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What Can I See with My Free Credit Report?

By Ruth Racey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Some Americans often ask themselves, “What’s the deal with credit reports?” For many consumers, the annual reports are nothing more than mere records of their credit card use. What they fail to understand is that their credit report shows more than their past card transactions. Credit reports are also very useful tools for monitoring spending habits and behaviors.

So, what does a credit report contain? Credit reports are comprehensive records that contain sensitive financial information about cardholders and consumers. This is why the government regulates the release of credit reports and authorizes only three major credit agencies to collect, consolidate, and provide credit reports. If any of the crucial information in credit reports ends up in the wrong hands, scam artists can easily take advantage of it. A free credit report is a gold mine for fraudsters and swindlers hoping to use credit cards for their own good.

A free credit report contains important data that is privy to the cardholder, credit bureaus, and card companies. A credit report has several sections that provide crucial information to the cardholder and potential card issuers.

The first section of a free credit report contains identification information. Anything that is needed to identify a consumer can be found here. The cardholder’s complete name, nicknames, and known aliases are located in this portion of the report. Past and present addresses and residencies are also recorded in this section. The cardholder’s birthday and civil status can also be located here. Even data about a consumer’s employment history is recorded in a credit report. Married cardholders can also expect to see information about their wife or husband.

The cardholder’s credit history, which includes the number of cards that a consumer currently has, as well as their credit limits and payment history, are found in the second portion of the report. Details about a consumer’s purchases and payment behavior can be seen in this specific section. Even records of banks, lenders, and card companies that issue credit cards to a cardholder can be found in the credit details section of a free credit report.

Because credit reports can also be accessed and requested by card companies, a certain section is reserved records of credit report requests. Consumers can see who has read their report or requested a copy of it. The cardholders can also find out all the previous requests for the last two years.

Finally, credit reports contain details about a cardholder’s financial background that is available to the public. Declared bankruptcies and financial judgments or decisions are located in this portion of the report.

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