Financial Education



Consumer Credit Report

What Is In a Credit Report and What Is Not?

Your credit report is made up of information that offers a snapshot about how you have handled credit in the past. Below are the items that appear in your credit report.

Personal Information
Compiled from credit applications you have filled out, this information normally includes your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth, and employment information.

Credit History
The bulk of your credit report consists of details about credit accounts that were opened in your name or that list you as an authorized user (such as a spouse's credit card). Creditors provide account details including the date the account was opened, the credit limit or amount of the loan, the payment terms, the balance, and a history that shows whether you have paid the account on time. Closed or inactive accounts stay in your report for 7 to 10 years from the date of their last activity.

Credit reporting agencies record an inquiry whenever your credit report is made available to another party, such as a lender, service provider, landlord, or insurer. All inquiries made within the past year appear on your report as well as any employment-related inquiries within the past two years.

Public Records
Matters of public record obtained from courthouses -- including liens, judgments, bankruptcies and overdue child support -- may appear on your credit report. Most public record information stays on your credit report for 7 to 10 years.

What Is Not in a Credit Report?
A credit report does not include information about your checking (except some information on bounced checks) or savings accounts, income, net worth, motor vehicles records, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, unpaid or bad debts that are more than seven years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history, or criminal records. Credit scores are based on information in your credit report, but are not part of the report itself.

Who Can Look at Your Report?
Anyone with a permissible purpose, as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, may look at your credit report. These companies, groups, and individuals include:

  • Current and potential lenders
  • Landlords
  • Insurance companies for underwriting of insurance
  • Employers and potential employers (only with your written consent)
  • Companies you allow to monitor your credit file for signs of identity theft
  • A person considering your application for a government license or benefit
  • A state or local child support enforcement agency
  • A person you authorize in writing to receive your credit report from a credit reporting agency