What Is a Credit Report?

Learn about credit reports in this Howcast finance video with expert Gregory McGraime.

Transcript

Your credit report is extremely important, because all the information on it is what drives your credit score. So what's involved there? Your credit report is basically a consolidation of your history and track record of paying bills over the last seven to ten years. It shows open accounts, closed accounts, were you late on a bill, were you not late, all kinds of information, and that information is then used to create your credit score, Which lenders will use to evaluate which type of terms you can get on different types of products. Whether it's mortgages or credit cards even insurance, and employment may be impacted by your credit report and the items that are on there. Everybody watching us needs to get a copy of their credit report at least once a year, and the reason I say that is because studies show that about thirty to forty percent of all credit reports have at least one serious error on them. So your credit report and your score may be impacted, and you would have no way of knowing about it. The other reason it is so important to get a copy of your credit report is because identity theft is a growing issue, where someone is taking your personal information and opening up charge cards or buying items with using your identity. So if I had an account right now in your name and I was making charges but the statements are coming to my address and not your address, you would have no way of knowing that, but it would be on your credit report. So what I'm going to tell everybody who is watching to do is to get a free copy of their credit report. And to give you a little background there are three big agencies, there's a lot of them, but there are three big credit bureaus, Experion, Equifax, and Transunion. And you can go and get a free copy of your credit report on all three of those bureaus. The website you want to go to www.anualcreditreport.com. That is the best place to go to get a free copy of your report. Now let me tell you what's free and what's not free, because there is a lot of confusion around that. The actual report with all the information is free, but if you want the number score you usually have to pay for it. And that's separate, basically that's how they make their money, and it costs between five and ten dollars on each of those bureaus. But if you don't want to pay for your score, at the very least, get a copy of your credit report on all those bureaus, read through them, and work to getting the errors corrected, because that could be impacting you significantly, and costing you a lot of money.

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