Your credit report is an electronic record of your credit activities. These activities range from borrowing to buy a car or a home to applying for a loan or credit card. That's right -- every time you apply for a credit card or other loan, it registers as an inquiry on your credit report.
More importantly, a credit report is a record of how you use credit and how much of it you have available. If you're late in making a monthly payment, that too shows up on your credit report.
Obtaining a credit report
You are legally entitled to obtain your credit report from a credit reporting agency. This includes receiving a list of everyone that has requested your report.
If you are denied credit based on information in your credit report (the creditor must provide a reason for denial), you have 60 days from the day you receive a denial notice to receive a free copy of the credit report.
Starting in 2004, the law also entitles you to receive a free credit report every 12 months. Of course, you can also pay to obtain a credit report anytime. The three major credit reporting agencies, or credit bureaus, are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union (Dun & Bradstreet Credit Services provides credit reports of businesses):
(800) 685-1111(888) 397-3742 (877) 322-8228
Basic fee: $10Basic fee: $10 Basic fee: $10