All about credit reports

Your rights to your free annual credit reports

Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. They also make it easy to accomplish many credit-related tasks right from your computer.

Equifax Experian TransUnion credit bureaus

The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sites contain extensive information about credit reports, your rights, and the laws that guarantee these rights. You can learn more about your free reports at the Federal Trade Commission’s website and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.

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What is a credit report?

When you make a payment on a credit card or loan, the business that gave you the loan or credit keeps a record of how much and often you pay, as well as the credit limits and loan balances. Those businesses and other sources may report your credit, loan and payment history to one or more credit reporting companies. The credit reporting companies each combine the information they receive about your different credit, loan and payment activities into a credit report. The credit reporting companies prepare credit reports for people in the U.S. Since not all businesses report to all three credit reporting companies, the information on your credit reports may vary.

A credit report is an organized list of the information related to your credit activity.

Credit reports may include:

  • A list of businesses that have given you credit or loans
  • The total amount for each loan or credit limit for each credit card
  • How often you paid your credit or loans on time, and the amount you paid
  • Any missed or late payments as well as bad debts

Credit reports may also include:

  • A list of businesses that have obtained your credit report within a certain time period
  • Your current and former names, address(es) and/or employers
  • Any bankruptcies or other public record information

Under Federal law, you are entitled to receive one free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting company every 12 months. For more information visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.  Read more at Annualcreditreport.com