More For Your Money - University of Illinois Extension

What's In Your Report?

A credit bureau compiles your credit report.  It is based on information reported regularly by retailers and creditors who have issued you credit.  Landlords, lenders, potential employers, and even insurance companies use your credit report.  They want to know your credit worthiness - how reliable and responsible you are in paying your bills and handling your debt.

Your report contains the following information about you:

Personal Information

  • Your name, spouse’s name, Social Security number, birth date
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Current and previous employers
  • Comes from your past credit applications


  • An overview of your accounts and credit profile
  • Use to compare information from all three credit bureaus

Account History

  • An account record all of your creditors - credit cards, installment and mortgage loans, and other sources
  • Includes date opened, amount, balance, monthly payment and payment pattern going back several years
  • Shows how much credit you have and how you’ve repaid your debts – on time or past due
  • Includes if you have a payment plan or arrangement with a creditor, if the account was turned over for foreclosure or repossession or if it was in collection
  • Creditors are especially interested in your last 24 months of payment history.  This helps them predict how you will pay in the future.
  • Can stay on your report for up to 7 years 

Public Record Information

  • Bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax liens, monetary judgments, court ordered alimony and child support, garnishment
  • Bankruptcy information can stay on your report for up to 10 years

Inquiry Information

  • Shows who asked for your credit report within the past two years.
  • Pre-approved offers and on-going inquiries from companies that you do business with will not affect your credit score. 
  • Filling out too many credit applications can have harmful affects on your credit score.
  • It’s wise not to have more than six inquiries a year.

Consumer Statement

  • Can attach up to 100 word statement to your report.
  • Can explain a change in your payment history –for example, why you were late making payments.
  • Only mortgage lenders review the consumer statement.

Alert Messages

  • Military alert or fraud alert from being a victim of identity theft.
  • Fraud alert is good for 90 days and can be extended for seven years.

To learn more information about credit reports and to see a sample credit report, click on: