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The Importance of Fair Credit Reporting as a Type of Risk Measurement Tool

Have you gone through the experience of applying for a credit card, a loan to purchase a house or car, or a credit line to make some other large acquisition? If the answer is yes, then you’ve pro...

Have you gone through the experience of applying for a credit card, a loan to purchase a house or car, or a credit line to make some other large acquisition? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably had your credit report evaluated by a lending entity because this is a type of risk measurement tool on their part. If your report states you don’t pay your bills on time or you have a huge debt, there is a high possibility of not getting your loan approved—or you just might get it, but you have to pay with a higher interest rate. This is why fair credit reporting is essential. It can have a huge impact on the things you do in your life. It is very important that you make sure your credit report is accurate and you understand how it affects the credit you can get.

Let’s take a quick look on what goes on in the process of credit reporting—what goes in a credit report, who puts all the information and who has access to it. We will discuss the details involved in this single document that can have a pretty huge impact in your life.

A credit report is the accumulation of information on paying your bills and loans, how much credit balance you have available, the amount of your monthly debts and other data that can help a potential lending entity determine if you are a good or bad credit risk.

The report itself doesn’t state if you are a good or bad creditor. It provides potential lending entities to make that decision themselves. It is a risk measurement tool that is used to their advantage. Credit reporting agencies (CRAs), also known as credit bureaus, collect the necessary data from business establishments, lending entities, landlords, etc. and sell this report to businesses or lenders to evaluate your credit application. These lenders base their decisions on different criteria, so having complete and accurate information helps them make the right decision.

These credit reporting agencies have to effectively deal with four groups: their subscribers, the consumers and businesses they report about, their branch office correspondents and the general public. Working effectively with these groups will most certainly keep them happy, and maintaining a good credit standing significantly lowers the business lending risk on the part of the lenders.

Information that should be in your credit report includes:

• Personal identifying information – This includes your name, current and previous addresses, social security number, land telephone and mobile phone numbers, birth date, current and previous employers and if applicable, your spouse’s name as well.

• Credit history – Included are your bills payment history with banks, retails stores, finance companies, mortgage companies and other entities or establishments that have given you credit. It also has information on the details of each account you have such as when it was opened, the type of account, how much credit it includes, your monthly payment, etc. If the account has been closed or the loan has been paid off and when you have missed payments, this is where it appears.

• Public records – These are information readily available from public records which indicates your credit worthiness, tax liens, court judgments and bankruptcies.

• Report inquiries – This section includes all credit granters who have received a copy of your credit report. It also includes all others who were authorized to view it. It also has a list of companies that have received your name and address in order to offer your credit. These companies don't actually see your report, but they get your name if you meet their criteria for an offer of credit, insurance or other product. This is where all of those "pre-approved" credit card offers come from.

• Dispute statements – Your credit report may also include statements disputing information written here. Most credit reporting agencies allow the consumer and the creditor to make statements to report if there is a dispute that needs clearing up.

There are different versions of a credit report depending on the individual or entity requesting this. The consumer version includes all of the above information, including a list of all inquiries for the report. The business version also includes all the above informationFeature Articles, but only puts in the inquiries made by companies with a “permissible purpose.” This means someone with whom you have initiated business.

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Provides risk measurement tools and market insight to the commercial credit industry, collecting real-time loan information from leading U.S. lenders and turning it into actionable intelligence.

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