Understanding Credit Reports: A credit report is a factual record of your credit payment history maintained by a credit bureau. It's provided to companies and individuals by credit bureaus for purposes permitted by law, usually to grant you credit.
More than 205 million people in the United States have a credit card, car loan, mortgage, or student loan. Almost every one of them has a credit file. The information in your credit file is obtained directly from the companies you have credit with, as well as from government agencies such as the legal court systems. There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Even though you are in good financial shape, there is a possibility of identity theft or just a simple error in credit reporting that might damage your credit file. The best way to track changes in your credit profile is to purchase a credit monitoring service. Usually the credit monitoring service includes a credit report and updates for 30 days.
Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act:
You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. The copy of your report must contain all of the information in your file at the time of your request.
You have the right to know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year for most purposes, or in the last two years for employment purposes. Any company that denies your application for credit must supply the name and address of the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) they contacted, provided the denial was based on information given by the CRA.
You have the right to a free copy of your credit report when your application for credit is denied because of information supplied by the CRA. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.
If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you should file a dispute with the CRA and with the company that furnished the information to the CRA. Both the CRA and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to investigate your dispute. You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.