Understanding Your Credit Report

The components of a credit report can be broken into four categories:

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Name, Social Security number, address, date of birth and employment information.
  2. Credit Accounts: Credit card, auto loan, mortgage, etc., with specific information such as dates, amounts, a payment history and more.
  3. Credit Inquiries: Authorized check-ins from lenders, employers, etc.
  4. Public Records and Collections: Declaration of bankruptcy or overdue debt that has been sent to collections.
  • Detailed credit reports are compiled by three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
  • Each one may collect different information and use a distinct method of calculating a score. This explains why you may see different scores.
  • The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score is what is used by over 90% of the top lenders and typically ranges from 300 to 850.
  • FICO scores take the information from bureaus and calculate a score by breaking these five categories of credit data into percentages:
  1. Payment history (35%)
  2. Amounts owed (30%)
  3. Length of credit history (15%)
  4. Credit mix (10%)
  5. New credit (10%)

Infographic created by Stein Saks, experts in legally defending against credit reporting errors