Every person who has some kind of credit – a personal loan from a bank or a micro- lender; an account at a clothing or furniture store; or a car loan– has a Credit Report that is maintained by a credit bureau like TransUnion. Many of your financial behaviours and habits are reflected in your Credit Report and this can have a huge impact on your life: it can help you to obtain more credit when you need it; or it can work against you if it shows that you may not be a good “credit risk”. When you apply for credit from any bank, retail store or other credit provider, the provider will ask a credit bureau like TransUnion for your credit report. The credit provider will then use the information in your Credit Report to score your creditworthiness and decide, based on their own criteria, whether or not to grant you credit. Here’s how your Credit Report works: Almost all institutions with which you have credit – the banks, the shops at which you have accounts; the cellphone, Internet or satellite TV company where you have a contract - send details about how you pay your account to the credit bureaus every month. This information is compiled into what’s known as your payment profile or account history. This is a 24-month log that shows all the accounts that you pay in full and on time (what can be classified by the credit provider as “good credit behaviour”), as well as any late payments or skipped payments (which may make the credit provider score you less favourably). It will also show any defaults – this relates to late payment or non-payment of your account/s. And it will also show where and how often you have applied for credit in the past 24-months. So, if you are shopping around for credit, the credit provider who is evaluating your latest application will know. Different types of negative listings remain on your Credit Report for different lengths of time – from one year for not paying an account on time and in full every month, to five years for having a court judgment against you. As you can see, your Credit Report is a very important document and you need to check it to ensure that it accurately reflects the way you manage your debt. If it doesn’t, there are steps you can take – at no cost - to rectify it with a credit bureau. Check your credit report today with TransUnion!