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credit reports

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What Is a Credit Report? A credit report is a record of your credit activities. It lists any credit-card accounts or loans you may have, the balances, and how regularly you make your payments. It also shows if any action has been taken against you because of unpaid bills. A variety of reputable companies will instantly give you a free copy of your credit report through their websites.

Why Should You Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report? It's important to see a copy of your credit report before you apply for credit such as car loans, mortgages, or credit cards. Errors in credit reports can be common. You can order your credit report directly from any one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

What Is a Credit Rating? Your credit rating is drawn from your credit report, which outlines your borrowing, charging, and repayment activities. A good rating helps you reach financial goals; a poor rating limits your financial opportunities. It's extremely important to protect your credit rating by making loan and bill payments on time!

How Do You Correct an Error on Your Credit Report?
Contact the consumer credit reporting agency immediately. The company is then responsible for researching and changing or removing incorrect data. This process may take as long as 45 days. At your request, a corrected report will be sent to those parties that you specify who have received your report within the past six months, or employers who have received it within the last two years.

What if the Consumer Reporting Agency Stands by Its Report?
You have the right to present your side of the story in a brief statement (100 words or less), which the credit bureau must attach to your credit file. Your statement should be used to clarify inaccuracies, not explain reasons for delinquency. Anyone requesting a copy of your credit report would also automatically receive your statement (or a summary of it), unless the credit bureau decides that it is irrelevant or frivolous.

How Long Does Information Stay on Your Credit Report?
Generally, all your credit history information, good or bad, remains on your report for seven years. If you file for personal bankruptcy, that fact remains on your credit report for 10 years.

How Do You Get a Copy of Your Credit Report?
To contact the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
http://www.equifax.com
(800) 685-1111

Trans Union
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
http://www.transunion.com
(800) 916-8800 or (800) 888-4213

Experian (formerly TRW)
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
http://www.experian.com
(888) 397-3742

 

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