What Do Free Annual Credit Reports Tell You?


Quick Answer

Free annual credit reports provide information on credit history, criminal history such as arrests and imprisonment, information from public records regarding child support payment, liens and bankruptcy, bill payment history and contact information. Each year, Americans receive credit reports from one of the three main credit bureaus in the United States: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These companies generate reports containing simple, basic information such as current home address and phone numbers of consumers, and provide detailed history on their financial habits, particularly paying bills.

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Full Answer

Free credit reports let Americans see their current credit scores, which appear as numbers evaluating consumers' personal history and financial payments. The higher the credit score rating, the better. Credit reports keep track of financial information dating back 10 years. They keep track of secure personal information, including Social Security number and birth date, along with employment history. This information derives from past credit applications, but may change frequently.

Experts at Equifax recommend ordering and reviewing a free credit report at least once annually to ensure no errors exist. Credit reports also track credit history, which entails keeping files of all bank accounts opened and operating under an individual's name. In addition to curious consumers, credit reports provide valuable information for landlords, insurance companies, lenders and even potential employers; these entities may use credit reports to accept or deny applications for employment.

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