Credit Bureaus – Understanding Credit Reporting Bureaus

What is a Credit Reporting Bureau?

Credit reporting bureaus also are known as credit agencies or. Consumer reporting agencies are agencies. Collect information that is relevant to your credit and financial history. There are three major credit bureaus which are. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you apply for a loan, request an increase on your credit limit. Or apply for a new job. Your credit report will likely be required. These three credit bureaus collect and house. The information which helps potential lenders or employers in rating your reliability.

Why are there three credit reporting bureaus?

For over a century, credit reporting has existed, and in the early days. Most communities had a local credit agency. Then, when lenders needed a credit report. They contacted the closest credit agency. As time went on, as credit reporting became automated. The local credit agencies were consolidated into three major regional companies. While TransUnion serviced the Central U.S. Experian serviced the West, and. Equifax managed the South and East. Currently, each of the credit agencies has a national presence.

Differences between the credit bureaus

Each of the credit agencies offers. Slightly different services from the other. TransUnion is the only credit agency that offers Identity Lock. Which is a service that helps you protect yourself against identity theft. On the other hand. Not all vendors report to all three credit agencies. This implies that the information on your credit report may. Different from agency to agency, which will result in different scores.

The Top 3 Credit Bureaus

Equifax  

Firstly, is Equifax is a multinational credit reporting agency that operates in 11 countries. This agency tracks consumer data. More than 222 million US consumers. It also offers a range of business and. Consumer credit products. It’s major consumer products includes a credit lock. Product and comprehensive credit monitoring solution.

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Also, this credit agency is perhaps best known for a data breach in 2017. Which affected 147 million consumers in all 50 states. This led to a settlement worth more than $575. Million which included both civil penalties and an offer of free credit. Monitoring and identity theft protection to affected individuals.

Furthermore, the major industries that are supported by Equifax credit reports include financial firms. Insurance companies, retailers, healthcare providers, utilities, government agencies, as well as other businesses.

Equifax was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Atlanta. With its stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Equifax is a member of the S&P 500.

Experian

Experian started in London when business people there began sharing information. On customers who did not pay their bills. These business people formed the Manchester Guardian Society in 1826. This later became an integral part of Experian and. Reached around the world. Experian employs over 16,500 people in 39 countries and went by. Name the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes in 2018.

The FICO model used by Experian is the FICO score calculation. System and offers a Credit Tracker by subscription. With Experian, you’ll get your credit score and your credit report if you subscribe for $19.99 per month.

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TransUnion

TransUnion credit agency started as a holding company. For a tank car company in 1968, and then it branched out from. Thereinto credit reporting. By 1988, the company had full coverage. As well as consumer information on every market-active adult in the U.S. TransUnion database. Includes over 1 billion consumers in more than 30 countries.

TransUnion gives you access to place a freeze on yours. TransUnion credit report if you are bothered that you are a victim. Of identity theft or that you might be. Once you place a freeze. TransUnion will take the extra step of notifying the other two CRAs that you’ve done so. You can also buy credit monitoring. Subscription with them for $24.95 per month.

The Fair Isaac Corporation, commonly known as (FICO) is. Also another major company in the credit industry. FICO developed and maintains the FICO credit score.  However, it is not a credit reporting agency. Even though FICO compiles credit scores depending on data from. Major credit bureaus, it does not collect credit report data on their own.

Even though both credit rating agencies. And credit bureaus are private companies, they are highly regulated. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They are limited in their method of collecting. Disbursing, and disclosing consumer information, and have come under increased scrutiny since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

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