You know, when you’re just starting out financially, it’s not always easy to understand all of the financial terms, what they mean, and how they affect your credit score… truthfully, you may not even understand your credit report the first time that you request it, even though literally everyone says you should study it, make sure it’s right, and try to keep it in the good to excellent range. But, what exactly is on your credit report?
What makes up your credit report and your credit score? Basically, your credit report is your financial snapshot and it contains information directly related to your financial status. Here are the major categories of information that you should find on your credit report:
- Personal Information: In order to positively identify you, your report will contain your full name, including any variations such as maiden name, middle name, middle initial, misspelling and/or any other name that you may have used in your financial affairs. It will also contain your social security number, date of birth, and all addresses that you may have used over the course of your lifetime. It may include your telephone number and/or your places of employment.
All Open and Closed Accounts: Your credit report will also contain a list of all credit that you’ve had over the past ten years (expect some variation on the length of time), including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, etc. Each creditor will list their full name, your account number, balance owed (if any), payment history, and whether or not the account is current or past due.
Public Records: Any public records, such as bankruptcies, judgments against you, and/or any liens.
These are the main items that you will see when you review your full credit report. Surprisingly, you won’t usually find identifiers such as marital status (although joint accounts will be included in both credit reports), level of income, bank balances, or level of education in your credit report.
Remember, the information contained in your credit report is used to paint your personal financial picture, therefore, it’s extremely important that you review all of the information carefully and report any discrepancies that you find to the credit bureau that listed it on your report.