Four Major Categories of Information That Appear on a Credit Report

Four Major Categories of Information That Appear on a Credit Report
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Your credit score can determine the credit card interest rate you may qualify for, help a prospective employer make a hiring decision on your behalf, help you qualify for a rental or get your utilities connected without a deposit. A credit report consists of several categories of data that, combined, give the lender or credit company the best indicator of your financial health and how likely you are to repay your debts.

Payment History

Every payment you make–or miss–on your credit card debt or loans is recorded on your credit score and archived to cover the past seven to 10 years. According to Bankrate, your lender reports this information to the credit agencies each month. If you are late, your credit report shows the number of late payments for each debt. If you have bankruptcies, judgments, liens or other negative marks on your credit history, it shows up in this category and can negatively affect your credit score for up to 10 years.

Amounts Owed

This category details the portion of your available credit you are using. If your credit lines are maxed out, this can damage your credit score. According to Jamison Law Group, the credit scoring software that determines your score likes to see that you carry small credit card balances. Ideally, try to use a maximum of 10 percent of your total credit card limit. If you can transfer balances to spread the debt over several cards, you may see your credit score rise.

Age of Your Accounts

How long you have held onto your accounts with a successful history of repayment is another piece of the picture in determining your credit worthiness. The older your accounts, the better the score; that's why it's important to not close your credit card accounts. This category takes into consideration the age of your credit cards and the average age of credit cards on your credit report. Every time you apply for and open a new account, the age of your credit is lowered.

Inquiries

Numerous credit inquiries for new credit cards within a short period of time is another determining factor of your credit. According to MyFICO.com, if you open several credit cards simultaneously, your credit score can suffer because this equates with higher risk. Most scores are not negatively affected by numerous inquiries from car, home or student loan lenders, as these are treated as single instances or inquiries.