Credit Report Basics

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a collection of information held at one or more US credit bureau service providers. Banks and other businesses that lend money access this information with your consent. This information is compiled into a single report per Credit Bureau Agency 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, Social Security Number, date of birth

• Credit history: including credit accounts and loans with retail stores, banks, finance companies and others; credit
   limits and balances; on-time and late payments

• Public records: bankruptcies, court rulings, registered items

• Inquiries: including lenders you've recently sought credit from and your employers

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, car dealers, realtors and landlords, insurance providers, certain government agencies, employers and, of course, you.

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. In addition, a strong credit performance can be viewed positively by your employer and landlords because it demonstrates your ability to manage your responsibilities and pay on time.

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, and you are entitled to do so without charge.

Remember to inform your lender and the Credit Bureau immediately if you notice any inaccurate information in your credit report.
Back to top
Back to top