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Credit and Finance Advice
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Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.
- What’s in a credit report?
- How can you check it?
- How can you improve it?
There are three credit reporting agencies in the United States: Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®. A credit reporting agency gathers information from various providers and supplies credit data on individual consumers. Each credit reporting agency has its own formulas for calculating credit scores.
Companies that supply your credit information to consumer reporting agencies have to follow specific credit reporting rules, as listed under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The act stipulates who can obtain a copy of your credit report and in what circumstances.
Arm yourself with the basics of consumer credit reporting:
Find out what’s included in a credit report, and see a sample Experian credit report. You’ll discover what kind of information lenders see when they review your credit history.
Review your credit report before making a large credit purchase, and make sure the information is accurate. If it’s not, you can dispute it online.
Find out what a credit score is, what it means and how you can improve it.
Create a positive credit history. Learn tips on how to set up your credit history from the beginning and the importance of paying your bills on time. Need help? Learn where you can go for assistance.
Credit Report Educational Videos
What is a credit report?
A credit report is sometimes called a credit file or credit history. Credit reports contain identifying information and a list of your financial obligations and how you have paid them. They are available to creditors, employers, others as permitted by law, and by you the consumer at any time.
How can I request my credit report?
By visiting annualcreditreport.com you can request one free report from each of the 3 national credit reporting companies every 12 months. If you have already requested your free report and need additional reports you can visit the credit reporting companies directly, like www.experian.com. There may be an additional fee for credit reports, unless you have been a victim of fraud.