Definition of "Credit Report"

Jeff  Harmon real estate agent
Jeff Harmon, Real Estate Agent RE/MAX Real Estate Center

A credit report contains detailed information regarding the relationship history of an individual with several financial institutions.

How do I get a Credit Report?
You ask a credit bureau. There are several around – especially ever since the world became so digital.

How much does a Credit Report cost?
It depends on the credit bureau reporting, but, by law, they cannot charge more than $12 for it. When they do, it usually is in a form of a "bundle", providing you with other services.

Can I get a free credit report?
Yes. Everyone is allowed to ask for a free credit report once every 12 months to one of the 3 nationwide credit bureaus. Call the Annual Credit Report Request Service at 1-877-322-8228 for more information.

You can also request an additional free credit report if:

- You’ve just been a victim of fraud or identity theft
- You are currently receiving public welfare assistance
- You are currently unemployed (willing to apply for employment within the next 60 days)
- Your credit history was the alleged reason for the denial of an insurance policy, or for the loss of an employment opportunity or even for the denial of a credit expansion

What’s in a credit report?
It can vary from agency to agency, but typically it contains personal information like Social Security number, current and past address(es), employment history, financial information like bill payment history, loans, current debt and even criminal history. Lastly, it also shows all the companies that have requested the individual’s file and the date those requests were made.

Why does it exist?
Its main function is to help lenders decide if they will approve a loan for a specific individual. In case they do, it acts as the basis to determine the interest rates they will charge for the loan. It also serves as a way to prospective insurers, employers and rental property owners to get a better feel regarding that individual’s payment history/financial responsibilities. 


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