What Does Your Credit Report Say About You?
Everywhere you look you can see advertisements and articles discussing the importance of an individual's
credit score. Credit scores affect every aspect of our financial lives - qualification for loans, the interest
rates we pay, employment opportunities, and even insurance premiums. Undoubtedly, a consumer's credit
score has become one of the single most important criteria reviewed and considered by today's lenders
and potential employers. The information reported by the credit bureaus about you impacts almost every
part of your financial life.
Credit Reports generally contain five types of information:
♦ Identification Information: Information such as the name of the individual, current and previous
residential addresses, and Social Security number.
♦ Trade Line Information: Detailed information reported by creditors and other furnishers on each
current and past loan, lease, or other debt (such as utility and medical debts).
♦ Public Record Information: Information derived from financial-related public records, such as records
of bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, garnishments, and other civil judgments.
♦ Collection Account Information: Information reported by collection agencies regarding credit
accounts and other debts.
♦ Inquiry Information: Identities of individuals or companies that have requested information from an
individual's credit file; the date of inquiry; and an indication of whether the inquiry was by the consumer,
for the review of an existing account, or to help the inquirer decide on a potential future account or
Unfortunately, an alarming number of these files (credit reports) contain serious errors and could cause
the denial of credit, a loan, or a job, so monitor your credit report and minimize or eliminate future credit
problems. Remember, keeping a 'clean' credit report is essential to your financial well-being.
What Affect Your Credit Scores?
Your credit report is your 'financial fingerprint' and contains information that can be grouped into the
categories listed below. (A percentage of the approximate emphasis assigned for each factor is shown in
parentheses after the category; however, keep in mind that these figures are not ‘absolute' and companies
may consider different factors.)
Payment History (35%)
♦ Account payment information on specific types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment
loans, finance company accounts, mortgage, etc.)
♦ Presence of adverse public records (bankruptcy, judgments, suits, liens, wage attachments, etc.),
collection items, and/or delinquency (past due items)
♦ Severity of delinquency (how long past due)
♦ Amount past due on delinquent accounts or collection items ♦ Time since (frequency of) past due items (delinquency), adverse public records (if any), or collection
items (if any)
♦ Number of past due items on file
♦ Number of accounts paid as agreed
Outstanding Debt (30%)
♦ Amount owing on accounts
♦ Amount owing on specific types of accounts
♦ Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases
♦ Number of accounts with balances
♦ Proportion of credit lines used (proportion of balances to total credit limits on certain types of
♦ Proportion of installment loan amounts still owing (proportion of balance to original loan amount on
certain types of installment loans)
Length of Credit History (15%)
♦ Time since accounts opened
♦ Time since accounts opened, by specific type of account
♦ Time since account activity
Types of Credit Currently in Use (10%)
♦ Number of (presence, prevalence, and recent information on) various types of accounts (credit cards,
retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, consumer finance accounts, etc.)
New Credit (10%)
♦ Number of recently opened accounts, and proportion of accounts that are recently opened, by type of
♦ Number of recent credit inquiries
♦ Time since recent account opening(s), by type of account
♦ Time since credit inquiry(s)
♦ Re-establishment of positive credit history following past payment problems