Understanding a Credit Report

The mortgage underwriting process involves pulling a copy of your credit report to verify the information you have provided in the application. If you are lender does so, you may be required to pay a fee either at the time of application or at closing. Besides, every credit enquiry must be mentioned on your credit report, which may have a negative impact on your credit standing.

What is a credit report?

A credit report is simply a document that contains information on money you have borrowed from credit institutions, your payment history, and whether you have ever gone through the process of bankruptcy. Besides, it also contains information about the lenders who ordered it for credit verification, a loan processing step.

What is a credit bureau?

A credit bureau is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of borrowers’ credit reports. The three most well-known credit reporting agencies in the U.S. are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Here are the details to contact these institutions.

Credit Bureaus Phone Numbers Websites
Equifax (800) 685-1111 www.equifax.com
TransUnion (800) 888-4213 www.transunion.com
 Experian (888) 397-3742 www.experian.com

Can I get to see my credit report?

Yes, you can order a free credit report every year from any of these credit institutions. You are entitled to receive a copy of your reports from each of these institutions annually for free.

How can I order my free copy of credit report?

To order your free annual report, you can do any of the following:

  1. Visit the website www.annualcreditreport.com to request online
  2. Call the phone number (877) 322-8228
  3. Send your request by mail, completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form found at annualcreditreport.com. The mailing address is as follows:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

What does my credit report contain?

The following are some of the items you will see on your credit report.

  • A list of debts, such as student loans, credit cards, auto loans, and departmental store credit cards
  • Your payment history, showing information on late payments, defaults and delinquencies
  • A history of how you have paid your utility bills and other charges due on you, such as medical bills
  • Information related to tax liens
  • Information related to bankruptcies, foreclosures and similar such financial disasters
  • Inquiries made about your creditworthiness, including information whether you were given credit based upon the inquiry.

Who will have to pay the fee if my lender orders copies of my credit report?

You will be paying the credit report fee. Some lenders charge it at the time of application, calling it the application fee. Others include it in the settlement costs that you pay at the time of closing.

Why should I get a copy of my credit report before my lender does?

You must ensure that no errors exist in your credit report, getting a copy of the same before a lender can order it and fixing any issues that might need your intervention. You may also want to check your credit score, which is based on your credit report; however you may have to pay a fee for that.

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