doing the investigation and before submitting the outcome to the employers