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Credit reports and scores

What is a credit report?

A credit report contains information about your credit - and some bill repayment history - and the status of your credit accounts. This information includes how often you make your payments on time, how much credit you have, how much credit you have available, how much credit you are using, and whether a debt or bill collector is collecting on money you owe. Credit reports also can contain rental repayment information if you are a property renter. It also can contain public records such as liens, judgments, and bankruptcies that provide insight into your financial status and obligations.

Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you, or to determine whether you continue to meet the terms of the account. Other kinds of companies can purchase reports to help inform them while making  a wide range of business decisions such as providing or pricing insurance; renting you a residential property; providing you with cable TV, internet, utility, or telecommunication services; and (if you agree to let them look at your consumer report) making employment decisions about you.

Credit reporting companies (also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies) compile these reports. There are also specialty consumer reporting agencies that report your history of paying bills for a specific product or service and other transactions with certain types of businesses. The information they collect depends on the agency and its specialty industry. We’ve put together a list of several of these companies.

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