What Is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a report from a credit bureau containing detailed information bearing on credit-worthiness, including the individual’s credit history.

A typical credit report includes the following:

Personal information. This is to identify the individual, hopefully distinguishing him or her from every other individual on the planet. It includes social security number, current and past addresses, and current employment.

Information from public records (states and counties). This includes liens, garnishments, foreclosures, bankruptcies, law-suits and judgments.

Information from collection agencies. This consists of past due debts that have been given to collection agencies to collect.

Information from creditors. This includes the identity of the creditor, the date the relationship began, the current status of each account including the amount outstanding, the maximum line if any, current status of the account, and past delinquencies.

Information about inquiries. This identifies companies that have requested the individual’s file within the last two years, distinguishing those authorized by the consumer and those not so authorized. Only the former affect credit scores.

There are three major repositories of credit information: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. The information provided by the three is not exactly the same because not all credit grantors report information to all three.