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What is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a record of your credit activity and history. It includes the names of companies that have extended you credit and/or loans, as well as the credit limits, loan amounts and your payment history. You can think of it as your financial resume; it tells the story of your financial health to potential lenders.

 

Where can I get my credit report?

Your credit report is available in a few different places and formats. The federal FACT Act entitles you to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – every 12 months. It also entitles you to additional free credit reports if you were recently denied credit, employment or insurance or if you’re a victim of fraud, unemployed or on public welfare assistance.

As part of TransUnion’s commitment to supporting all Americans during and after the COVID-19 health crisis, we’re pleased to offer you free weekly credit reports through April 2021 at the same place you would go for your free annual reports: annualcreditreport.com.

Another way to access your credit report information is through a subscription based credit monitoring product such as TransUnion Credit Monitoring. Sign up and become a member to get instant online access to your credit report and score with updates available daily. You’ll also get interactive tools, key information and alerts to help you understand and stay on top of critical credit report changes and protect your report with just a click.

How does information get on my credit report and is it updated on a regular basis?

When you have an account with a lender, they’ll typically submit account updates to at least one of the three major credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Since lenders don’t always report to all three agencies, the information on your credit reports may vary.

It’s also important to note that lenders report at different times of the month, so you might see slight differences in your reports, and therefore your credit scores, at any given time.

 

What else is on my credit report?

Your credit report also lists personal information like your current and former address(es), names and employers. It also includes public records like bankruptcy.

 

What’s the purpose of my credit report?

Your credit report shows your credit history and tells a story of your financial health and responsibility to potential lenders like credit card companies, banks, and often even landlords and cell phone companies. Credit reporting empowers you to participate in the credit economy and have potential offers of credit extended to you.

 

How long does negative information stay on my credit report?

Typically, negative information falls off your credit report 7 years after the date of first account delinquency. Bankruptcy information stays on your report for up to 10 years from the date filed, but it can be less depending on the type of bankruptcy.

Positive information remains on your report for up to 10 years from the date of last activity on the account. This information applies to installment accounts like mortgages and car loans, which are the types of agreements that have fixed terms on the number of years for repayment. For revolving accounts, such as credit cards, your positive history will stay on your report for as long as the account is active. 

 

Is there a place where I can explain some of the negative information on my credit report?

Absolutely. You have the right to attach a 100-word explanation (200 in Maine), called a consumer statement, to your credit report. It can be used to explain why, for example, you have a few late payments on your report. Anyone who looks at your credit report will see this statement. You can add your consumer statement online

 

Other than the credit reporting agencies and potential lenders, who else has access to my credit report?

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act restricts who has access to the information on your credit report. Except in the case of court-ordered credit checks and credit pulls done for marketing purposes, no one can access your credit report without your authorization.

 

• Mortgage lenders
• Landlords
• Utility companies
• Car insurance companies
• Employers
• Government agencies
• Collection agencies

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What You Need to Know:

There are various types of credit scores, and lenders use a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions. The credit score you receive is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model and may not be the credit score model used by your lender.

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