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A credit report is a compilation of information that serves as a persistent record of how you use, abuse and manage your credit responsibilities. It includes basic information about you, such as your name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, date of birth, and employment history. It also includes information on your credit payment history as well as public information such as tax liens, court judgments, and bankruptcies, if any. Credit reports are used by potential businesses and lenders to help determine your creditworthiness. If your credit report is generally positive, you will most likely qualify for better terms on any credit for which you apply. The federal government recently enacted legislation allowing consumers access to a free credit check once every 12 months from each of the three main credit bureaus. For more information, or to get information on an free instant credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.