What your credit report doesn’t say about you
The credit bureaus know a lot about you, but they don’t know everything.
Bureaus collect data about your past credit usage in reports, and this information constitutes your credit scores. Lenders, landlords, employers, and others can use your reports to help you assess.
To get rid of the feeling that they are laying bare your entire financial life, take a look at what appears and doesn’t appear on your credit reports.
5 things that aren’t on your credit reports
1. Salary: It makes a big difference in your day to day life, but your paycheck doesn’t show up on your credit reports and it doesn’t affect your credit scores.
2. Employment status: Credit reports can list your employers, but they don’t say if or when your employment ended. The information is for identification purposes and is taken from your previous credit applications.
3. Spouse’s marital status and credit history: You can get married, but your credit reports cannot. You and your spouse will each have separate credit reports, and their credit will not affect yours. So if you are worried that marrying someone with poor credit will affect your good credit, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But take note: Accounts you open together – a mortgage or shared credit cards, for example – show up on both credit reports, and errors like late payments could affect both of you.
4. Assets: Your bank balances, retirement accounts such as 401 (k), and investment or brokerage accounts are not listed on your credit reports.
5. 401 (k) loans: When you borrow money from yourself, it doesn’t show up on your credit reports. (But that’s usually not a good idea either – it can really slow down your progress on retirement savings.)
4 things that are on your credit reports
1. Identification information: Credit reports contain identifying information, including your name, address, and date of birth.
2. Credit accounts: The reports list open and closed credit accounts, including credit limits and payment records. This most commonly means credit cards and installment loans, such as auto loans and mortgages. Rent can be included if your landlord declares it, but most don’t.
3. Credit inquiries: This records instances where you have applied for credit or checked your scores.
4. Negative financial information: Reports can also include negative information such as payments you made at least 30 days late, defaults, tax liens, debt collections, and bankruptcies.
How to get your credit reports
You have the right to know what lenders and others see when they extract your credit data. You can monitor your credit by signing up with a source of free credit report information. Most sites also offer a free credit score.
You also get at least one free report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, EFX,
and TransUnion TRU,
– through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Get to know your reports. If something pops up that you don’t recognize, it could signal identity theft, and the sooner you find out and deal with it, the better.
If you see an error, contact the credit bureau reporting it and request that it be deleted.