Frequently Asked Questions


About Credit Bureaus and those who send them Credit Information

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Information Contained in Credit Reports

Credit reports are divided into several key areas of information, including personal data, account (or “trade”) information, inquiries, collections, and public records.

Personal data – The personal information included in a credit report includes your name, former names, address, former addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth, and sometimes employment. The information is used for identification purposes and matching the information supplied by credit grantors. The employment and income section are the least updated.

Account/creditor/trade information – Account information includes a list of your liabilities. This will include credit cards, loans and family and child support obligations. This section also includes specific details about each of your accounts including the balance, credit limit (in the case of a credit card), original loan amount (in the case of a loan), the current payment status, date opened, and any historical delinquencies. If an account has been classified delinquent, then a record of the delinquency will also be included. Accounts can be reported as being 30, 60, 90, or 120 days late, defaulted or included in bankruptcy. Historical payment data is also included and will indicate how late your payments have been in the past.

Inquiries – Inquiries are a record of who accessed you credit report and on what date. They are added to your credit report when anyone (a creditor, collector, or consumer) obtains a copy of it, and even when you review it. There are two types of inquiries, hard and soft. Hard inquiries are normally the result of a consumer applying for some sort of credit card or a loan. Hard inquiries remain on your credit reports for 24 months. Soft inquiries are the results of credit card pre-approvals and account management activities by your existing creditors. When you request a copy of your credit report or monitor your own credit file, a soft inquiry is placed on your credit report. Soft inquiries remain on your credit report for 6 months.

Collections – A collection is a record of a 3rd party company attempting to collect a defaulted or delinquent debt. Collection accounts include the name of the original creditor, the balance due, the date the collection was assigned, the collection agency name, and account number.

Public records – Public record information is data included in the U.S. public record’s system, and is readily accessible to anyone who wants to see it. Not all public record data is included on your credit report. The data is limited to tax liens, bankruptcies, and judgments.

Getting Your Credit Report

Getting your credit report is an essential detail to your financial well-being. While online credit reports can vary in terms of how the information is displayed, the format of personal credit reports is generally the same. Knowing every aspect of your credit report and what goes into creating it, is a critical step that many consumers overlook.

In essence, a credit report is an overview of your entire credit history, as it has been reported to the credit reporting agencies by various sources. Not only does it show lenders how much debt you have collected over time, but it also lets them know whether or not you have paid various bills on time. Additionally, a credit report is also used to generate your credit score.

Below, we’ll take a look at how credit reports are generated, what goes into the report, and how it affects your long-term financial status. Remember, with Credknowledgy®, you can easily pull your credit report online.

How Is My Credit Report Generated?

A credit report can be thought of much like a report card of your credit history. As you collect credit and pay off debts, credit agencies will use that information to create a report that potential lenders will use to determine how much risk is involved in extending you credit, and whether or not you are likely to make payments on time.

Because each credit reporting agency operates independently, credit reports can often vary in what kind of information is displayed, but they all contain a general overview of your financial history.

Whether you apply for a credit card or a mortgage, lenders will take the personal information you have provided and contact a credit reporting agency with permissible purpose. Your credit report is then reviewed for approval. If approved, your personal information, as well as the new tradeline are then reported to one or all three of the major credit reporting agencies to be added to your credit report.

Additionally, credit reporting agencies can also use several other pieces of information to generate credit reports, which we will discuss in-depth below.

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