Credit Education 101
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Credit Report Basics

By Janet Lacey
Published: Thursday, October 1st, 2009

A credit report is a document with all the details of your financial behaviour. These details are kept by credit bureaus. They are supplied to potential creditors to verify and gauge new and potential borrowers. There are three main agencies in the United States that provide credit reports. These include Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

A credit report includes a lot of information. This includes you name, any addresses you might have lived in or are living in, details about your employment including the name of your employer, any credit or loan histories, all the inquiries made into your credit history, any collection records and public records. Public records include any bankruptcy filings or tax liens. If you have a credit card or a loan, details of these accounts going back to seven years will be on your credit report including details about your credit limit and any changes in it.

Credit reports are usually filled with different codes which only lenders can figure out. However, if you order out a consumer credit report, things will be broken down and written in plain English for you to understand it easily. These are easy to read and easy to understand. All your lenders including credit card companies and banks send information regarding your financial happenings to the credit bureau electronically. Though, there is not fixed date or time period for the transfer of data, many companies prefer to send an update every thirty months. Any other information will be sent in by courts, the tax agencies and even the post office.

The personal data such as your name, Social Security number and addresses stay as long as they are pertinent. Other information such as financial information stays on your report for around seven years. Many negative entries on your credit report have set expiration durations. These include bankruptcy with ten years duration for Chapter 7 filings and seven years duration for Chapter 13 filings. Any charge offs in your account would last for seven years. Charge offs are when a creditor has tried to take a payment from you and has not been successful. A charge off is written when the creditor gives up. Closed accounts stay on your account for seven if the account was paid late. However, if the account was paid properly, there is no record of it in your report.

If you have a collection account, it will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of the last payment to the original account. If any inquiries are made on your account, the record on your credit report lasts for two years. You can see records for any late payments for the last seven years since the date of the last payment. Any judgements will be visible for seven years from the filing date and any tax liens if unpaid are visible for fifteen years or more. If the lien is paid, the entry is visible for seven years. Keep checking for nay inaccurate information on your credit report. If you do find any inaccurate information, file a dispute as soon as possible.

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