What Does Your Credit Report Show?
When you're reading your credit report for the first time, it can be overwhelming, especially if you've had a lot of accounts over a long period of time. Knowing what types of things appear on your credit report can make it much easier to read and understand.
Your Name and Variations
Your credit report could contain different versions of and maybe even misspellings of your name. For example, your first and last name might appear along with your first and last name with your middle initial.
Your credit report is compiled using information from the creditors and lenders you do business with. The name you put on your applications (the one that appears on your credit card or your statements) is the name that appears on your credit report, so be consistent. Also, if creditors have misspelled your name, that misspelling will appear on your credit report.
Your Current and Previous Addresses
If you’ve received mail at more than one address, there’s a great possibility those addresses will appear on your credit report. Of course, if there’s an address where you never lived appearing on your credit report, you can dispute it. It doesn’t hurt your credit score, but it could be a sign of identity theft.
The name of your employer may appear on your credit report if you've provided it to any of your creditors, lenders, or other businesses that report to the credit bureaus. Employer information doesn't influence your credit score but may help lenders and credit card issuers verify the information on your loan or credit card application.
Installment accounts are one-time loans that require monthly payments each month for a set period when the loan is paid off. Mortgages, car loans, and student loans are types of installment loans. Unsecured loans like personal loans will also appear on your credit report.
Open and Closed Accounts
Open and closed accounts will both appear on your credit report, with the exception of negative, closed accounts that are older than seven years. Those accounts have passed the credit reporting time limit. Accounts that were closed in good standing remain on your credit report about 10 years after the account has been closed, or whatever period the credit bureau has specified.
Account Payment History
The complete payment history for your credit accounts will be on your credit report, except negative payment history that’s older than seven years. Typically, only the last 24 months of monthly payment history will appear on your credit report, but old past-due payment statuses may be included in the notes section for each account.
Recent Credit and Loan Applications
Recent applications for credit will appear on your credit report in the inquiries section. These inquiries only remain on your credit report for 24 months.
Unpaid debts that have been sent to a collection agency usually appear on your credit report. Even something as small as a $4 library fine could end up on your credit report if the library sends the account to collections. This is why it's important to take care of all your bills, even those that aren't regularly reported to the credit bureaus.