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What's in Your Credit Report?

A credit report contains information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) gather this information and sell it to creditors, employers, insurers, and others. The three major national credit bureaus are: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

As of September 1, 2005, all consumers are eligible to receive a free annual credit report from each of the three major CRAs. The information in your credit report is used to calculate your credit score-a number generally between 300 and 850 that rates how risky a borrower you are. The higher your score, the less risk you pose to creditors.

Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance, or a job as a result of a credit report must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the CRA that provided the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you credit based on the report.