Understanding The Fine Print In Your Credit Report

An often misunderstood aspect of your credit history is that many consumers believe that their personal information (business dealings, spouses, job information, etc…) is included in their credit reports.

In reality, the info included in your credit reports is very specific, based on facts (we hope), and with a narrow focus. That may sound like a tiny sliver of your total credit history but the sheer volume is massive as it does contain a full history of any and all financial information on you.

This means that if you decide to skip a payment here or there and think you can get caught up during the next billing cycle without any damage- you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The entire credit industry will take note, and this will count against your credit file, potentially forever!


the fine print

As usual at CreditKeeper, we strive to provide education for consumers on understanding their credit file.

Starting with what is included in the fine print of your credit report…

Cliff Notes Version Of Pertinent Information In Your Credit Report

  • Public Records info like past judgments, bankruptcies, child support case, tax liens and other official information.
  • Identification Numbers Your Social Security number, all housing addresses, and current employer information.
  • All Trade Lines (Credit Accounts) specific info on all past and current credit accounts, including: account type, amount owed, single versus joint account, payment history, any collections activity (see next bullet for more info) and your credit limit.
  • Collections Activity this is a major red flag and your report must include any and all prior collections activity in your name.
  • *Your Credit Score this is not requirement by the Fair Credit Reporting Act but lots of credit bureaus include your score.
  • *Message Another often overlooked fact, you can post a message for each negative remark on your credit report. This is very helpful for clarifying errors from legitimate items.
  • *Previous Credit Applications Any and all companies and banks that you have previously applied for a credit line with.

One major consideration here is that the three credit bureaus are for profit. Thus, they are in competition and each of them try to differentiate their reports in an effort to earn your business (and the banks). That means that subtle changes will be noticed between your Experian, TransUnion and Equafax credit reports. The overall theme will be similar between each of these reports. This is a welcome change for consumers as in the past credit reports were extremely cumbersome and hard to interpret. The uniformed presentation now, along with your credit score, makes it much easier to discern your credit worth.

Clarifying What Is Not Included In Your CR

  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Political Party
  • Family & Friends
  • Race
  • Other lifestyle factors

If you can keep these distinctions in your mind as you review your credit reports, you will be well ahead of most first time consumers. This should alleviate some concerns about what is and what is not included in your credit reports. If you notice something odd included in your report, you need to contact the reporting bureau and if necessary dispute the item.