Credit Reports: Your Credit Life History

In our last post titled You and Your Credit Score: 3 Critical Questions, we covered the topic of your credit score: what it is and why it’s important. This week we are delving further and examining your credit report.


If your credit score is a ranking of your responsibility with credit, your credit report is the information that determines your score. In short, your credit report is the history of your relationship with credit. It is the sole source of information on which your credit score is based. Your credit report includes a detailed list of the last 6 to 7 years of credit information, such as your credit cards, loans, balances, limits, payment history, account type, and account status. But wait, there’s more!


Credit reports also contain information like your name, phone numbers, name of your spouse, misspellings of your name entered by previous businesses, where you live, past addresses, where you work, employment history, collection records, and public records such as bankruptcy filing and tax liens. Credit reports are especially good at highlighting any misdeeds, such as filing for bankruptcy, late and delinquent payments (including late credit card payments!), collection agency notices, and home foreclosures and repossessions. Finally, your credit report also contains a list of applications for credit you’ve made, as well as the names of businesses and people who have checked your credit and the reason they checked your credit report.


If this seems like an immense amount of personal information to be compiled into one report, that’s because it is! Which makes checking and understanding your credit report that much more important. It can contain clues to identity theft, determine your viability for future loans, or simply let you know what areas of credit responsibility you need to improve or resolve right away. One piece of good news is that most information on your credit report only lasts 6 to 7 years. So even if you have big red flags in your report, such as filing for bankruptcy or defaulting on a loan, in 6 to 7 years your credit report and score could be as good as new – if you learn to handle your credit better.

Now that we know what an important document your credit report is, and that the information it contains leads to the calculation of your credit score, who uses this report? Other than your credit card company and yourself, who looks at your credit file? The answer may surprise you.

Check out this post to learn more: Who Uses My Credit Report?