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What Kind Of Information Will Your Credit Report Contain?

Monday, June 24th

What Kind of Information Will Your Credit Report Contain?

A credit report is the compilation of a consumer's financial history. It includes information about every account ever opened, every loan ever secured and every financial institution with which an individual ever has done business. It also is a barometer for lenders to determine if they wish to do business with a particular consumer. Credit reports contain a credit score ranging from 300 to 850. Persons with scores over 700 are considered in good financial standing.

There are many reasons to check your credit report at least once a year, but fraud prevention and accuracy of information contained within the report are among the top reasons to take a peek.

Speaking of accuracy of information, there are certain kinds of information that are included in every credit report. While it is true that all three agencies collect their information in slightly different manners, all three generally follow the same rules as to what kind of information is found in the reports.

So what can you expect to see if you order a credit report on yourself?

All credit reports contain identifying information about the individual: full legal name, any aliases used, social security number, date of birth and employment information. Most reports also contain a complete listing of all places of residence for the consumer. Residential information is compiled from utility bills and credit card companies, or any other creditor with which an individual has done business.

A complete listing of all credit accounts also is included in an individual's report. Lenders will provide information on each account a consumer has opened with them. The report will classify which kind of account it is: bank account, credit card account, mortgage, vehicle loan, or utility service. If a consumer has closed an account with a creditor, the dates the account was both opened and closed should be included in the listing for that account. It is important to check this information closely to ensure that all accounts opened are in good standing and that the accounts were actually secured by the individual on the report.

Credit inquiries also are listed on a consumer's credit report. Credit inquiries are requests by any lender who has asked to view your credit report. Inquiries are classified as voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary inquiries are ones the consumer has initiated, such as for a car loan or mortgage. Involuntary inquiries are those conducted by companies, such as credit card companies, without your knowledge. It is not uncommon for certain creditors to check your financial standing to determine if they wish to make you a special offer on opening an account with them. Credit card companies frequently make involuntary inquiries on consumer credit reports in an attempt to drum up new customers.

The final bit of information included on credit reports is anything pertaining to a consumer's public history: bankruptcies, overdue payments, foreclosure and wage attachments are among the common items found on credit reports.

Any information found on the report which is in error should immediately be disputed with the credit reporting agency. Each of the three agencies has a process for disputing information, which is clearly explained on the reports they issue to consumers, as well as on their individual websites. TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best credit repair services available today.

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Credit Monitoring Company FAQ

Credit monitoring keeps an eye on financial transactions associated with your credit use: your buying behavior, changes in your credit score, and so on. When potential fraud is detected, a credit monitoring service notifies you quickly so that you can put a stop to any unauthorized use of your information or money.
Unless you have the time and energy to keep an eagle-eye watch over all of your accounts, credit monitoring is a must in this age of phishing scams, spam phone calls, and data breaches. Having a credit monitoring service in place can shut down fraudsters early on, before any serious damage is done to your credit history (or your bank balance!).
It's important to point out that credit monitoring doesn't prevent fraud. It can only give you tools to try and protect yourself, while letting you know right away if anything suspicious is detected. Credit monitoring won't stop your credit card from being skimmed, keep your data protected if there's a breach somewhere, or prevent an identity theft from applying for credit in your name.
Both types of score represent different models used to predict how likely it is that any given consumer will be at least 90 days behind on a bill sometime in the next two years. Because they give different weights to the various components in their calculations, the scores they return can be different for the same individual. For example, to get a FICO score, you need to have at least one credit account that's six months "old" or more, but a VantageScore only requires you to have one active account (even if it's not six months "old" ).
Many services are offered at no charge. Yes, you read that correctly: you can get a certain level of credit monitoring for absolutely no fees. However, if you're looking for the most comprehensive services, you can expect monthly fees ranging from $12 to $35.
It's definitely worth considering. Because most minors don't have extremely active credit accounts (car loans, credit cards, and so on), fraud can go undetected for a very long time. Without credit monitoring, your child could go to apply for a college loan or their first credit card and find out that someone has been using their name to open accounts for years!
Be sure to check out what other customers have said about the service. Also, look for a listing with the Better Business Bureau, to give yourself that added assurance that the credit monitoring service you're considering is reputable.
While your credit card company probably does alert you if fraud is detected, it's not designed to be comprehensive: they don't keep an eye on your bank account or any use of your Social Security number to open accounts. Your bank may provide your credit score when you sign into your account, but they don't flag most transactions. Unless you're going to play an active role in monitoring your credit, it's worth it to pay for a service to track it all for you. Plus, many credit monitoring services will help you restore your identity if it's compromised while you're a subscriber.
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