What Is A Credit Report?
A credit report contains a record of all your credit activities, this information is collected and compiled by companies called credit bureaus. They source this information from anybody who provides credit (these companies are called data furnishers). A few examples of data furnishers are: banks, credit card companies, telecommunication companies and utility providers.
Get Your Free Credit Report
Each person is entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau every twelve months. There is only one website that you should go to when getting this credit report and this is http://www.annualcreditreport.com, this was set up by the three major credit bureaus and it’s the only way to truly get your credit report for free. If you’re still struggling to understand how to get your report, we suggest you read our Guide To Your Free Annual Credit Report. It’s important to note that your credit report does not contain a credit rating or credit score of any kind (click here for a Free FICO Score).
What’s In Your Credit Report?
Your credit report can be broken down into three main sections; public records, credit inquiries & payment history. We’ve explored each in more depth below.
The public records section of your credit report will most likely be blank, it only contains serious records such as; bankruptcies, tax liens, judgements, state and country court records, and in some states cases overdue child support. These will stay on your report and affect your credit score for a minimum for 7 years and a maximum of 10 years.
If you have anything in the public records section, the chances of you having a high credit score are extremely low. Public records fall under the payment history section of your credit score which amounts to 32%-35% of your total score depending on the type.
The credit items section of your report is also known as ‘Payment History‘ or ‘Account History’ and contains detailed information on all your credit accounts.
- Company name - The name of the credit institution with which the account is held
- Account number - Your account number with this credit institution, this is often obscured or shortened for privacy/security reasons
- Type of account - i.e. revolving credit, installment loan, autoloan, education loa, etc.
- Terms of repayment - An installment loan will include the number of repayments, a revolving account will either leave this section blank OR put “revolving”.
- Date opened. This is the month and year the account was opened.
- High credit For installment loans this is the original loan amount, for revolving accounts this is the highest amount that has been loaned on this account.
- Credit limit or loan amount – For revolving loans this is the maximum amount that can be loaned, for installment loans this is the original loan amount.
- Balance - The total amount that is currently owing for this account.
- Past due - The amount which is currently past due.
- Account status - The status of the account, i.e current, past due, charge-off. This can also include previous information if the account is current. I.e pictured is an account which is current at the moment but was previously past due 90 days.
- Payment history - Shows your monthly payment history since the account was opened, including any delinquencies.
- Date reported – This shows the last time this information was updated.
Credit Report Samples:
Experian Credit Report Sample [PDF Warning, You'll also be taken to the Experian site]
Transunion Credit Report Sample
Equifax Credit Report Sample