Rebuilding Credit FAQ

Where do credit reports and credit data come from?

Credit reports are compiled by credit bureaus -- private, for-profit companies that gather information about your credit history and sell it to any number of businesses that are allowed to see your credit report: banks, mortgage lenders, credit unions, credit card companies, department stores, insurance companies, landlords, and employers.

The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Credit bureaus get most of their data from creditors. They also search court records for lawsuits, judgments, and bankruptcy filings. And they search county records to find recorded liens (legal claims).

Credit reports include noncredit data too, such as current and former names, past and present addresses, Social Security number, employment history, and even marriages and divorces. Your report will include the names of your creditors, type and number of each account, when each account was opened, your payment history, your credit limit or the original amount of a loan, and your current balance. If an account has been turned over to a collection agency or is in dispute, that will appear in the report as well.

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