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What is a credit report?
Your credit payment history is recorded in a report. These files or reports are maintained and sold by “consumer reporting agencies” (CRAs). One type of CRA is commonly known as a credit bureau. You have a credit record on file at a credit bureau if you have ever applied for a credit or charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job. Your credit record contains significant information about you. Some of the information is about your employment, debts, credit payment history or if you have filed for bankruptcy.
Do I have a right to know what’s in my report?
Yes, if you ask for it. The CRA must tell you everything in your report, including medical information, and in most cases, the sources of the information. The CRA also must give you a list of everyone who has requested your report within the past year-two years for employment related requests.
What type of information do credit bureaus collect and sell?
Credit bureaus collect and sell four basic types of information:
- Identification and employment information: your name, birth date, Social Security number, employer, and spouse’s name are routinely noted. The CRA also may provide information about your employment history, home ownership, income, and previous address, if a creditor requests this type of information.
- Payment history: your accounts with different creditors are listed, showing how much credit has been extended and whether you’ve paid on time. Related events, such as referral of an overdue account to a collection agency, may also be noted.
- Inquiries: CRAs must maintain a record of all creditors who have asked for your credit history within the past year, and a record of those persons or businesses requesting your credit history for employment purposes for the past two years.
- Public record information: Events that are a matter of public record, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, or tax liens, may appear in your report.