Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Credit Report

Depending on how you handle your lines of credit, the decisions you make during college can have a positive or negative impact on your financial future. Your financial decisions are recorded in your credit report, which is used to generate your credit score. Your credit report and score can affect loan and credit card approval and interest rates, a landlord’s decision to rent an apartment or house to you, a company’s decision to allow you to start a new phone plan, and in some cases, employers use credit reports to make hiring decisions.

Credit Report video

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a record of your personal credit history from the past 7-10 years, including:

  • Personal information. Compiled from credit applications you've filled out, this information normally includes your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth, and current and previous employers.

  • Credit history. The bulk of your credit report consists of details about credit accounts that were opened in your name or that list you as an authorized user. Account details include the date the account was opened, credit limit or amount of the loan, payment terms, balance, and payment history.

  • Credit report inquiries. Credit reporting agencies record an inquiry whenever your credit report is shown to another party, such as a lender, service provider, landlord, or insurer. Inquiries remain on your credit report for up to two years.

  • Public records. Matters of public record obtained from government sources, such as courts of law (including liens, bankruptcies, and overdue child support) may appear on your credit report. Most public record information stays on your credit report for 7 years.

A credit report does not include information about your checking or savings accounts, bankruptcies more than 10 years old, charged-off or debts placed for collection that are more than seven years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history, or criminal records.

Who Can View Your Credit Report?

Anyone with a permissible purpose can view your report, including:

  • Potential lenders

  • Landlords

  • Insurance companies

  • Employers and potential employers

  • Companies you allow to monitor your credit report for signs of identity theft

  • Groups considering your application for a government license or benefit

  • A state or local child support enforcement agency

  • Any government agency

  • Someone who uses your credit report to provide a product or service you have requested

  • Someone who has your written authorization to obtain your credit report

Accessing Your Credit Report

Credit reports should be checked at least once per year to ensure accuracy and monitor for identity fraud. You may access one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus each year (totaling three free credit reports per year). Request your free credit report online at AnnualCreditReport.com or directly from one of the three major credit reporting agencies:


Resources

  • myFICO provides informational resources to help you understand your credit report.