7 Items Not on Your Credit Report That Still Matter
Your credit report essentially serves as a record of your credit history and financial activity. It conveys whether you make timely payments on your debts — and whether that was the case several years ago as well.
Lenders report your credit history to any or all of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, which then create a file on you known as a credit report. Future lenders then use this report to decide whether they want to grant you access to more credit. Your credit report can be the key differentiator in whether you get a new line of credit, student loan, home mortgage, auto financing or perhaps even a new job. However, there are also a number of factors that do not appear on your credit report that can still have a big impact on your personal finances.
What is on your credit report
Your credit report includes personal information like the last four digits of your Social Security number, a list of your previous addresses and any employment data that has been reported. It also includes public records related to your financial accounts, such as any bankruptcies. Information about your credit accounts, including when the accounts were opened and payments made, is listed as well. Your credit report also includes a record of the companies that request access to your report.
7 items not on your credit report that still matter
While all items on your credit report are important, there are other important factors that can also impact your personal finances. These factors can contribute to everything from the types of bank accounts you can open to your life insurance policies and even employment opportunities. Below are some key examples.
Bank account history. Your credit report doesn’t list bank account history like bounced checks or uncollected overdraft fees, but these things can matter to your credit history. Special reporting agency ChexSystems, for example, tracks your closed checking and savings accounts. It also keeps tabs on your banking activity, and this includes things like bounced checks and even check orders that have been placed over the past five years. It takes five years for negative marks — such as bounced checks, overdraft fees and overdrafting too frequently — to disappear from your ChexSystems report. Banks can see this information and can deny you a new account because of it.
Utility bill payments. In the near future, Experian may allow consumers to boost their credit score by linking their cellphone and utility bills to their credit report. But for now, that information isn’t included on your credit report. That said, if you don’t pay your utility bill and it gets turned over to a collection agency, this will have a negative impact on your credit.
Eviction notices. ChexSystems keeps a record of the number of evictions and how many months ago an eviction was recorded. So before you decide to skimp on your rent, think twice about what a future eviction notice could do not only in the short term but in the long term as well.
Criminal records. Arrests and misdemeanors do not appear on your credit report, but those with a criminal record could have a hard time getting a loan from a bank. Once banks see that you have committed a criminal offense, they could reject you. This could also hurt your chances of getting a new job or renting an apartment or home.
Unpaid taxes. Currently, the IRS does not report tax debt to credit bureaus. In the past, tax liens have appeared on credit reports, but they were removed in 2018. However, lenders can still find this public information and can decide not to grant you access to credit based on it.
Medical history. If you’re applying for an individual life, long-term care or disability insurance policy, financial institutions could look up your medical conditions and prescription drug history. While this isn’t included on a credit report, the information could impact the terms of policies.
Driving record. A clean driving record could make an impact on your personal finances, from an employer looking up your record if driving is a part of your job responsibilities to auto and home insurance companies weighing which policies and rates to offer you. Typically, auto and home insurance companies will look up your driving record, including traffic violations, claims and property losses, when determining which types of policies you might qualify for.
While your credit report is a key factor in determining which types of credit you qualify for, it is not the only record that matters. Things both in and out of your control can have an impact on your financial profile, from keeping up to date on taxes to your medical history. It’s important to identify which of these factors are in your control and to do your part to make sure they reflect positively on your financial image.