Credit 101: Intro to Credit Reports
What's on your report and why is it important?
A good credit history is one of the most important foundations of financial health. Over the next few weeks we’ll review the basics of credit reports, credit scores and other credit-related topics.
First thing first – have you looked at your credit report lately? This is not the same as reviewing your credit score.
What is a Credit Report?
You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) once per year at annualcreditreport.com. You can pull all three at once or space them out during the year. Because you are pulling the report yourself, this is considered a soft inquiry so it will not affect your score.
Credit Report Sections
This section shows your SSN, name(s), recent address(es), date of birth, and phone numbers associated with your account. The most important errors to correct are name, SSN and date of birth. You will want to contact the bureaus immediately to update.
Phone number and address errors are not as important to correct, but may indicate potential identity theft. More on this subject in a later post.
This section shows any fraud alerts you may have put on your file, any attached instructions that a lender will see regarding how to verify before opening an account, and notifies you if your file is frozen.
- Addressing errors
- Protecting your credit
- Credit score
- Payment history
Length of credit history
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