Unlocking the Mystery of Your Credit Report

A recent FreeCreditScore.com survey discovered that 28% of respondents have never checked their credit scores, so it’s not surprising that so many consumers have no idea what to expect to see on their credit reports.

Credit ReportingHowever, there’s no excuse for not understanding your credit report because you can request a free copy of your report from the credit bureaus once every 12 months. It’s a good idea to check out your report to see what factors are showing up, but also to search for any reported mistakes.

But if you’re too impatient to wait for your credit report to arrive, here are just a few things that may appear on your credit report.

Identification Information

Your credit report will include your personal information such as your name, birth date, home address, social security number, and employment information. If you’re married and share finances with your spouse, your spouse’s information may appear as well. As for your other personal information, like your criminal background, medical history, ethnicity, or race, these specifics will not show up on your report.

The credit reporting agencies include this information on your credit, but none of it goes into the calculation of your credit score.

Credit Information

Obviously your credit report will reveal information about your credit history. It will include any accounts you have open with credit card companies, banks, and lenders. The report will also uncover any late payments, current balances, outstanding debt, as well as the amount of credit you have available.

These are all important factors that determine your credit score, so it’s important that you look closely for any mistakes.

Public Record Information

Unfortunately credit reporting agencies will file any money related public record information on your credit report. This includes, but is not limited to bankruptcies, liens, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and foreclosures.

Some of these actions, such as a bankruptcy, could significantly lower your score and remain on your credit report for up to ten years.

Credit Inquiry Information

Any time that you request a loan or apply for a credit card, the lender will take a peek at your credit report before approving you. Each time that a lender does so, it’s called a hard inquiry, and the inquiry will appear on your credit report. A hard inquiry could temporarily lower your credit score, so it’s a good idea not to request multiple credit cards and loans throughout the year.

With that being said, there are such things as soft inquiries, which pop up when you request a copy of your credit report for yourself. In this case, these inquiries won’t harm your score, but they will appear on your credit report.

The information on your credit report shouldn’t be a secret. Take the time to request a free copy for yourself so you can get a better understanding of your financial standing.

Chloe Mulliner writes and edits for CreditSources.org, which is a personal finance website that focuses on credit card options and loans for people with bad credit.