Personal Credit File FAQs Answered

Your personal credit file contains information regarding your financial history. If you have a high credit score, you have paid your bills on time and successfully managed your finances. If, on the other hand, your credit score is low, you may have mismanaged your finances and/or been a victim of identity theft. Individuals with a low credit score often have difficulty getting loans, credit cards, mortgages, or other life necessities, because they are considered “high risk.”

How Do I Check My Credit File?

Since banks, businesses, and credit providers check your credit score to determine if they should lend money to you, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on your personal credit file, as well. Most people check their credit score once a year. There are several online companies that provide free detailed credit reports.

What Information Does a Credit File Include?

Your personal credit profile contains information on past and current financial accounts, including:

  • account histories, including overdue payments
  • loan and mortgage information
  • when and why you applied for credit in the past
  • companies who have inquired about your credit history
  • filed bankruptcies
  • tax liens
  • court judgments
  • total available credit
  • personal information (e.g. name, birth date, employment history, phone number, Social Security number, and past and present addresses)
How Can I Improve My Credit Score?

Maintaining a high credit score depends on several factors, including:
  • being financially responsible and paying your bills in full and on time
  • never ignoring bills or overdue payment letters
  • ensuring that all of your closed or open accounts are in good standing
  • ensuring that the personal information on your credit file is correct and up-to-date
Why Was I Declined Credit?

If you are ever denied credit, it is important to understand why. A creditor judges your credit-worthiness based on your personal credit file. You may be denied credit if you have an overdue or defaulted account for which you did not make payments. You may also be rejected if your credit file includes inaccurate personal information, or if you have a history of bankruptcy or court judgments.

If you believe you were wrongly denied credit, or that your personal credit file includes incorrect or out-of-date information, contact your credit agency immediately to correct the issue(s).
How Can I Prevent Identity Theft?

Identity theft means that one’s personal and financial details were stolen and used for unapproved purposes. Here’s how to protect yourself from identity theft:
  • Shred or file all personal documents containing private information, such as bank statements or tax documents.
  • Immediately contact your bank in the event of a misplaced or stolen credit or debit card.
  • Never share your PIN (Personal Identification Number) or online banking password.
  • Check your personal credit file at least once a year.
  • Contact the police immediately if you suspect identity theft.

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