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Personal credit reports

Sometimes called a credit file or a credit history, the personal credit report details a consumer's financial behavior and identification information in a consumer-friendly format that makes it easy for you to understand what a lender would be seeing if they reviewed your credit history. Information on the report is obtained from your creditors, public records and other reliable sources, which report it to Experian through an automated process.

Credit reporting agencies store the information and report it to others who have a permissible purpose under the law. A credit reporting agency's role in an investigation process is to investigate and verify the consumer's information to determine the accuracy and completeness of any item or items by contacting the creditor and informing them of all relevant information regarding the consumer's request for an investigation. If the issue is not resolved, then the credit reporting agency will offer the option of including a consumer statement with the report. The Federal Trade Commission does not require that the credit reporting agency obtain documentation such as the actual signed sales slips, signature cards, contracts, etc.; nor does it require that credit reporting agencies act as mediators or negotiators in account disputes.

Some of the sections you might find on your personal credit report from Experian are:
  • Personal data - Includes information associated with your records that has been reported to us by you, your creditors and other sources. It may include name variations, your driver's license number, Social Security number variations, your date of birth, your spouse's name, your employer, your telephone numbers and information about your residences. As part of our fraud prevention program, a notice with additional information may appear in this section.
  • Credit information - This section lists most of a consumer's credit accounts, the date when those accounts were opened, payment history, debt owed and any co-signers.
  • Public record information - A compilation of public information gleaned from courthouses, this section includes bankruptcies, monetary judgments stemming from lost court cases, federal and state tax liens, and overdue child support payments.
  • Requests for your credit history - This section contains a list of those individuals and organizations that have recently sought information from the credit report because you applied with them or under permissible purpose of the law. These might include lenders, insurers, employers and stores that want to increase the credit lines of customers who meet certain criteria. Certain inquiries generate pre-approved credit card offers.
  • Consumer statement (optional) - You can contribute a statement addressing an issue on your report. Experian will also help you write a consumer statement of 100 words or less. See personal statement.
We suggest that you check your personal credit report often in order to know and understand what is being reported about you. This is one step to maintaining your financial health. Get your online personal credit report.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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