What is a credit report? What is it used for?

What is a credit report?

A credit report contains information about your credit - and some bill repayment history - and the status of your credit accounts.

Credit reports include: how often you make your payments on time, how much credit you have, how much credit you have available, how much credit you are using, and whether a debt or bill collector is collecting on money you owe. Credit reports also can contain rental repayment information if you are a property renter. It also can contain public records such as liens, judgments, and bankruptcies that provide insight into your financial status and obligations.

What are credit reports used for?

In the case of a credit card, lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you, or to determine whether you continue to meet the terms of the account.

How do I get a copy of my report?

You can get a copy of your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. See this CFPB article for more information.

How do I contact the credit bureaus?

Equifax
www.equifax.com
1-800-685-5000

Experian
www.experian.com
1-888-397-3742

Transunion
www.transunion.com
877-322-8228

What is a soft inquiry vs. a hard inquiry?

Both are types of credit inquiries which enable a third party (like a bank, employer or other business) to check your credit report.

A hard inquiry generally occurs when a financial institution checks your credit report when making a lending decision. Hard inquiries may lower your credit score by a few points and may remain on your credit report for two years.

A soft inquiry generally occurs as part of a background check or “pre-approval” for some types of credit. Soft inquiries may be recorded in your credit report but won’t impact your credit score.

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