What is Credit Report? | Definition and Credit Report Format

Credit Report is an individual’s record of repaying debt and history managing. Usually, companies and lenders use this report to decide whether they will do business with you or not. They also use this report to verify a person’s identity, calculate their credit score, etc.


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These reports are made by the Credit Bureau. This report also includes information about your current debts, the previous record of when and how you paid your bills, and the time period of you managing your credit accounts.

Credit Reports provides an insight into the credit companies and lenders about how you are managing your borrowings and credit repayments in the past. This will help the lenders to decide whether they will grant you the loan or not.

Equifax, TransUnion and Experian are the three top Credit Bureaus in the United States. They provide a free Credit Report to the customers once in a year.

Credit Report Sections

Credit Reports are stored by the National Credit Bureaus in an electronic file format. It is a presentation of the stored data of the individuals. The information stored in different credit bureaus are the same, however, each bureau has its own way of formatting and storing the credit reports data.

Lets talk about how Experian presents their credit report.

There are four categories in which they divide their report; Personal Information, Accounts, Inquires and Public Records.

Personal Information

This sections consists of:

  • A person’s full name. It also includes multiple variations that a person could have used while he/she was applying for credit (surname change after divorce or marriage, full name including middle name or initials or vice versa).
  • Current address or the address provided while opening the credit accounts.
  • Credit took in a partnership with another person in the past.
  • Past and current employees names


This section consists of:

  1. Record of all credit card accounts and open loans. Information on monthly credit payments of all the accounts for the past 7 years which also includes details about whether the payments were initiated before or after the due date. The late repayments will be shown in the reports including the days the person took to pay the bill after the due date was passed.
  2. Closed credit card accounts that are closed either by the issuer or the card user and other accounts which includes information of past paid off loans. For 10 years the details about these accounts will be shown on the credit reports even if they are closed and the payment history will be visible for 7 years.


This section consists of the record of requests made by the companies for a person’s credit score or credit report. This information will be available for up to 2 years on the credit report. Inquires section has two sub-sections; Soft inquires and Hard inquires.

  1. Soft Inquiries are requested when this report is used to check their own credit or credit pre-qualification.
  2. Hard Inquiries occur to check credit regarding applications regarding new credit.

Public Records

This section consists of details if the person has filed for bankruptcy. The filing details and its opening & closing status will be visible in the credit report for up-to 10 years.


  1. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1719116
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-6606.2006.00066.x
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