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Get an Annual Credit Report from
BBB Approved Companies
A credit report is a file kept by one of the three major
bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) about your credit usage.
This file is accessible to lenders who consider providing you with a loan or credit card.
The lender checks your file in order to examine your financial transaction track record, including borrowing and repayment history. It is very important, then, that you ensure the information there is accurate and up to date.
Basically, it's a file that documents the history of your
credit usage and includes the following:
* Basic personal identifying information such as full name, current and past residential addresses, Social Security Number, birth date and employment history.
* Information from state and county public records, including bankruptcies, foreclosures, garnishments, tax liens, criminal lawsuits, convictions, judgments, collection agency information and more.
* Credit information, such as detailed present and past account history, the way you make payments (on-time or late), the amount of debt you have, the types of accounts you have, the length of time you have used credit and more.
* Inquiry information: lists anyone who has obtained a copy of your file information in the past 2 years.
The combination of all these factors are used to define how much of a risk you are to a potential lender and it helps to formulate a sound and informed decision about your creditworthiness.
What these files say about you is what lenders use to make lending decisions. This has far-reaching implications. For example, if you miss payments on your current credit cards, potential future lenders may not be willing to approve your application because you may miss making payments.
Negative information can also cause lenders to decline your
application. Additionally, it can cause you to pay more for insurance.
In some cases, it may limit your ability to qualify for a home loan, car loan, or even some types of employment.
The information contained on your file is what the 3 major
use to calculate your credit score, which is a numerological
representation of your credit use.
Most lenders use the score to determine if they should lend to you.
Inaccurate or negative information drops this number, making you seem like a significant risk.
In the United States, there are three major credit bureaus.
Those are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These agencies gather the financial information and hold it in a file.
Reports are updated about one time a month and you can visit the website of these agencies (or other BBB accredited websites) and order a copy.
Checking your credit report for accuracy is critical. You should do so at least one time per year. If you find an error, contact the bureau directly and file a dispute.
Unless the creditor can prove the information is correct, the bureau will remove the negative information. Ensure only your identity is present on the report, too. As you look over your credit report, note any accounts that do not belong to you and dispute these as well.