Lenders, landlords and employers are just a few of the people and businesses that may base their opinion of you on your credit history. Why? Because your record of borrowing and repaying money, and whether you’ve made any late payments or gone through bankruptcy, paints a picture of the type of person you are. So if you’re the type of individual who has a high credit score and clean credit report, you could enjoy the greatest benefit — you’ll likely pay a lower interest rate on a mortgage than those whose records aren’t quite as stellar.
What’s Included in a Credit Report?
- Records of your bankruptcies, tax liens and monetary judgments against you, available from public sources.
- Information about all your accounts, including loan amounts, current balances and payment patterns over the past several years.
- The names of companies that have obtained a copy of your credit report.
- Your name, current and previous addresses, phone number, Social Security number, date of birth, and current and previous employers.
- Disputes between you and your creditors, including both the creditor’s statement of the account, as well as your own.
So, How Do You Read the Report?
If you’re like most people, the only thing you may notice when you first receive your credit report is a lot of unfamiliar terms and concepts. But it’s important for you to understand those terms and concepts because they can help you present your credit history in its best light, address any discrepancies or inaccuracies and learn how any credit problems you’ve faced affect your credit status.
The most important thing to look for when you’re reviewing your credit report is accuracy — everything from account names and numbers to amounts paid and owed, as well as any other information. You must then address anything that is incorrect immediately by contacting the credit reporting agencies — Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® — and filing a dispute. It’s free, and could help you avoid any issues that could otherwise have a lasting, negative effect on your credit score. The good news is, Identity Guard® can help you stay on top of your credit rating so you won't have to worry so much about the what ifs.”