Evaluating Your Credit Report

Credit Report: Evaluating your credit report 

There are basically 10 things which look bad on your credit report:

  1. Credit inquiries
  2. Credit rejections
  3. Late payments
  4. Past due and unpaid payments
  5. Court Judgments
  6. Collections
  7. Loan defaults
  8. Repossession
  9. Foreclosure
  10. Bankruptcies (BKs).

The credit bureaus keep your personal credit history for a period of approximately 10 years. 

. Closed or Inactive Accounts – 10 years from the date of last activity. 
. Derogatory Accounts – 7 years from the date of original delinquency. 
. Public Records – 7 years from the date of payment or indefinitely if the Public Record is an unpaid tax lien. 
. Chapter 7 Bankruptcies – 10 years from date filed.

What is a Credit Report?

In today’s world, where cash is the exception and credit and plastic is the name of the game, it’s very important to know about your credit rating and exactly what’s contained within your credit file or credit report. Your personal credit is the key to unlocking doors for all of life’s major purchases, such as a home or car, as well as just obtaining a credit card so you may purchase groceries at the local store with the convenience of plastic.

It can be important to know what’s going on with your credit for several reasons: 

1. Your credit history can positively, or negatively, affect your ability to make future purchases. All banks, mortgage/loan companies and even department stores rely on the information contained within your credit report to determine if you meet their requirements for credit. 

2. Even if you know you have a good credit rating, you should regularly check your credit report due the possibility of credit fraud. Credit fraud, and the similar crime of identity theft, is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s electronic era. If you keep close tabs on your credit report and are familiar with what is contained therein, it is much easier to spot a problem with your rating in the early stages of a crime, and have the problems resolved before they negatively affect your life. 

It is easy to obtain a credit report and there are several ways to do so. There are three major credit bureaus in the United States who control the flow of credit information for all (U.S.) credit checks: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. All three of the companies work independently of each other and keep a separate credit report on everyone. Anyone wanting information regarding their personal credit may contact each one of the credit bureaus, or all three, to request a credit report. Because each company works independently of each other, all three credit reports will be different, so it may provide a more comprehensive picture of one’s credit to obtain a report from more than credit company. 

The three credit bureaus may be contacted for a copy of a report via phone, mail or the internet. (www.equifax.com, http://www.experian.com, http://www.transunion.com). Though there is usually a fee for providing the report, several states require credit reports to be provided free of charge, and should be researched before requesting a copy. 

The final way to receive a credit report is to be denied credit. Under federal law, anyone denied credit must be provided a copy of their credit report, if they request one, for free. The credit report provided at that time will be from the credit bureau who provided the report to the company who denied credit, not each of the three major credit bureaus, so it still may be necessary to obtain a report from the other two remaining companies. 

Whether requesting via phone, mail or internet, the credit bureaus realize the importance of a credit report, and usually send out a printed copy of one’s credit report within 24 hours of the request. One credit bureau, Equifax, will also provide a credit report online. For the convenience of electronic credit reports, check out their website, for details.