Sources of Credit Information
Credit Reports are collections of all the information regarding a person's history of credit placed into a single document. These reports are mainly used by lenders when evaluating new applicants for credit, although some other companies use them to assist in related financial application processes.
Credit Bureaus (the companies that provide credit reports) are not the companies that are responsible for the information in your credit report. There are three main sources for information in credit reports, and the credit bureaus simply collect and report on that information. The three sources for information are companies you've done business with, the government, and you.
Information from Companies
The majority of information on your credit report comes directly from companies that you've done business with. Any of your account specific information like payment history, account balances, open dates, and inquiries are reported to the credit bureaus on a regular basis by these companies.
Many people don't know that this is also where the credit bureaus get information like your name, your address, and your date of birth. When you fill out an application for a new account, or update your information with an existing account (like when you move), the company updates their internal records and then sends that update to the credit bureaus as well.
Information from the Government
Sometimes, people have debts to the government or debts that the government has intervened with. Most people don't ever experience this, but it does happen. These accounts are referred to as Public Records There are three types of these accounts: Bankruptcies, Tax Liens, and Civil Judgments. In these cases, the government will update your credit report.
Information from You
Your credit report is a history of your financial decisions and activities as reported by companies and the government; however you have the right to correct any mistakes these companies make. To learn more about correcting mistakes on your credit report, review our Credit Report Dispute Guide.