Financial Education: Your Credit
What is a Credit Report? |
How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report |
How to Read a Credit Report |
Build and Repairing Credit |
Credit Reporting Agencies
Lenders generally check your credit report to decide whether to offer you a loan.
The lender uses companies called credit reporting agencies. There are three major
credit reporting agencies. They are:
Credit Reporting Agencies
P.O. Box 740241
1150 Lake Hearn Drive
Atlanta, GA 30374
701 Experian Parkway
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013-0036
Two Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Credit reporting agencies receive information from a variety of creditors, usually
monthly, about whether you and other customers are making loan payments on time.
Information about bankruptcy filings, court-ordered judgments, tax liens and other
public record information is collected by agencies from courthouse records.
Here is an example of three potential borrowers, each with a different credit history.
If you were the lender, determine which borrower you would consider to be the most
Bob has been working for several years and has never applied for a loan. Bob has
no credit history.
Michael has been working for several years. He has been late on making his car payments
and recently stopped paying on them altogether. There is a tax lien on his house.
David has been working for several years. He took out a car loan last year. He has
been making the payments on time and has a good credit history.
Based on this information alone, if you were a banker, which applicant poses the
Both Bob and Michael would be considered risky. Michael has a poor credit record
and has not paid his loans. Bob, on the other hand, has no history, so we don't
know what kind of borrower he would be.
The credit report is an important factor, but not the only consideration in making
a credit decision.
Lenders might use a credit score to help decide whether to make a loan. A credit
score is a tool that helps lenders assess your credit risk. The score is based on
information contained in your credit report.
Keep in mind that credit reporting agencies do not make credit
decisions. Credit reporting agencies simply report the information provided by creditors.
This information helps lenders make loan decisions.
Lenders have different requirements for approving loans. Their decision might be
based on other factors such as:
• Length of Residence
Your credit report can also be viewed by other organizations with a legitimate business
need. For example, your employer, insurance agent, or apartment manager can view
your credit report. A poor credit history might affect your ability to get a job,
be approved for insurance, or rent an apartment.