Repair Your Credit

Learn about credit
reports, how to repair inaccuracies and where
to order your credit

When you apply for a personal loan,
credit card, or mortgage, your lender usually orders a report that
contains information about your credit file. This allows them to
look at other personal information in addition to the data you’ve
already supplied them in the credit application.

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is simply a document that outlines your credit
history. The report contains details of your last residence,
employment history, payment history, whether you’ve declared
bankruptcy, and other personal information relative to your

Credit reports are made available by what’s known as a
"consumer reporting agencies" and the most common type
is a credit bureau. By collecting important personal financial
data, they make your credit history available to lenders, credit
card companies, insurance companies, department stores, employers
[with your consent], mortgage companies, and even landlords.

Credit bureaus make a profit by collecting and selling your
personal information. They comb public records to see if you have
any previous foreclosures, tax liens, or court judgments against
you. They combine this information with your payment habits to
form a summary of your credit history. Creditors or lenders then
evaluate your report and determine if you meet the right criteria
to qualify. 

When should I check it?

Your ability to get a loan or other credit rests on the accuracy
of this report – so it’s recommended that you get a copy of your
report at least once a year to make sure your credit information
is correct.

Generally, if you’re thinking of buying a new home, car, or maybe
applying for a new credit card, taking a peek at your credit
report beforehand isn’t such a bad idea. As a matter of fact, it
will give you an opportunity to correct mistakes or at least
lighten the amount of damage that could be done to your credit.

How do I order a credit report?

You can get a copy of your credit report from one of the three
major credit bureaus listed below.

Your report will usually include the following: credit inquiries,
bankruptcies, payment history, previous creditors, credit account
information, personal identifying information, and any other
information related to your credit history. The pricing per copy
is variable, depending on the reporting agency.

If you’ve
1)  been denied credit because of information in your credit
     (request within 60 days of denial)
2)  you receive public assistance
3)  you’re unemployed and intend to apply for a job
4)  your report is inaccurate due to fraud
5)  you’re a resident of a qualified state, or
6)  you haven’t requested a copy in the previous 12 months,
you may
     be entitled to a free copy of your credit

Include the following with your request:

Full name (including Jr., Sr., II)
Spouse’s first name (if married)
Social security number
Current and previous addresses within the last five years
Current employment information
Telephone number (home)
Date of birth
Any fees

Credit Bureaus

Contact each of the three major
credit bureaus:


To order your report, call: 800-685-1111
or write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

report fraud, call: 800-525-6285 and write:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call
the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your


To order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
or write: P.O. Box 2002, Allen TX 75013

report fraud, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
or write: P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013
TDD: 1-800-972-0322

Union –

To order your report, call: 800-8884213
or write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022

report fraud, call: 800-680-7289 and write:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
TDD: 1-877-553-7803

There are also a number of smaller bureaus or "local
affiliates" who can retrieve your credit report. They receive
information from one of the major bureaus listed above.

We recommend these online agencies: