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Questions About Your Credit Rating

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • lists credit grantors or authorized users who have accessed your credit file
  • inquiries posted to credit file so you know who has obtained a copy of it
  • credit grantors inquire before offering pre-approval credit card application
  • only your name and address available, not your credit history information
  • not sent to credit grantors or businesses for reasons of credit reporting
  • listed for your informational purposes only


  • includes identifying information, employment, and items of public record
  • includes your credit info and list of credit inquiries
  • does not include race, religion, health, or income
  • does not include driving record, criminal record, or political preference


  • you can dispute the completeness and accuracy of information in your file
  • when a credit reporting agency receives a dispute, it must re-investigate
  • must record the status of the disputed items in a "reasonable period of time"
  • unless it believes the dispute is "frivolous or irrelevant"
  • if the credit reporting agency cannot verify a disputed item, it must delete it
  • if your report contains erroneous information, the agency must correct it
  • if an item is incomplete, the credit reporting agency must complete it


  • may offer further explanation for items in your credit file
  • loss of job, military call-up, unexpected medical bills, etc.
  • you may send a brief statement to the appropriate credit reporting agency
  • placed in your credit file and disclosed each time profile is accessed


  • federal law regulating credit reporting companies
  • in effect since 1971 -- revised FCRA became effective October 1, 1997
  • protects your right to review and contest information in your credit profiles
  • defines who can access your information and how you are notified


  • divorce decree does not supercede the original contract with the creditor
  • does not release you from legal responsibility on any accounts
  • contact each creditor individually and seek legal release of your obligation
  • only after that release can your credit history be updated accordingly


  • beware of companies offering to remove accurate information from your file
  • accurate information cannot be removed from a credit file
  • nothing you can't do yourself by contacting credit reporting agencies directly
  • only time will heal a delinquent credit history


  • provides information about consumers
  • helps you make purchases, secure loans, manage finances, etc.
  • makes it possible for stores to accept your checks
  • allows banks to offer credit and debit cards
  • helps businesses to market products
  • a tool for corporations to better manage their operations


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