Being able to read and understand your credit report is absolutely critical to managing a healthy credit score. Your credit report contains all the details used in tabulating your credit score and allows you to ensure that your credit score is accurately reflecting your borrowing habits. The three major credit reporting agencies each keep a separate credit report for you based on the information provided to them by your creditors. As a result, each credit reporting agency will provide a different score for you based on their available information. So you need to be sure you are checking on all three credit agencies reports for you.

Your credit report includes vital information like credit account information including open dates, balances, monthly payments and thorough payment history. It also includes public record information like bankruptcies, tax liens and other items related to borrowing responsibility. You’ll also find a record of all companies and agencies that have requested access to view your credit report.

All these factors play into your overall credit score. Items on your credit report stay on your credit report for a varying number of years, so its important to keep track of when a missed payment or bankruptcy should be expunged from your record.