What’s In Your Credit Report
Although each credit reporting agency formats and reports this information differently, all credit reports contain basically the same categories of information. Your social security number, date of birth and employment information are used to identify you. These factors are not used in scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.
- Identifying Information.
Your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and employment information are used to identify you. These factors are not used in scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.
- Trade Lines.
These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on each account you have established with them. They report the type of account (bankcard, auto loan, mortgage, etc), the date you opened the account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance and your payment history.
When you apply for a loan, you authorize your lender to ask for a copy of your credit report. This is how inquiries appear on your credit report. The inquiries section contains a list of everyone who accessed your credit report within the last two years. The report you see lists both “voluntary” inquiries, spurred by your own requests for credit, and “involuntary” inquires, such as when lenders order your report so as to make you a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.
- Public Record and Collection Items.
Credit reporting agencies also collect public record information from state and county courts, and information on overdue debt from collection agencies. Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, suits, wage attachments, liens and judgments.
How Mistakes are Made
When a credit report contains errors, it is often because the report is incomplete, or contains information about someone else. This typically happens because:
The person applied for credit under different names (Robert Jones, Bob Jones, etc.).
Someone made a clerical error in reading or entering name or address information from a hand-written application.
The person gave an inaccurate Social Security number, or the number was misread by the lender.
Loan or credit card payments were inadvertently applied to the wrong account.