What Is Your Credit History?

What Is Your Credit History?

Your credit history is a record of your credit accounts. The three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) each store detailed records of your accounts and payment history. This information becomes especially important when you apply for new credit cards, loans and mortgages.

How do credit bureaus use your credit history?

Credit histories are useful because they show lenders how reliable you are with financial responsibilities. Credit bureaus may use your credit history to calculate your credit score, which is a snapshot numerical estimation of how likely you are to pay off debt in the future. Lenders typically use your credit score and credit history to try to assess your creditworthiness, so they can decide whether to approve you for credit or how to set their lending rates.

Establishing a healthy credit history can help in many situations. A higher credit score can result in lower mortgage rates, a lower APR for your credit cards, lower insurance premiums and better rewards on credit cards.

What kind of information is in your credit history?

1. Credit accounts. Your credit cards, loans and mortgages can all be on your credit history. You can also find additional details like the date the account was issued, the amounts owed, the credit limit for credit cards and payment history.

2. Inquiries. Any time you apply for a new line of credit, the lender will usually check your credit history, initiating a "hard inquiry" on your report. Hard inquiries could deduct a few points from your credit score and negatively impact your credit history for up to two years before being removed, though the impact generally decreases over time.

3. Derogatory marks. If you become severely delinquent in your payments and your account is sent to a collections agency, the account in collections will often be noted on your credit history, which can significantly lower your score. In fact, derogatory marks typically stay on your credit history for seven to ten years.

4. On-time payment history. If you are 30, 60 or 90 days late on a payment, it will usually be noted on your credit history and could negatively affect your score. The later the payments are and the more late payments that show up on your credit history, the more negatively they can impact your score.

What kind of information is not in your credit history?

1. Bank accounts, such as checking and savings accounts, do not typically involve credit, so in most cases, they do not have an effect on your credit history.

2. Your income, age and race will not appear on your credit history. Date of birth may appear as part of your identifying information, but it is not used in credit scoring.

What should you do if your credit history is incorrect?

An up-to-date and accurate credit history is very important in ensuring you have the best credit score possible. If you're concerned that your credit history is inaccurate, read this detailed guide on how to dispute an error on your credit report. Please keep in mind that the scores and credit information you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, respectively. If your credit information that you see on Credit Karma is incorrect, please contact those credit bureaus directly.

A change in your credit score indicates a change in your credit history. Monitor your full TransUnion and Equifax credit reports on Credit Karma so you'll understand your report details, and if you need to take any actions to correct your credit history.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this site is not provided by the bank or issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank or issuer. Credit Karma may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. It is this compensation that enables Credit Karma to provide its members with services like free access to your credit scores and free monitoring of credit and financial accounts at no charge.


Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

All Comments

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1 Contribution
1842 People Helped

Helpful to 1842 out of 1963 people

The basic problem with this report is it's from TransUnion.  I have a C with them and EXCELLENT with the other 2.  Before you apply for credit, ask if TransUnion is going to be involved in their determination of risk versus the other 2.  If the say it will weigh heavily, walk out the door and go somewhere else. TransUnion should be shut down, they are not good for the welfare of the citizens of our country. 

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1 Contribution
1363 People Helped
Helpful to 1165 out of 1259 people

transunion should not be the main report should be based on all three credit report compnies.

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1 Contribution
214 People Helped
Helpful to 214 out of 286 people

Thanks for the information

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1 Contribution
36 People Helped
Helpful to 36 out of 43 people

Wow , so true! I don't understand how my rating can go from an A to A an F in 2 weeks when I haven't changed anything.  My payments are 100% on time and  all of my hard pulls are more than 14 months old. It aslo says my credit history is 2 years or so - another site has me at 19 years! Which is more like it.  SO my rating dropped 15 pts and it doesn't even say why?  None of the in depth reports have changed!  Ridiculous.  How do you plan for any kind of loan or CC request if they are all different?

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1 Contribution
9 People Helped
Helpful to 9 out of 12 people

I notice that too with them. I have a much lower score with TransUnion as compared to the others.

1 Contribution
630 People Helped

Helpful to 630 out of 669 people

I have found that Credit Karma is NOT the most accurate tool simply for the fact they only go with 1 of the 3 credit companies. But, it CAN be used as a very good guideline to monitor your credit. I was having the same problems as most of you (inaccuracies regarding history, etc...) I done some research and found that that is at NO FAULT to credit karma. If the creditor(s) did not report to transunion (which, often times they do NOT report to all three) then, it will not be on credit Karma's profile for you. Credit karma is a very good service for what it gives (better than any other I've seen for free) but, agreed, there are some things that can be fixed and pulling from all three major credit bureaus is on the top of that list. 

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5 Contributions
168 People Helped
Helpful to 130 out of 247 people

all three cbt s  and u  credit  karma  are  90 days     wrong   i hae paid off  all  credit cards and   auto   they are  zero and have ask u to update  all files  / all scores  and   report  correct data  now   5  times  so  would u please  fix   now and remove the  balances      and report them as zero and update my score  to a better  score i am  trying to buy  a  home and u are hurting my chanses.. send me update  and call  my   ph when  complete  s o i may see  u did  ur  job and fixed this issue

cc attorney

cc  file

cc cbt

cc annual cr report

cc credit  karma

cc tu

cc equifax

ccc experian

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4 Contributions
32 People Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 16 people

credit sesame gives you a higher score than credit karma

1 Contribution
511 People Helped

Helpful to 511 out of 556 people

I see a difference in my credit scores also between TransUnion and Equfiax.  I would agree with others that TransUnion is not the best company to be tracking credit history or scores.  What is Credit Karma doing about getting scores from other credit company's?

