Credit Reports 101

  • March 26, 2017
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

We get asked a lot of questions about credit reports. That’s because millions of Americans like you are striving for financial wellness! Credit reports are important in helping to achieve this goal. But they can be confusing too.

Here’s are the answers some common questions about credit reports:

How long does information appear on my credit report?

Most information stays on your credit report for seven years. However, bankruptcies can remain for up to 10 years. Active, positive information may stay forever. Requests for your credit history remain for two years.

You can learn more here.

What is included in my credit report?

Your credit report contains:

  • Bankruptcy records
  • State and county court records of tax liens and financial judgments
  • Information about each financial and utility account

This includes:

  • Date opened
  • Credit limit
  • Loan amount
  • Balance
  • Monthly payment and payment patterns over the past few years
  • The names of companies that requested your credit report
  • Important personal information

This includes:

  • Your name
  • Current and older addresses
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Current and older employers
  • Statements of dispute. This allows you to report wrong information on the report

The credit agencies have credit files for each U.S. resident.  If you are married, your credit report is separate from your spouse’s. However, joint accounts with your spouse will appear on both reports.

Review Your Credit Report with one of our financial experts.

What should I do if there’s an error?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit reporting agency and the company that provided the incorrect information are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information. Each of the Credit Reporting Bureaus has established an online process for handling the dispute process. That is the recommended way to file a dispute about an item on your credit report that you feel is inaccurate.

If you find an error, you may dispute it online. Go to the websites of the main credit agencies. You can also call the number on your credit report if any information is incomplete.

You’ll need to be specific. Include the account number of the error. Then explain why it is inaccurate. Simply saying an item is wrong does not give enough detail to help resolve the issue. Investigations can take up to 45 days. So be patient!