“Credit report” is same thing as “file disclosure”

Dear Experian,

I have to ask the very dumbest of questions. Is the “credit report” the same exact thing as a “file disclosure,” or is there an editing or account management type of feature in which it is  separate from the credit report, which is kept hidden, and is different to the extent that it is accusatory or of a legal workings nature, rather than reporting?



Dear ALT,

It’s not a dumb question at all. The terms you mention, along with others like “credit file” and “credit history” all refer to the same thing – your credit report. Your credit report may be in different formats depending on who is using it or how it is being used.

For example, a lender may get your report in a format that is designed to be read and analyzed by its computer systems rather than by a person. Or, businesses may receive your credit report in a format that presents the information in an order specific to its particular needs. For example, credit card accounts may appear first, followed by auto loans.

You may belong to a monitoring service such as Experian’s Triple Advantage which allows you unlimited access to your credit report.  Such services design their own format for presenting the information in an easy to read format.

A credit report that is provided directly to a consumer actually contains a little more information than a business gets. For example, the report you receive also includes “soft” inquiries that are not shown to anyone else.

The term “consumer disclosure” refers to the report you receive directly from a credit reporting company’s consumer assistance department. The initial report and subsequent communications must follow all legal requirements for consumer disclosures and assistance.

A consumer disclosure is also in a format designed for you to easily read and understand. It is a complete disclosure of the information in Experian’s credit records and also includes instructions to contact Experian if you wish to dispute any information.

Your credit report should not be confused with other types of “consumer reports.” For example, there are “debit bureaus” that collect and report information related to overdrafts on checking accounts. Such reports may include information that is not collected by Experian and that is not part of a credit report.

There also are organizations the compile consumer reports for background checks or security clearances. Those reports may incorporate a credit report, but also could include criminal history research or other public records that are not collected by Experian and are not part of a credit report.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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