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What's in a Credit Report?

A credit report contains a consumer's history of loan payments, including those for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans. It is used by lenders to judge whether to grant additional credit to consumers, and at what rate. It is not the same as a credit score, which takes the information contained in a credit report and distills it into a three-digit number. Credit scores are not included in the credit report, and must be purchased from the credit bureaus or from Fair, Isaac Corp., the company that produces the widely used FICO score.

In addition, your credit report lists any recent inquiries made about your credit history. Every time you apply for a loan or credit card and the lender requests a copy of your credit report, that inquiry is noted in your credit history. Too many recent inquiries may lead the lender to conclude that you have a pressing need for credit. This can count against you in their decision.

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