What Is A Credit Report?

Even if you have heard of a credit report, you may not know exactly what it is. If so, this credit report article is for you. Learning about your credit report is important in any campaign to eliminate credit card debt and obtain a good credit status. So, you should at least know the credit report basics.

What is this credit card report then? For a start, whenever you borrow money from a legitimate commercial lender, your record of repayments will be public. Each time you make a payment, whether it is on time or late, it will go on the record on which your credit report will be based. Also, each time someone requests a copy of your credit report, that will be noted as well. If you are involved in a bankruptcy, or have a tax lien, it will all go on the credit report.

So, as you can see, your financial transactions, as they involve credit and debt, will be available for all to see.

Why Does the Credit Report Matter?

A credit report is often thought of as something that lenders use when deciding whether or not to extend you credit. That is true-you will not be able to apply for a credit card, car loan or mortgage without the potential lender first checking to see if you are credit worthy. Additionally, though, insurance companies are now using credit reports to determine whether or not someone would be a good risk, as are employers. If you are thinking of renting an apartment, house or commercial space, remember, you will need a good credit report!

Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report?

You have decided, then, that your credit report is something you should take an interest in, and you are right. But how do you get a copy of your personal credit report? There are three credit reporting agencies, and it's a good idea to get a copy of your report from all three-just in case there are discrepancies. The credit report agencies are:

Experian (located at www.experian.com)

Trans Union (located at www.transunion.com )

Equifax (located at www.equifax.com)

You will have to provide the following information to the credit reporting agencies, in order to get a copy of your credit report: a) your full legal name, (b) your current address, as well as your last (if you've been at your current one for less than five years), (c) your date of birth, (d) your social security number and (e) a signature. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year, but you will need a copy from all three agencies. Expect to pay a small fee to receive any other copies.

What Are The Other Free Credit Reports?

It also may be possible to get a free copy of your credit report if you meet certain criteria. They are:

* You are unemployed, but plan to look for a job within the next two months.

* You have been the victim of credit identify fraud, or some other fraud that will affect your report.

* You are currently receiving welfare payments.

* You've recently had a credit application turned down.

What If You Don't Like What You See In Your Credit Report?

If your credit report has bad marks on it, you have two possible courses of action, depending on whether or not the marks are true. If you have made some mistakes in the past, there is no magic formula that will erase them! You will have to get some help-either through a credit counseling company-or simply work to pay off your debts and be on time with your payments. Those marks will stay on your report for seven years-or ten years for a bankruptcy.

If, on the other hand, you find that there are false statements on your credit report, you have some options to clear them up. You should write a letter to each credit reporting agency explaining the mistake, along with any proof that you have to back up your claims-such as paid receipts-and then wait. They will have 30 days to investigate the claim and make a decision.

Having a good credit report is key to all your financial future as far as credit transactions go. If you have never seen your own credit report, why not take the step now and get a copy?

Roy Thomsitt is owner and part author of http://www.eliminate-credi t-card-debt-now.com

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