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Credit Reports

A credit report is a detailed summary of your bill-paying history and the current status of your credit accounts. It serves as a record of a borrower's credit history and comes from several sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments. Most all Americans have a credit report. Typically, once you turn 18 and start to enter the banking and credit world, you will automatically have a file established for you.

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It's important to check your credit reports regularly to ensure that your personal and financial information is accurate. It also helps to make sure no one has opened fraudulent accounts in your name. Mistakes on your credit report could hurt your credit history and credit score, so check them regularly. 

If you find something wrong in your credit report, you may contact both the credit reporting company and the creditor that provided the information. Explain what you think is wrong and why. Include copies of documents that support your dispute. Your credit reports will come with instructions on how to dispute mistakes.

What's on a Credit Report?

There are four basic categories of information within a credit report:

Identifying Information

This includes your personally identifiable information. Your full name, current and previous addresses, social security number, year of birth, and current and past employers.

Credit Information

This includes information about any credit accounts you have. Details include account open date, all or part of the account number, credit limit or loan amount, co-signers of the loan, and payment history. Credit information about closed accounts remains on your credit report for 10 years. An exception is negative accounts, which are removed after 7 years.

Recent Inquiries

This is a listing of companies and individuals who requested a copy of the report in the past two years. Inquiries are listed as voluntary or involuntary, depending on whether your actions created the inquiry.

Public Record Information

This information is generated from transactions recorded by local, state, and federal governments. It can include property purchases, liens, bankruptcies, foreclosures, court judgments, and divorces. A completed Chapter-13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven years; a completed Chapter-7 stays for a decade; criminal convictions may remain on it indefinitely.

How do I Access my Credit Report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. is the only authorized source under federal law that provides free credit reports from the three major reporting companies. Go to or call 1.877.322.8228 and request it.

You can view your FICO® Score for free through your USSFCU online bank portal!

Learn How >>

Additional Learning Resources

Free Credit Reports

This guide from the Federal Trade Commission provides detailed information about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

Free Credit Reports

Understanding Your Credit Report

This guide from our partners at GreenPath provides information on understanding credit reports, building good credit habits, and even some common credit myths.

Understanding Your Report

Check Your Report Once a Year 

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection offers information on checking and monitoring your credit, what to look for and what to do if you find an error.

Check Once a Year

Credit Reports & Scores

Gain knowledge, frameworks, and confidence to make better-informed credit-related decisions with this short, interactive learning course from USSFCU's Best Life Center.

Begin Lesson

The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of third-party information.

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