Credit is such a common part of our lives, you might not realize how often you use it. Anytime you buy something or receive a service without paying cash for it immediately, you're putting credit to work for you.
What is credit?
Credit can make a real difference in your life, helping you to get something when you want it, or more importantly, when you need it.
Do you phone friends or family long-distance? Do you heat or cool your home? Have you bought a car? Anytime you buy something or receive a service without paying cash for it immediately, you're putting credit to work for you.
Credit can make a real difference in your life, helping you to get something when you want it, or more importantly, when you need it. The person who takes out a consumer credit loan promises to pay it in full, usually with interest, at set dates in the future. Interest is a charge added to the original amount of the loan to pay the lender for the use of the money.
Credit is based on trust. When someone trusts you, they believe you'll keep your promises. When you use credit to buy something, you're promising to make your payments on time.
What is a credit report?
The information contained in a credit bureau report is very important…
A credit report is a profile of your financial life that's compiled by a credit reporting agency or credit bureau. A credit bureau receives and maintains records on anyone who's ever applied for credit. Each month, the credit bureau receives updates from creditors about the bill paying habits of their customers.
Your credit file may contain your:
- Social Security Number
- Marital Status
- Current and former addresses
- Employment history
- Information from public/court records, such as judgments or bankruptcy
- Credit accounts, including the date each was opened, the amount and balance, the status of the account, your pattern of payment, and the date of the last activity on the account.
- The number of inquiries about your credit history, as well as the date, and the name of the company making the inquiry
Defaulting on a loan may stay on your credit record for up to 7 years; declaring bankruptcy may stay on your record for 10 years.
To obtain a copy of your credit report, you may contact one of these three major credit bureaus:
Equifax Credit Information Services
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian (Formerly known as TRW Information Services) National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 2106
Allen, TX 75013-2104
TransUnion Corporation Consumer Relations Center
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390