What's on Your Credit Reports?
Your credit reports include your personal information as well as your detailed credit history.
This section of your credit report includes the following data:
Full name, including any previous names, such as a maiden name
Social security number
Current and previous addresses
Current and past places of employment
Driver's license number and the state that issued it
Most personal information is not used to evaluate your credit history, but a lender might notice if you've changed jobs frequently and question you about the reasons for the changes. You'll also be questioned if your credit application lists an address or other information that doesn't match the information on the reports.
Although the records contained in your report can go back many years, each report that is generated is very specific for the day and time it is pulled from the records. Information is constantly flowing into the report from your creditors, so it can change at any time.
Detailed Credit History
The core of each report is a detailed history of the credit granted to you for the past several years, with facts about the way you have handled your accounts. Reports offer information about each credit account, including the following:
Dates accounts were opened and closed
Current account balances and credit limits
Payment history for each account, including notations of late payments
Types of accounts (revolving, such as credit cards; installment, such as auto loans; and real-estate loans)
Details about who closed the account — whether the request came from you or the credit grantor
Your credit reports include details about liens and judgments against you, bankruptcies, foreclosures, wage attachments, accounts in collection for nonpayment, unpaid child support, and overdrawn checking accounts.
Reporting agencies also keep track of inquiries that are made when you apply for new credit. Too many new inquiries in a short time may be viewed negatively. If the lender feels you've been seeking too much new credit, it might decide you are either already overextended or on the verge of living beyond your means — making you a credit risk.
Credit inquiries made for promotional mailings, requests from your current creditors as they update files, and by you for informational purposes are tracked, but they do not have a negative impact on your reports.
When you buy real estate, the lender will analyze all three reports. Even if you are certain that you've never made a late payment, you should order reports from all three agencies before you decide to buy. You might be surprised by the information that's recorded in your files.