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Credit History: Understanding your Credit History

Provided by Visa, Content Partner for the SME Toolkit


To get a glimpse of your financial future, many businesses look at your financial past. This history is contained in your credit report. Your credit report determines everything from qualifying for a loan, the rate you'll pay on that loan, getting a new job, renting an apartment and obtaining car insurance.

What Is a Credit History?
Your credit history is a financial profile. It lets lenders, landlords and employers know how you have managed money in the past and helps them decide whether or not to do business with you. This history is contained in a credit report that is kept on file by credit bureaus. It may include such information as:

  • How promptly you have paid off credit cards and loans
  • How well you have handled paying other bills, such as rent and utilities
  • Your total outstanding debts
  • How much available credit you have on credit cards and home equity loans

Who Can See Your Credit Report?
Your credit report can and most likely will be reviewed by anyone planning to give you a loan or credit, such as banks and credit unions, credit card issuers, auto financing companies, and insurance companies. Your report also may be checked by landlords and potential employers. Some lenders may also use the details in your report to determine how much credit they are willing to offer you and at what rate. Anyone with a legitimate business need can access your credit report, though an employer (or prospective employer) typically requires your written consent to do so.

How to Keep My Credit Score Strong?

  • Complete credit applications carefully and accurately.
  • Use your credit cards responsibly and don’t let them reach their limit or spend beyond your means.
  • Attempt to pay your credit card balance in full each month, but at least make the minimum payment by the due date.
  • Always pay bills on time.
  • If you have problems paying your bills, contact your creditors. In many cases, they will work with you to figure out a payment plan.
  • If you move, let your creditors know your new address as soon as possible to avoid losing bills or receiving them late.
  • If your credit card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
  • Review your credit reports periodically for accuracy and report any errors immediately.
  • Establish a consistent work history

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