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Home > Consumer Information > Personal Finance > Consumer Credit Bill of Rights > What is a Credit Report?
What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a report on your credit record that is often used as one tool to determine whether additional credit should be given to you. It is a measure of your financial responsibility.

Information in your credit report can affect your ability to get a job, a mortgage loan or other types of loans, a credit card or insurance. To make sure the information in your report is accurate, you may contact one of the three primary credit agencies to obtain a copy of your free annual credit report.



Each request for information on your personal credit history is noted on your credit report; this request is called an "Inquiry."

"Inquiries" usually occur when you are applying for additional credit (e.g., opening an account at a department store or applying for an automobile loan).

If the "Inquiry" has been made within the past 90 days, it is noted on the report to the lending entity. The lending entity wants to know the extent of other credit applications you may have outstanding so it can consider the impact of these potential obligations on your loan application.


Correcting Inaccuracies

If you find listings on your credit report that you wish to question or contest, you may wish to contact the credit agencies directly.

Because these computerized services can make mistakes, the credit agencies have established mechanisms to handle such problems by having consumers start with a telephone call or letter to the credit agency to request either a copy of their credit report or to reinvestigate or correct the items in question.


Who Can See It?

It is significant to note that your credit report may not be given to anyone who does not have a legitimate business need for it. For example, stores to which you are applying for credit may examine your record; curious neighbors may not. Prospective employers may examine your record with your permission.


Fair Credit Reporting Act

For more information regarding this topic you can also refer to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1971 (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.), which governs both credit grantors or those who provide the information that is in a credit report, credit agencies who record the information reported, and businesses who use credit reports.


You are entitled to a FREE Credit Report

It is recommended that you review your credit report at least once a year to make sure there are no errors or that you have not been made the victim of identity theft.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit agencies.

OPRA is a state law that was enacted to give the public greater access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey.
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New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance