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Keeping track of your credit is important for many reasons. Your credit report and credit score determines whether you get a loan and what type of interest rate you receive. It also plays a role in how much you pay for insurance and may affect whether or not you qualify for certain jobs. That`s why you should know what`s on your credit report.

Your credit report has several elements, the most important of which is both a current and historical listing of your credit accounts. Your report will list both open and closed credit card accounts, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans and any other type of credit from a company that has reported it to the credit bureaus. It will list when you opened each account, the date that any were closed, your current balances on the account and the credit limits of revolving accounts.

In addition to listing the accounts, your report will list your payment history for each one. It will have any current past-due payments as well as any past delinquencies. Keep in mind that most information on your credit report stays there for up to seven years and, in some cases, 10 years. This is true even for accounts that have been closed.

Another thing your credit report will contain are credit inquiries. Any time you apply for a loan or a credit card, the company asked to issue the credit will check your credit report to see if you are an eligible candidate. These checks of your credit are called inquiries and they are recorded on your credit report. Having too many inquiries on your report can hurt you, because potential creditors may view a large amount of inquiries as a risk, since it may indicate you are aggressively seeking credit. The good news is that several inquiries in a short period for the same purposes, such as shopping around for an auto loan or a mortgage, are treated as one inquiry.

The final thing that your credit report contains is information on judgments and other adverse financial actions against you. If you declare bankruptcy, lose your house to foreclosure or have collections agencies after you, it will be reported on your credit report. Tax liens, wage garnishments and lawsuit judgments will also probably make it onto your report.

One thing you won`t find on your credit report is your credit score. This is calculated separately and you usually have to pay to get a copy. You can, however, infer whether your score is good or bad based on the information in your credit report.

It`s important to keep track of your credit score and the government makes it easy to do so. Each person is entitled to a free copy of their credit score annually from each of the three main credit bureaus. These are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. There is a website,, where you can do this.

If your credit score is bad, the way to improve it is to correct some of the blemishes on your credit report. If you have late payments or accounts in collections because you are struggling with debt, the experts at can help you formulate a plan to get out of debt.


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