Monitoring your credit report regularly is a helpful way to track your finances and safeguard yourself from fraud. It can also help you detect and dispute errors early. If you're questioning what a credit report is or what is included, keep reading!
A credit report is a detailed breakdown of an individual's credit history prepared by a credit bureau. It includes personal information, such as current and previous addresses, Social Security numbers, and employment history. Credit bureaus also collect financial information about individuals and create credit reports based on that information, and lenders use the reports along with other details to determine loan applicants' creditworthiness. These reports include a credit history summary such as the number and type of bank or credit card accounts along with their balances, credit limits, and if they're in good standing. It also includes details on lines of credit, public records such as bankruptcies, and a list of entities that have inquired already about the consumer's credit report.
In the U.S., there are three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each of these reporting companies collects information about consumers' personal financial details and their bill-paying habits to create a unique credit report; although most of the information is similar, there are often small differences between the three reports.
You're entitled to a free credit report from the three credit reporting bureaus. To receive your free annual credit report and learn what is included in the report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.