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Whenever you may a payment on a credit card or loan, businesses who gave you that loan or credit keep a record of how much and often you pay. The report is a history of your credit from banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments. Your credit score is applied against your credit report to determine interest rates and eligibility for certain major life purchases.
Those businesses and other sources may report your credit, loan and payment history to one or more credit reporting companies. Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it.
What’s in a Credit Report?
A credit report is an organized list of the information related to your credit activity. Credit reports may include:
- A list of businesses that have given you credit or loans
- The total amount of each loan or credit limit for each credit card
- How often you paid your credit or loans on time and the amount you paid
- Any missed or late payments as well as bad debts
Credit reports may also include:
- A list of businesses that have obtained your credit report within a certain time period
- Your current and former names, address(es) and/or employers
- Any bankruptcies or other public record information
Requesting Your Credit Report
Every year you can request a free credit report from each of the big three credit bureaus. You can reach to these credit reporting companies through email, phone, or online. Because you can request a free report from each company, it’s a solid idea to space each report throughout the year for the most accuracy.
Several websites offer your credit report for free, but be careful of potential scams or phishing sites that are eager to take your personal information.