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What's in a credit report? This article has information on what you will find in your credit report, what gets reported to the credit bureaus, and things that should not be on your credit report. Keep reading for more information on what is in your credit report.

One the most important things in your financial life is your credit report. Your credit report, also sometimes referred to as your credit history, is a collection of information about your credit habits. It can even include other information, such as your workplace, that lenders and others might find helpful when deciding whether or not you are likely to make payments on time.

It is a good idea to know what is in your credit report - as well as how it gets there. This way, you will have a better idea of what lenders, insurers, utilities and employers are looking for when they check you credit history.

What you will find in your credit report

There are several items available in your credit report. All of the following items are taken into consideration by those who are interested in your financial habits:

Personal information. This is information that verifies your identity and serves to help others figure out who you are. Personal information included in a credit report consists of:

  • Your name.
  • Alternate spellings and versions of your name (i.e. middle initial).
  • Aliases.
  • Social Security Number.
  • Current address.
  • Previous addresses.
  • Sometimes your employer is included, along with past employers.
  • Occasionally your marital status is included.

Lines of credit. This is one of the most important parts of your credit report. This lists all of the lines of credit that you have had. It also includes your balances and limits, your monthly payment amount and whether the account has been closed or paid off in full. This information is included for all lines of credit you have had:

  • Credit cards.
  • Car loans.
  • Mortgage loans.
  • Payday and title loans.
  • Special financing.
  • Student loans.

Payment history. Payment history is another thing that potential lenders are very concerned about. They want to know that you pay on time, and that you pay the full minimum amount. Most credit reports provide an overview of the last 12 - 36 months of payments, clearly indicating which were on time, which were late and which were missed. Additionally, if an account was put into collections, charged off or items were repossessed (including your home in foreclosure), this will be reflected as part of the payment history and will negatively impact your credit score.

Court records. If you have been to court due to your financial situation or hardship, this will appear in your credit report. Indeed, your credit history includes an account of the following court records:

  • Liens (including tax liens).
  •  Judgments (including satisfied judgments).
  • Bankruptcy.
  • Divorce.

Inquiries. When someone looks at your credit report, it appears in the history. There are two main types of inquiry:

  • Hard: In which you request some sort of credit or service. A lender or utility (cable and satellite TV, as well as cell phone services do this now) checks your credit in order to see if they will work with you. This is an indication that you are actively searching for credit, and can damage your credit rating if there are a number of inquiries clustered close together.
  • Soft: In this type of inquiry, your credit report is looked at without you asking for it to be. This mostly includes attempts by marketers to determine whether or not to send you "pre-approved" offers. These inquiries are usually not available to lenders and creditors when they look at your credit history. However, they do appear on your copy so that you can see who has been looking into your credit file.

It is also worth noting that you can add a personal statement to your credit file. If you feel that your report misrepresents you, or if an inaccuracy hasn't been fixed, you can note it and it will appear in your credit report.

What you won't find on your credit report

Your credit history includes a many items. However, there are some things that your credit report does not contain. The following information should not be present in your credit history:

  • Religion.
  • Medical history.
  • Race.
  • Salary history.
  • Bank accounts.
  • Stock and bond investments.
  • Criminal record.
  • Lifestyle.
  • Personal background.
  • Personal assets.

You should be aware of what is in your credit report, as well as what shouldn't be there. Fortunately, you can always obtain a free credit report and score from one of the many different domains that offer free credit checks. If you find an error or some other problem with your report, you should contact the three major credit bureaus a to have the problem removed or corrected.

Related Article: Credit 101 >>

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