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10 Things You Won’t Find on a Credit Report
Your credit reports can tell lenders a lot about you. Credit reports reveal how you pay your bills, whether on-time or late. They also indicate how you manage your credit card accounts, such as whether you’re paying off the balance each month or revolving debt. And, your credit reports even show how often you’ve applied for new credit in the past 24 months.
Of course, not everything about you will be included in your credit reports. Certain information isn’t allowed to be included on a credit report because of federal law. Other information isn’t on your credit reports by a matter of choice. Here are 10 pieces of information you won’t find on your credit reports.
Credit Scores (Yes, Really)
While the information in your credit report is used to compute your credit score, and though you or a lender may often purchase a credit report and a score together, your credit scores are not actually a part of your credit reports. Instead, credit scores are a separate evaluation of the information contained in your credit reports. They’re an ancillary product; much like the leather interior in a new car, they are optional.
Deposit Account Balances
Your checking and savings accounts balances are not a part of the information included in your credit reports. As such, whether you have $1,000,000 in the bank or $1, neither fact will have any direct impact upon your credit scores. Other wealth building or “nest egg” accounts — such as money market, 401(k), SEP, and brokerage accounts — are also not on your credit reports.
Just as your bank accounts will not show up on your credit reports, neither will your salary, earnings, or net worth. There was a day, several decades ago, when salary information was a part of consumer credit reports. However, the information was not updated like normal credit accounts and, therefore, became outdated and incorrect fairly quickly. Further, most people don’t have a precisely static salary because of things like bonuses, promotions, stock options, fluctuating hours, or overtime pay. As such, it’s hard to report a single number and accurately call that your salary.
Although a list of past and present employers might appear on your credit reports, your actual employment status is another piece of information that’s missing from your credit reports. For example, my current employer on one of my credit reports is “student,” which is outdated by about 27 years.
Your Spouse’s Credit History
A common credit myth is that once you get married your spouse’s information will show up on your credit reports. However, this is incorrect. Credit reports are maintained at the individual consumer level and not at the household level or “married” level. The only way your spouse’s credit information will show up on your credit reports is if you’re a co-obligor of some type.
While your credit reports contain all kinds of information, past and present, about your various loans and credit card accounts, surprisingly, the interest rates you pay on those loans and accounts are not included in your credit reports.
Most of Your Utility Accounts
Unfortunately, your on-time utility payments will generally not be reflected on your credit reports and, by extension, will not help your credit scores. In general the only time information about your utility accounts will show up on your credit reports is if you default and the debt is handed over to a collection agency.
Some types of public records may appear on your credit reports, but criminal records do not fall into this category.
Nontraditional or Private Loans
Loans made by nontraditional lenders, such as pawn brokers, and private money loans, don’t typically show up on your credit report. And if you borrow money from your good-ol’ Uncle John, that doesn’t show up either.
Outdated Negative Information
The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates how long most types of negative information are permitted to appear on your credit reports. In general, either seven or 10 years is the limit, depending on the type of information.
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- Why it’s Important to Check Your Credit Report With All Three Credit Bureaus
John Ulzheimer is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. He has written four books on the topic and has been interviewed and quoted thousands of times over the past 10 years. With time spent at Equifax and FICO, Ulzheimer is the only credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. He has been an expert witness in over 230 credit related lawsuits and has been qualified to testify in both federal and state courts on the topic of consumer credit.