Credit Report Basics
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report is a collection of information held at credit bureau service provider, TransUnion Limited. Banks and other businesses that lend money access this information with your consent. This information is compiled into a single report that helps lenders determine if you are a good financial candidate.
Your credit report is referred to when you apply for credit and includes the following information:
- Your identification: name, address, previous address, date of birth
- Credit history: including credit accounts and loans with banks, finance companies; credit limits and balances; on-time and late payments
- Public records: bankruptcies, court cases
- Inquiries: including lenders you’ve recently sought credit from
It is a good idea to review your credit report once a year. If you discover any inaccurate information, it can be corrected or removed by contacting the Credit Bureau directly.
By law, your credit report does not include certain personal facts such as race, religion, health status and political affiliation.
Who can view your Credit Report?
With your consent, your credit report can be viewed by lenders and yourself in accordance with the Privacy Act.
As a responsible lender, American Express reviews credit reports of our customers on a regular basis. The information reflected on credit reports is taken into consideration to manage your account.
How do you establish a Credit Rating?
You begin to establish a credit rating as soon as you apply for your first loan or credit card. From that point on, the way you manage your accounts will have a positive or negative impact on your credit rating.
A good credit rating is necessary in order to apply for credit in the future. For example, lenders will evaluate your credit report prior to approving your request for car loans, mortgages, lines of credit and credit cards.
Good Credit Guidelines
Some things that lenders consider when reviewing your credit report are:
- Timeliness of bill payments
- Total outstanding balances
- Total usage of credit lines
- Negative public records
To help keep your credit rating in good standing you should always pay your bills on time. If you are moving, ensure you provide your lenders with your new address and other contact information to avoid late or missed payments.
You should also check your credit report annually to ensure the accuracy of your information.
Remember to inform your lender and the Credit Bureau immediately if you notice any inaccurate information in your credit report.