A credit report is a statement that has information about your credit activity and current credit situation such as loan paying history and the status of your credit accounts.
Most people have more than one credit report. Credit reporting companies, also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies, collect and store financial data about you that is submitted to them by creditors, such as lenders, credit card companies, and other financial companies. Creditors are not required to report to every credit reporting company.
Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you.
Information found on your credit report
Your credit report lists:
- what types of credit you use
- the length of time your accounts have been open
- whether you've paid your bills on time
- whether you've filed for bankruptcy
- as well as personal information about you.
How your credit report is used
Lenders use your credit report to see how much credit you've used, how likely you are to pay your bills on time, and whether you're seeking new sources of credit.
Check your credit report for free
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Checking your credit report does not hurt your credit score. And checking your credit score doesn’t hurt your credit either. These actions are considered “soft pulls” which don’t affect your credit score.
Fixing inaccuracies on your credit report
If you find an error on your credit report, you should dispute it right away. You should contact the credit reporting company directly and submit a dispute in writing. The credit reporting company generally has 30 days to investigate your claim.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a good article on how to dispute errors on your credit report.