All About Credit Reports
When you approach banks, finance companies, credit unions or merchants for credit, most often they do not know you personally. It is not cost effective for the creditors to verify the credit application details submitted by you. So they take help of credit reporting agencies. The credit reporting agencies gather, compile and sell information about the credit history of individual borrowers. Experian, Equifax CBI and Trans Union are the three major credit reporting agencies. The purpose of credit report is that whenever you approach a new creditor for credit, the creditor can review your past and present credit history to decide whether you have bad credit history before making the financing opportunities available to you.
Type of information included in credit
Information in your credit report (also called credit history), which reflects whether you are facing credit problems and have bad credit history or have a good credit standing, comes from three sources: creditors who are member of credit reporting agency, other creditors who supply information at your request and public record information. The typical credit report contains five types of information.
1. Public record information: This is the information recorded in publicly available documents such as tax liens, bankruptcy records, etc. Different states may follow different guidelines but generally, unpaid tax liens are the longest to remain in your credit report for up to 15 years, followed by bankruptcy information, which can remain up to 10 years and then other public record information that remains up to seven years.
2. Credit information: It includes specific information about your accounts. Besides general information about the account such as type of credit line, date the credit was sanctioned and account balance, it also contains payment records and bad credit history. Most of the bad credit information remains up to seven years on your credit report. However, the good credit standing information may remain on your credit report indefinitely.
3. Requests by others to view your credit history: According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, creditors may inquire about your credit history for permissible purposes without taking your prior permission. This section includes the list of creditors who asked to review your credit history, date of the inquiry and period the inquiry will remain on your credit report. This information remains in your credit history for up to two years and is included for your information and is not revealed to the creditors.
4. Personal Information: It includes personal information such as name, address, social security number, driving license number, spouse name and address, date of birth, and details of current and previous employers.
5. Statements of dispute: This section includes disputes between you and your creditors. The information on this may be added either by you or by your creditor. If the dispute is resolved within 30 days, it is no longer reported. However, if there is no agreement between you and your creditor on an account's status, under Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you may ask for inclusion of the statement of dispute in credit report, which will remain for 7 years.
Credit reports do not include any information unrelated to credit such as your life style, friends, habits or religious or political affiliation.
It is advised that you review your credit report at least once a year. Credit report agencies handle massive amount of data and are often criticized for large number of reporting errors. You verify the information in your credit report and ask for correction of any discrepancy immediately by the credit reporting agency.
Your credit history is very important when you apply for any financing opportunities such as a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, employment screening, utilities deposits and insurance. If you have a bad credit history, knowing what is included in the credit report will help you effectively to avail bad credit financing opportunities.
Credit Bureau Info:
EQUIFAX - PHONE: (800) 378-2732, (800) 685-1111, (800) 505-1208
For Credit Report Copies:
EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION SERVICES
P.O. BOX 740241
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, 30375
To Send Disputes:
P.O. BOX 740256
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30374
EXPERIAN - PHONE: (888) 397-3742, (800) 520-1221, (800) 682-7654
(To Send Disputes and Credit Report Copies)
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
TRANS UNION - PHONE: (800) 916-8800, (800) 888-4213
(For Credit Report Copies)
TRANS UNION CORPORATION
P.O. BOX 1000
CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA 19022
(To Send Disputes)
TRANS UNION CORPORATION
P.O. Box 34012
Fullerton, CA 92831