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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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