Your credit report is a lot like your high school report card. For example,
let’s say your first car loan had some late payments, we’ll give that one
a C, but your credit cards were always paid on time, we’ll give your credit
cards an “A”. Each credit account, past and present is graded. Think of
your credit report as your financial credit report.
Your credit report includes not only your bill paying history, but the number of credit accounts you have (or had) and what type of credit account (i.e. revolving, car loan, school loan, etc.).
The credit report will list any collection accounts, late payments, public records, and judgments.
Public records include your name and any variations (i.e. married name, maiden name, senior, junior), your date of birth, current and previous addresses, social security number and employment information.
How does all this information finds it’s way on the credit report?
The credit bureaus gather your information through the same lenders who granted you credit. The lenders inform the credit bureaus whether your payment was paid on time or if your payment was late. Your employment and personal information is gathered from credit applications. In short, you give up this information when you apply for credit.
Unfortunately, errors occur on credit reports, in fact according to a report by 60 Minutes (see below), "one in five credit reports have errors".
Common errors on a credit report include:
• Credit listings incorrectly listed as late, inaccurate credit limits, balance errors, closed accounts still displayed as open, duplicate accounts, incorrect delinquency dates.
• Loans and credit accounts and that you never
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that consumers take a look at their credit report at least once a year.
• Misspelled name, incorrect Social Security number, address or
inaccurate phone number .
Be on the lookout for . . .
Here's a great 60 Minutes video discussing the accuracy and importance of credit reports and credit scoring
What do I do if there's a mistake?
you discover an inaccuracy on your credit report, you should send a letter
to both the credit reporting company and creditor of the incorrect information.
State clearly, with evidence, if possible, what information is in error on the credit report. State the facts, explain why you are disputing the information, and request a correction. You may want to enclose a copy of the relevant portion of your credit report along with your dispute letter to the creditor.
Clearly highlight the item or items in dispute. Never send any original documents supporting your claim of inaccuracy. Always send copies. Retain copies of your dispute letters and other information sent to the credit agencies and creditors.