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The Different Types of Credit Reports and How They’re Used

Credit Reports 101: Understanding the Basics

When it comes to credit, there are several different types of reports that lenders and creditors use to evaluate your creditworthiness. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of credit reports and how they’re used.

The Big Three: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion

The three main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These agencies collect information on your credit history and use it to generate credit reports that lenders can use to evaluate your creditworthiness.


The largest of the three agencies, Equifax collects data from over 800 sources, including banks, credit card companies, and retailers.


Experian collects data from a variety of sources, including credit cards, mortgages, and loans. They also offer a range of fraud resolution services.


TransUnion collects data from over 100,000 sources, including credit card companies, banks, and retailers. They also offer a range of fraud prevention services.

What’s in a Credit Report?

A credit report contains a wealth of information about your credit history. This includes:

  • Personal information, such as your name and address
  • Payment history, including late payments and missed payments
  • Credit utilization, or the amount of available credit you’re using
  • Length of credit history, including the age of your oldest account and the average age of all your accounts
  • Types of credit used, such as credit cards, mortgages, and loans

How Credit Reports are Used

Lenders use credit reports to evaluate the risk of lending you money. They look at factors like your payment history, credit utilization, and length of credit history to determine whether you’re a reliable borrower.

Credit reports are also used for other purposes, such as:

  • Employment screening: Some employers use credit reports to evaluate job applicants’ financial responsibility.
  • Insurance underwriting: Insurance companies may use credit reports to determine your premiums.
  • Renting or leasing: Landlords may use credit reports to evaluate potential tenants’ financial stability.

Improving Your Credit Report

Want to improve your credit report? Here are a few tips:

  • Pay your bills on time: Late payments can negatively impact your credit score, so make sure to pay all your bills on time, every time.
  • Keep your credit utilization low: Aim to use less than 30% of your available credit to show lenders you can manage your debt responsibly.
  • Monitor your report regularly: Check your credit report regularly to catch any errors or fraudulent activity. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major agencies once a year.


Credit reports play a crucial role in the lending process, and understanding what’s in them and how they’re used can help you make better financial decisions. By monitoring your credit report regularly and taking steps to improve your credit score, you can increase your chances of getting approved for loans and credit at favorable interest rates.