Your credit history may change frequently. Monitoring your credit history on a regular basis will alert you to potential fraudulent activity. Below, you'll find the answers to some frequently asked questions about credit.
A credit report is a detailed account of your individual credit history, compiled by a credit reporting agency. A credit report is used by a potential creditor to evaluate an individual's ability and willingness to repay debt. Banks, department stores, the IRS, the court system, doctors, hospitals, utilities, phone companies and other companies all submit payment information directly to the credit reporting agency.
Credit reports are maintained by private agencies that operate under rules set by the Federal Government in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The primary credit reporting companies are:
Your credit report contains basic personal information, such as your full name, names you may have used in the past, your age or date of birth, Social Security number, address and employment information. It will also list previous addresses and employers. Your credit report will contain any public records such as collections, liens, judgments or bankruptcies.
Your report will list all open accounts or charge cards which must be paid in full each month; revolving accounts or credit cards; and installment loans. Each account will have a rating which shows whether it is paid to date or past due, as well as a 24-month history of late payments. Accounts that have been closed by creditors will also be noted.
Effective September 1, 2005, you are eligible for a free copy of your credit report under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). The FACT Act requires the three major credit reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their own credit report each year.
To obtain a free credit report, send your request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta , GA 30348-5281
If you are a victim of identity theft, you may be eligible to receive additional free credit reports.
If you've noticed inaccuracies on your credit report, you will need to contact the company that provided the report and request the errors be corrected.
Your credit history may change frequently. Monitoring your credit history on a regular basis will alert you to potential fraudulent activity. Bad credit may affect your ability to qualify for loans.