What is a Credit Report?

Your credit report contains important information about you. It generally includes facts about your identity, where you work, live, your bill-paying habits, and public record information. Credit grantors use credit reports to determine whether or not you will be extended credit. Identity information includes your name, address, marital status, Social Security number, date of birth, number of dependents, and previous addresses. Employment data includes your present position, length of employment, income, and previous jobs. Factual information about your credit history consists of your credit experiences with specific credit granters. Public record information includes civil suits and judgments, bankruptcy records or other legal proceedings recorded by a court. A credit report does not contain information on arrest records, specific purchases, or medical records.


Companies called credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus compile and sell your credit report to businesses, which use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and other purposes allowed by federal law. Therefore, it is important that your credit report contain complete and accurate information.


It is advisable that you review your credit report every three or four years to check for inaccuracies or omissions. You also may want to check your report sooner if you are considering a major purchase, such as buying a home.