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Your Credit History
Your credit history is a picture of how well you are able to handle credit.
Basically, it acts as your financial report card, showing whether you pay
the money you owe on time or not.
make history - paint your financial
credit reporting bureaus
interested in your own history?
Paint your own financial portrait
Timely loan payments are just one part of your credit history. It might also
include information on payments for rent or utilities. Or it could indicate
how you manage your checking and savings accounts (including any bounced
Your total outstanding debts, as well as the amount of unused credit already
available to you (through bank, store, or oil company cards), are typically
Who keeps this information?
Credit bureaus are independent agencies that collect information on people
who use credit. They act as central distribution centers for credit information,
making it easy for potential lenders to get your accurate credit history
Local agencies are located in most states, but three national bureaus handle
the largest share of inquiries and reports. All credit bureaus should have
the exact same information on your history, but information can differ between
So, if you find a discrepancy on your report, contact the reporting bureau
in writing within 30 days (see the credit bureaus listed on the back
Who's watching whom?
Remember, a number of laws regulate credit bureaus and protect your rights.
For more information, contact your regional FTC office or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20580
Who has access to it?
You can be reasonably sure that anyone planning to lend you money or extend
credit to you will review your credit history. Credit bureaus are not required
to notify you when someone has asked to review your report.
Credit card issuers, auto financing companies, college loan issuers, insurance
companiesand yes, even landlords and potential employerscan legally
access this information to help determine whether they wish to do business
In many cases, they are simply verifying the accuracy of information that
you have already provided to them. In addition to looking at your credit
history, potential lenders and businesses usually consider job history and
current earnings to determine how much credit they are willing to extend.
Inquiring minds want to know
If you have been denied credit in the past 60 days, you are entitled by law
to receive a free copy of your report from the credit bureau that issued
it. If you are simply interested in reviewing your report, credit bureaus
will issue one to you for a nominal fee.
Credit bureaus are legally bound to rectify mistakes. Therefore, if your
report is inaccurate, contact the reporting bureau within 30 days by sending
a written statement of 100 words or less detailing your situation. Provide
photocopies or other proof to support your claim. Keep in mind that this
correspondence will become part of your credit history record.
Interested in your own history
Local credit reporting agencies can usually be found in your yellow pages.
The three national credit bureaus can be reached at the phone numbers below.
Fees for individual credit reports can range from free to approximately $8.
Once a year, a credit report or credit score is allowed to each individual for free.
- Equifax: 1-800-685-1111
- Experian: 1-800-392-1122
- Trans Union Corporation: (510) 689-1912
Since December 1999 - last modified: February 22, 2012