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1 Contribution
206 People Helped
Helpful to 206 out of 246 people

I have noticed that transition is, out if the three, the ones that rate me the highest......but I have had credit cards for 10 plus years and transunion only has my credit card history at 2&1/2 years......puzzling!

1 Contribution
92 People Helped

Helpful to 92 out of 111 people

Bought a car less than 2 years ago and my credit score was just below 800.  Today, checking Credit Karma it gives me a score of 658.  Credit scores seem to me to simply be a way for companies to extort funds from those who are already in need of a break.  Companies can simply say you owe them and place something on your report even when they are acting outside of the confines of state law..... ....lol....what a joke.........

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1 Contribution
34 People Helped
Helpful to 34 out of 47 people

There is a different version of the credit algorithm for auto loans, which the auto dealers choose to use. The max is 900 instead of 850 and generally you will get a higher score 

Similarly there are variants used for specific industries that 'adjust' your score for that industry's benefit

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4 Contributions
22 People Helped
Helpful to 16 out of 25 people

I agree with that one, only CreditKarma has reported my account correctly according to TransUnion where I apparently have a bad rep in regards to credit cards (OMG I don't have any, what's wrong with me?). I am now in the process of making a few consumer statements on my credit report - no whining, just facts. I appreciate CreditKarma and that it is free just to get my "baseline". Remember that the Credit Bureaus are monitored and regulated by the Government, how nice. I know I will not recover fro a low score as I do not apply for credit cards, especially in this economy. Nevertheless, it is a game with winners and loosers and that is the way it is. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. It is frustrating.

2 Contributions
368 People Helped

Helpful to 366 out of 417 people

My credit reports from the major reporting agencies is 22 years or more. Why is yours only 6 years?  I am 46, I am pretty sure I have more than six years of credit on file. Why would all the years of excellent credit be ignored? 

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1 Contribution
366 People Helped
Helpful to 366 out of 408 people

Unfortunately, if you cancel a credit card or pay off a mortgage, that ends the credit history with that creditor; thus it wipes it out.  The only true way to keep a long credit history is to keep the same credit card company for a long period of time.  Credit scoring is a game...you have to play by its rules...even if the rules are stupid.  I guess that makes it like golf in some ways....

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1 Contribution
204 People Helped
Helpful to 204 out of 236 people

They are not ignored...look under Payment History.  It shows the total number of accts you have had and will give a grade for paying all those accts.

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1 Contribution
9 People Helped
Helpful to 9 out of 11 people

It's an average age.  If you opened a new line of credit yesterday and you only had 1 other line of credit that's been open for 20 years, that now becomes 10.  Open another one today and it becomes 6.66 years, and so on.  Caught me off gaurd when i saw 2.5 years as well.  Hope this helps some one. 

1 Contribution
72 People Helped

Helpful to 72 out of 87 people

I found Credit Karma much superior to Equifax who has errors in my profile including my date of birth and refuses to send me my report for free, which really irritates me a lot, and there is no apparent way to correspond with them directly.  Thank you for your service and for giving me my score without any problem.  Thanks very much.  Robert,  Huntsville AL   

1 Contribution
63 People Helped

Helpful to 63 out of 79 people

I have found that I have received a most accurate Credit Report from Credit Karma than any other credit reporting company. I have recommended that others and friends should follow Credit Karma and help themselves fix and monitor their own credit report. Great job Credit Karma....

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2 Contributions
16 People Helped
Helpful to 16 out of 26 people

 Credit Karma is no more accurate than the credit beaureaus they get their info from. 

1 Contribution
180 People Helped

Helpful to 180 out of 220 people

I really don't understand this rating. My credit history is reported as 0 years. Say what? It's true that I have no open accounts - that is by design. I have a mortgage, which is always up to date, and I paid off my car loan (60 months allowed) in 47 months; never missed a payment, and was never late. Everything else (I'm 62 - there have been many "everything else" accounts - is paid off, which has allowed me to retire in good shape. And I intend to stay that way. I'm looking for one loan, one only, and it will be paid on time, or sooner. I admit it - I just do not understand the system.

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1 Contribution
104 People Helped
Helpful to 104 out of 117 people

Chase just sent me a letter stating that the are closing an account that I have because I never use the card. Well, duh....I never use it cause I hate debt....but I like to keep it open for the fact of having "credit" Now its closed for inactivity....you dammed if you do your dammed if you dont.

Best thing to do is every once and a while buy lunch on your credit card and pay it off.

Like they said....ITS A GAME!

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1 Contribution
290 People Helped
Helpful to 290 out of 317 people

It was a big mistake to close your major credit card accounts even if you do not use them (unless you habitually run your credit to maxed when you have open accounts).  This has a large impact on your credit score.  It effects the average acount age, available credit vs. credit limit (for revolving accounts) and reduces the variety of the type of accounts you have.  All these are negetive factors and will reduce your credit score.  My advice to anyone else reading this is to not close your accounts unless absolutely necessary.  Keep them active (charge something on them every month or two and pay it in full when the bill comes due.  One way to raise your credit score a litlle bit is to even ask your current credit providers to increase your credit limit even if you are not going to use it.  This decreases the percentage of your available credit to credit limit thereby increasing your credit score.

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