What personal information is shown on my credit report?
The credit reporting agencies maintain substantial personal
information in your credit report. This includes your name and
address, both current and former. Your telephone numbers (again,
present and former) and your email address may be included.
These items are important, but not usually a matter of great
concern for your financial situation.
Information which identifies you as a unique individual are
more problematic. Your
Social Security Number
(SSN) and date of birth (DOB) are identifying information which
can be used by identity thieves to steal your identity. These
two items are incredibly sensitive and, if not
safeguarded, can cause you
untold problems. There are steps you can take to minimize the
chances of your credit report being used by an identity thief.
For example, you can ask that a report mailed to you omit your SSN.
Current and former employment information may also be included
in your personal information.
Video: How to get free credit reports
What is included in my credit history?
Your credit history includes information from banks, retail
stores, finance companies, and mortgage companies, credit
unions, and other lenders, as well as landlords. It may also
include information from insurance companies. It includes
information on amounts borrowed, payment history, collection
actions, and early pay offs of loans. Both installment loans and
revolving credit accounts are included. A credit summary which
gives totals in various categories in also included. Some of the
most critical information for determining your credit score (and
credit worthiness) is the record of how many times how have made
late payments. This payment history determines 35% of your
credit score. Another 30% is determined by the amounts owed.
This is not just the total amount, but also the amount as a
percentage of your available credit. Additional points relate to
the number of new accounts (old accounts that have always been
paid are much better). You need to insure all of this is
What are “hard” and “soft” inquiries?
One of the things maintained in your credit report is the number
of credit inquiries. While your copy of your credit report will
show all inquiries, the version seen by potential lenders shows
only “hard” inquiries. Hard inquiries are for actual
applications for credit, when you seek a loan or a line of
credit from someone. Hard inquiries usually cost you points on
your score. Many companies look for information to use in
extending online or mail offers of credit. These are called
“soft” inquiries, and do not show up on a creditors request for
a report, nor does the credit reporting agency deduct points for
What other information is on my credit report?
Certain public information shows up on your credit report.
bankruptcies, court judgments against you, and tax and other
government liens. These range from unpaid property taxes to
assessed by the IRS. Any entry which shows you have incurred
unpaid debts will hurt your credit score. You need to insure
that any such entries are accurate, and challenge them if they
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