What Are Consumer Credit Reports?

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A consumer credit report is a document that is generated by the credit bureaus and outlines your credit history. This document keeps track of much of your financial information, and it is consulted by any lenders who wish to make a lending decision about you. The information in this document can significantly affect your financial life.

Where Reports Come From

  • While several credit bureaus exist, the three major credit bureaus are the most prominent players in the credit reporting industry. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax are the three biggest credit bureaus and they keep track of all of your personal credit information on this report. Each creditor that you have dealings with will usually report information to the credit bureaus. For example, when you make a payment to a credit card, it is reported to the bureaus and included on your credit report.

How It Is Used

  • The information in your credit report is used in several ways. When you apply for new credit with a lender, the lender will look at your credit report. The information in your credit report helps the lender decide if it should extend credit to you. Besides the actual lending decision, the credit report also will help the lender determine at what interest rate to loan you the money. Your credit report also is used by insurance companies to set premium rates. It can be used by landlords and cell phone companies to determine how much of a deposit you have to pay as well.

What Information Is Included

  • Your credit report includes several pieces of important information about your financial life. For example, it keeps track of what creditors you have accounts with. It also keeps track of your payment history with each individual creditor. On the credit report, your creditors also can find how much debt you have in relation to the amount of available credit. It also keeps track of when you apply for new credit or when someone accesses your credit report.

Fixing Your Credit

  • Your credit score is based on the information in your credit report and it is a numerical summary of your credit history. Raising your credit score can help you get approved for loans easier and get lower interest rates. The information in your credit report can be changed based on your actions. If you start making your payments on time and paying down your credit balances, you can make your credit report more attractive to lenders. This will raise your credit score and make it easier to get approved for financing.

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