What Is A Credit Report? How Does It Work?

Most people have more than one credit report. Credit reporting companies, also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies, collect and store financial data about you that is submitted to them by creditors, such as lenders, credit card companies, and other financial companies. Creditors are not required to report to every credit reporting company. Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you. Lenders also use your credit report to determine whether you continue to meet the terms of an existing credit account.

What is a Credit report?

A credit report is a piece of information in your credit report that lenders use to decide whether to extend credit to you or not. How does a credit report help me get a loan? A credit report helps lenders decide if you are a “safe” credit risk, so you may be able to get a lower interest rate. This means lenders will lower your monthly loan payments by giving you a lower interest rate. A credit report also helps lenders determine whether you can pay off your loan if you default on one. This means lenders will likely decide if you can continue to make payments, or if they will decide that the loan is past its useful life and the lender will write it off.

How does the credit report work?

Most credit reports consist of two parts: a credit score and a credit history. A credit score is based on information about your payment history and whether you’ve borrowed money before. Your credit report also includes your credit report and scores. Your credit report contains an indicator of how you are doing in paying back your debts and the FICO credit score, which is used by some lenders as a credit reference. Is a credit report a good way to gauge my credit? A credit report can help you track your credit and make it easier to make decisions about your financial health and credit. A credit report that reports all debts, including personal loans, can be useful for determining how creditworthy you are.

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Where can I get my credit report?

Credit reports can be obtained from the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Equifax has more than 8 million customers, including 96% of the adult population of the United States. TransUnion has more than 24 million customers, including 93% of the adult population of the United States. Experian has more than 23 million customers, including 92% of the adult population of the United States. Each report is updated periodically so it may contain more current information about you. There are also numerous regional credit reporting agencies. Credit reports summarize your credit history. They are used by creditors to determine whether you are likely to pay them back for credit products you may buy.

How does information get on my credit report?

Credit reporting companies have access to information about you through sources such as Drivers license (or state ID), Social security card Bank account and routing numbers, Tax return, Telephone account and number, Financial account number (such as a bank account, investment account, savings account), Home or vehicle lease (typically for a purchase or a lease, not a refinancing or leasing agreement), Property address, Bank account number, Credit card number, and Mortgage/loan documentation (such as a loan agreement).

Importance of credit report

Before you can change any aspects of your credit report, you need to know what information is in your credit report. You can change items in your credit report by contacting the credit bureaus directly. But, to change information about your credit report that is inaccurate or outdated, you’ll need to have your credit report updated by one of the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Each credit reporting company also produces its own version of a credit report that is different from the credit report produced by the other two companies. This version of a credit report may be used by lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. Some reports also contain advertising that may be relevant to your financial life.

How to check your credit report

You have two credit reporting companies, Equifax and Experian, that report information to the three major credit reporting companies. Each of these companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, maintains a complete file on your financial life for all three major credit reporting companies. Since many creditors and credit bureaus also share information through these agencies, you may have multiple credit reports. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. The most recent report will be included in your report. You will need to place a request to receive the information. You can also request the files directly from each of the credit reporting companies.

How long does negative information stay on my credit report?

When you see a report with a negative item on it, it is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to have that item on your report for more than 180 days. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers to request a copy of their report after 90 days. For additional information on the FCRA, go to www.ConsumerCreditReport.org.

If a creditor disputes your credit history, the information stays on your credit report for about seven years, while the credit reporting company investigates the disputed account. They can also look at your credit history to evaluate your suitability for other types of loans, such as home loans. At that point, you can dispute the disputed information and it will be removed from your credit report. In the event that a creditor disputes your credit report, your credit record can be erased and you can put the negative report on the public record.

What happens if my credit report is wrong?

Your credit report can contain inaccurate information if you are not in good standing with your creditor. That could include missed payments, which could result in the creditor placing a “hard stop” on your account. If you make more than the minimum payments on your credit card, student loan, or any other account, your credit limit could be lowered and interest charged. This could be due to incorrect information on your credit report.

How can I boost my credit score?

Credit scoring gives a simple picture of how likely you are to be able to pay back the money, by assigning a number that is between one and 100. When you try to get credit for the first time, your score is based on your past credit record. If your credit history is less than excellent, you will see a low score. However, once you show that you can responsibly manage your finances, your credit score will rise. If you want a better score, you need to make more than the minimum payments on time and take action on some of your credit accounts. If your scores improve, you might get better interest rates and lower monthly payments for credit cards.


Information on your credit reports could affect your ability to borrow or get approved for credit. The Federal Trade Commission advises everyone to regularly check their credit reports to make sure the information is accurate. Credit repair information is offered free of charge to consumers who contact the website at www.ecfinance.org or 888-466-2273 to receive free credit repair resources.

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NB: The purpose of this website is to provide a general understanding of personal finance, basic financial concepts, and information. It’s not intended to advise on tax, insurance, investment, or any product and service. Since each of us has our own unique situation, you should have all the appropriate information to understand and make the right decision to fit with your needs and your financial goals. I hope that you will succeed in building your financial future.