Information Not Found on Your Credit Reports
No one likes a tattle tale, and at times that is exactly what a credit report may feel like. Credit reports, after all, can tell future lenders and even potential employers all about your financial past, including any mistakes you may have made.
Yet the truth is that your credit reports do not contain a complete picture of your past either. There are certain items which will not appear on your credit reports either due to legal requirements that the information be excluded or because of policy decisions made by the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) themselves.
Here is a look at some of the different types of information which are not found on your credit reports and, as a result, which will never directly impact your credit scores either.
Non-financial public records such as arrest records and criminal records will not show up on your 3 major credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian. Of course, if a prospective employer requests for you to submit to a background check, information about your criminal past may still rise to the surface. Still, at least you do not have to worry about a criminal mistake from your youth haunting you or potentially damaging your credit scores whenever you apply for a loan or credit card account.
Your medical history and even your medical debt (unless an unpaid account has gone into collections) are not included in your credit reports either. Additionally even if an unpaid medical collection does appear on your credit reports information regarding your medical conditions, diagnoses, or treatments must still be excluded in order to protect your right to medical privacy.
Certain Types of Personal Information
While your credit reports are certainly known to contain personal information such as your name, social security number, date of birth, employer, and both past and present addresses, there is at the same time a lot of personal data which is excluded from credit reports as well. For example, you will never see any of the following information included on a credit report: marital status (either past or present), age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, ethnicity, political affiliation, number of dependants, or employment status.
Prepaid Debit Cards
Despite a lot of bad information which you may find circulating around on the internet, the truth is that prepaid debit cards do not appear on your credit reports. As a result, the idea that prepaid debit cards may have the potential to help your credit is a complete myth.
Prepaid cards cannot help you to build your credit, nor do they have any ability to impact your credit scores in any way. Prepaid cards, however, should not be confused with secured credit cards which do generally show up on your credit reports and can impact your credit scores for the positive or negative, depending upon how they are managed.
Income, Salary, and Net Worth
Your salary and information regarding your net worth are also missing from your credit reports. Assets which you own, bank account balances, stock options, IRAs, brokerage accounts, and other wealth related metrics are all excluded as well. Other sources of income such as alimony, child support, and public assistance will not be found on your credit reports either.
Credit reports are designed to provide lenders with a look into how you manage your financial obligations, but they do not give information regarding your income or net worth. When you apply for financing lender may still request information regarding your income and assets in order to determine your payment capacity; however, such information will need to be provided by you, the applicant, directly instead of being made available to the lender on a credit report.
In general information regarding how you manage your utility payments is not included on your credit reports. The exception to this rule commonly occurs if you have an account which went into default and now appears on your credit reports as a collection. You typically will not see monthly electric bills, gas bills, water bills, cable bills, mobile phone bills, or other similar types of monthly utilities on credit reports.
Small dollar loans such as payday loans, title loans, or loans received when you pawn your personal possessions are not included on your 3 major credit reports either. However, just as is the case with utility bills, an exception to this rule may occur if you go into default. When you default on these types of debts they could potentially find their way onto your credit reports in the form of collection accounts.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the chief federal law which governs credit reporting and serves to protect consumers from a variety of unfair practices. One of the most important protections which the FCRA offers you is the fact that the law places strict time limits (aka statutes of limitation) which dictate how long most types of negative information may remain on your credit reports.
Once the FCRA statute of limitation on an account has expired then old, negative information is required to be “purged” from your credit reports immediately. These specific time limits will vary based upon the account type, but in general the majority of negative information must be removed from your credit reports within 7-10 years. Notable exceptions to this rule include defaulted student loans and unpaid tax liens, both of which are legally permitted to remain on your credit reports indefinitely.