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.

credit report questions and answersInformation 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.

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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 accurate.

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 them.

What other information is on my credit report?

Certain public information shows up on your credit report. This includes bankruptcies, court judgments against you, and tax and other government liens. These range from unpaid property taxes to income taxes 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 are not.

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