A credit report provides a detailed overview of your payment and borrowing history. A good credit score shows prospective lenders and creditors that you are a responsible borrower. Negative information, however, can be a red flag on your report for years.
There are four main parts to a credit report: personal information, credit accounts, inquiries, and negative items. Personal information includes such items as your name, current and previous addresses, and phone number. Credit accounts include information about the type, status, time frame, and current balance. There are two kinds of inquiries. Hard inquiries happen when you give permission for a company to view your report. Soft inquiries happen when you, credit bureaus, employers, and current creditors pull your report. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.
Negative items include public records and adverse accounts. Public records can be bankruptcies, liens, and judgments. Adverse accounts can include late payments, repossessions, and foreclosures.
If you do have negative information on your credit report, you can try one of two things to get it removed. You can try to make an arrangement with a collection agency and agree to pay what you owe if the agency agrees not to report the negative item. Or you can write a goodwill letter to your creditor and ask them to remove the negative item from your credit report.