Credit Reports

Sample Credit ReportHow can I get a copy of my personal credit report?
You can check your credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once per year. You may request your report at or by calling 1-877-322-8228 (free).  If you prefer to write, a request form is available at

What is on my credit report?
Review your credit report carefully. You will find four types of information in your report:

  • Personal information: Includes your name, address, Social Security number, birth date, and any variations in this data reported by your lenders.
  • Account information: Installment loans, credit cards (called revolving accounts), mortgages, auto loans, and other debts, along with any collection accounts. Each account will show whether you are an individual account holder, joint account holder, cosigner or authorized user. Each will also show your original balance or credit limit, current balance, and whether your payments have been on time or late. Your payment history is the most important part of your credit report.
  • Public records: Bankruptcy, tax liens and civil judgments will be included.
  • Inquiries: A list of everyone who has requested your credit report. “Hard inquiries” are the result of your application for credit and are shared with your lenders when you apply for new services. “Soft inquiries” show only in your personal credit report and include requests for preapproved credit offers, insurance, employment, account review by current lenders and your requests to order your own report.

Something doesn’t look right… What should I do if I find an error in my credit report?
Credit reports often contain errors.  Some are small, like misspellings of your name, while others can be more serious, like incorrect account information that could affect your credit score. If you find an error, you may dispute it online, or by mail or phone using the contact information for the credit reporting company that provided the report. You might also want to dispute errors directly with the creditor who has provided information you question. Investigations of disputed items are usually completed within 10 to 14 business days, but they can take up to 30-45 days. The credit reporting company will contact the source of the information who must then review its records and update or remove any inaccurate information.

How long does information stay on my credit report?
When you use credit, a record of your payment history is reported to credit reporting agencies.

Active credit accounts with no negative information can remain on a report for as long as you keep them open. Late payments and collection accounts will remain part of your credit report for seven years from the date the account payment first became late. Bankruptcy can remain for up to ten years.

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