Why Check Credit

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a statement combining all of the information from your different credit, loan and payment reports into a single document. There are three nationwide credit reporting companies in the United States- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. When you make or miss a payment on a loan or credit card, the lender reports this information to the credit reporting companies. There is also personal information on your credit report- current and previous residences, whether you’ve been sued or if you have filed bankruptcy. 

To receive your credit report, you will have to provide your full name, address, social security number and date of birth. If you have moved in the last few years, you will also have to provide your previous addresses. When you view your credit report, you will see:

  • A list of companies that have given you credit or loans
  • The total amount for each loan or credit limit for each credit card
  • How often you paid your credit or loans on time, and the amount you paid
  • Companies that have asked to see your credit report within a certain time period
  • Your address(es) and/or employers
  • Other details of public record
Why should I check my credit report? And how often?

The information on your credit report strongly affects whether you will be able to get a loan or credit but it may also affect your ability to rent an apartment or get a new job. Another good reason to check your credit report is to ensure the information is accurate, complete and up to date. If you see anything that is incorrect or possibly identity theft, you should get that repaired immediately.

You receive one free credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting companies (www.annualcreditreport.com). It is recommended to check each of the three credit reports each year. It is also a good idea to check your credit report prior to applying to for a loan, credit card or insurance. By staying a step ahead of the lenders, you are able to ensure your credit report is accurate and may receive a lower interest rate.

How long will negative information stay on my credit report?

The credit reporting companies can report most negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. If you have any criminal convictions, there is no time limit on that information being reported.

What if there is an error on my credit report?

If you spot an issue on your credit report, no matter if it is a small issue (such as the misspelling of your name) or from a long time ago, you should still correct the error. Both the information provider (lender, company or organization) and the credit reporting company are responsible for correcting inaccurate information once they are notified.

I have more questions about my credit report, where can I find trusted information?

If you have additional questions, head to www.annualcreditreport.com. While there, you can access frequently asked questions, the steps to resolve an issue on your credit report and much more.

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