What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a factual record of how an individual has repaid credit obligations in the past. Credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus, maintain computerized records. Credit reporting agencies obtain information from consumers, creditors, public records, inquiries, consumer statements, and credit scores.


When a consumer completes a credit application (mortgage, personal loan, auto loan, credit card or any form of credit transaction) various pieces of identifying information such as name, date of birth, social security number, phone number, address (both current and past), and current place of employment are reported to the credit reporting agencies.

Note: Much of the identifying information comes from the credit applications you submit. Therefore, it is important when filling out a credit application to print clearly and fill out all requested information completely and consistently.


Creditors who subscribe to a reporting agency will report all account activity. A creditor may belong to one or more agencies. Reported information includes:

  • Date account was opened and type of account
  • Credit limit or amount borrowed
  • Account numbers (or partial numbers for security purposes)
  • Interest rate
  • Who is authorized to use the account
  • Who else is obligated to repay the account
  • Payments received and dates received
  • Account payment status

Public Records

Credit reporting agencies gather information such as property liens, monetary judgements, filed bankruptcies, wage attachemnts or garnishments and in some states child support and spousal maintenance. This information is gathered from local, state and federal courts.

Note: A bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, whereas, other public record information remain for up to 7 years.


Every time you or a credit grantor makes a request to see what is in a file, a record is made of the inquiry. There are two types of inquiries and the length of time those inquiries remain on your report varies. Too many inquiries may be considered a negative on your report. However, multiple inquiries of the same type within a 14-day period count as a single inquiry (e.g. when you are trying to obtain financing from different sources for an auto loan).

External inquiries occur based on credit applications you initiate and are viewable by any lender who inquires on your credit file. Credit-grantors may access your files when you apply for things such as credit cards, loans, insurance, a mortgage or an apartment rental. Inquiries you initiate can be reported for up to two years.

Internal inquiries are those shown only to you, not to lenders to whom you've applied for credit. These types of inquiries do not afect your credit score. Samples of internal inquiries include: current lenders monitoring your account; potential lenders determining whether to offer pre-approved lines of credit; employers checking your credit file when making hiring or promotion decisions; or your own personal request for a credit report.

Consumer Statements

If you are unable to resolve a reporting dispute with a creditor, you may add a 100 word personal statement to your report regarding the negative item. This statement will remain on your report for seven years, but may be revised or removed at any time.

Credit Score

A credit score is a number lenders use to help them decide how likely it is a consumer will repay debt on time. A credit score is simply a snapshot of your credit risk at a particular point in time.

May 2022