Credit Report Basics
A consumer credit report contains four types of information: identifying information, credit information, public record information, and inquiries.
Identifying information includes:
- Your name
- Your current and previous addresses
- Your Social Security number
- Your year of birth
- Your current and previous employers
- If you're married, your spouse's name
Credit information includes credit accounts or loans you have with:
- Credit card issuers
- Other lenders
Public record information includes any information that's contained in state and county court records, like:
- Tax liens
- Monetary judgments
Inquiries indicate to other credit grantors that you have applied for new credit that could result in additional debt. Potential lenders view multiple recent inquiries on your credit report as a sign that you are overextending yourself.
(A credit risk score may also be included when your report is provided to a credit grantor, although it is not included on consumer review reports. The ways to calculate and use a credit score vary widely, so a score has little meaning outside of the context of a particular lender's unique guidelines for use. Therefore, it is not included on consumer review reports.)
Does a credit report contain other, unrelated personal information?
No. Your consumer credit report does not contain information about your race, religious preference, medical history, personal lifestyle, personal background, political preference or criminal record.
How long does information stay on my credit report?
Positive credit information remains on your report indefinitely, although information about an account will cycle off your report if no new information is reported about it for seven years. (Thus, a closed account will disappear from your report seven years after it is reported closed by the credit grantor.)
Most negative information remains for up to 7 years. Bankruptcies remain on your credit report up to 10 years. Other public record information can remain for up to 7 years.
Most inquiries stay on your credit report for up to two years.