Millions of Americans May Have Credit File Problems
About Your Credit Report
(Excerpted from the Do-It-Yourself
Credit File Correction Guide
Written by Paul S. Richard, and published by the ICFE)
What is a credit report (also known as a credit file
It is a written report, (stored in computers) comprised of the following
information about your personal credit worthiness and debt repayment history.
- (1) Identification by name, addresses, spouse's name,
date of birth, Social Security number, telephone number, place of employment,
mothers maiden name etc. etc.
- (2) Credit Inquiries - every time a subscriber (credit
provider) runs a credit report on a consumer, a record of the file inquiry
is made. It will remain on the file in most states for one or two years.
This is of interest to creditors because it reveals recent credit activity.
- (3) Information in public records and collection
accounts are also collected by (or reported) to these agencies. Public
records include courthouse records, bankruptcies, judgments, lawsuits,
- (4) Credit History - which includes the name and
ID number of each subscriber who makes a report and your credit/debt
repayment history. Also included is the date an account was opened,
credit limits, current balance, monthly payment amount and payment frequency
for the last 12-24 months. Records are dated with each request or entry.
Other information includes, but is not limited to, consumer disputes,
criminal convictions, individual liability or joint liability of accounts,
co-maker or guarantor of payment on a certain account, secured accounts
and charge offs -when a creditor has reported an unpaid balance as a
- (5) Consumer Statements - a statement - not to exceed
100 words - regarding any account(s) an individual may wish to more
accurately and completely explain - often very helpful to credit decisions.
When is a credit file created? Usually
when you make application for a loan or credit card, or when a party who
extended credit makes a report to their credit reporting service on your
Who can legally look at my credit report? Credit reporting
agency subscribers comprised of banks and merchants etc., may not access
an individual's credit record unless authorized. This authorization is
standard procedure when you sign credit and loan applications, life insurance
applications, employment applications, security clearance requests , etc.
Read the fine print on the applications for more details.
How often should I look at my credit report? If you are
actively using credit - using one or more credit cards with monthly or
bimonthly charge activity, have installment loan(s), vehicle lease, etc.
review your credit file every nine to twelve months, otherwise once every
15 months is adequate.
What if you need help? Avoid any type of credit doctor,
credit repair firm or service. Do-it-yourself instead. It is easy and
inexpensive. Don't pay more than $10 which is the cost of the
Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Do-It- Yourself
Credit File Correction Guide, Y2K+ Edition, just released.
The ICFE Guide has instructions, sample letters to smooth communications
with the credit reporting agencies, credit file request forms and a listing
of the major credit reporting agencies.
For More Information contact:
Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Executive Director
Paul S. Richard at: (619) 239-1401
Credit File Correction Guide", Copyright 2006.
All Rights Reserved by Paul S. Richard
PO Box 34070. San Diego, CA. 92163-4070