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What is in your credit report

A credit score and credit report are two different, albeit related, things. Credit scores—commonly known as FICO scores—are numerical values that rate one’s current creditworthiness. In the United States, credit scores typically range between 300 and 850. A credit report, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive loan dossier. Identifying information is not calculated into a credit score, but is found on a credit report.

Identifying Information: Basic Facts

You’ll often hear people say that one’s marital status, nationality and even religion are factored into credit scores; this is simply not true. The Consumer Credit Protection Act prohibits identifying information from being weighed as a factor when evaluating an individual’s credit score. Your credit report, however, does include your name, address, social security number, date of birth and any employment information. Updates to your credit report are made whenever you provide new information to potential lenders.

Trade Lines: Credit Account Facts

Trade lines are bank-managed reports that keep track of credit accounts. For example, if you have 5 credit cards, an auto loan and a mortgage with one bank, that bank will have 7 trade lines associated with you. These reports include the date the account was opened, the credit limit or loan amount, the current account balance, and a payment history timeline.

Public Records: Financial Legal Facts

Unfortunately, any financial hiccups will make an appearance on your credit report. Bankruptcy judgments, wage attachments, foreclosures, liens and suits are all tracked and recorded. As you would suspect, such things are major red flags in the eyes of a creditor; so, it’s always best to try and pay off your debts before committing to any drastic financial steps that could haunt you for years.

Credit Inquiries: Popularity Facts

Yes, it’s true that both voluntary and involuntary credit inquires do appear on your credit report, though they’re not as damaging as some imagine. In other words, no, your credit score doesn’t drop every time you check it. While excessive inquires may look suspicious on your credit report, they don’t affect your FICO score.

The three main credit bureaus in the United States are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Information can vary between bureaus; therefore, if you’re in the process of clearing up your debt, it’s a good idea to find out where you stand with all three.

Good luck on your way to financial responsibility; and remember: a sparkling credit score is worth its weight in gold!


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