Learn The Basics of Credit Reports & Scoring

A consumer credit report is a factual record of an individual's credit payment history. It is provided for a purpose permitted by law, primarily to credit grantors. Its main purpose is to help a lender quickly and objectively decide whether to grant you credit. Examples of credit include car loans, credit cards and home mortgages.

The Parts a Of Typical Credit Report

Your name, current and previous addresses, phone number, Social Security number variations, date of birth and current and previous employers. Your spouse's name may appear on your version of the credit report but it will not appear on the version that is provided to others. This information comes from your credit applications, so its accuracy depends on your filling out the forms clearly, completely and consistently each time you apply for credit.

Specific information about each account such as the date opened, credit limit or loan amount, balance, monthly payment and payment pattern during the past several years. This information comes from companies that do business with you.

The names of those who have obtained a copy of your credit report. This information comes from the credit reporting agency.

Statements of dispute, which allow both consumers and creditors to report the factual history of an account. Statements of dispute can only be added after a consumer officially disputes the status of an account, the account has been investigated, and the consumer and creditor cannot agree about the account status. Both the consumer's and creditor's statements of the account status will appear on the credit report. Credit reports do not contain, nor collect, data about race, religious preference, personal lifestyle, political preference, medical history, friends, criminal record or any other information unrelated to credit.

A credit score is a number lenders use to help them decide: "If I give this person a loan or credit card, how likely is it I will get paid back on time?" It is generated through statistical models using elements from your credit report; however, your score is not physically stored as part of your credit history on the credit file. Rather, it is typically generated at the time a lender requests your credit report, and is then included as part of the report.

Your credit score is a fluid number, and it changes as the elements in your credit report change. For example, payment updates or a new account could cause your score to fluctuate. There are many different credit scores used in the financial service industry. Your score may be different from lender to lender (or from car loan to mortgage loan), depending on the type of credit scoring model that was used.

For Further Information

You may wish to contact one of these major credit bureaus to request a copy of your credit report and learn more about Credit Reporting and Scoring.

Equifax | 1-800-525-6285

Experian | 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion | 1-888-397-3742