Consumer reporting agencies (also known as credit bureaus) maintain historical information about individuals and corporations that relates to their debt-repayment history. These companies sell this information to lenders and other third parties for screening purposes.
There are three major nationwide consumer reporting agencies in the United States — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They get their data from a variety of sources, including creditors and lenders who report information to them directly.
What is a credit report?
credit report agency are detailed summaries of your credit history prepared by one or more of the three major consumer reporting agencies in the United States (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). They include personal information such as your name, Social Security number, aliases, past names and addresses, and contact information. They also contain information about your accounts, including their opening date, the current balances and the maximum limits, as well as your payment history. They may also include bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens and other public records.
In addition, a credit report includes a list of companies that have requested your credit report — known as inquiries. These include lenders you apply to for credit, insurance or a job, as well as “soft” inquiries such as when you check your own credit. Your credit report also lists the status of each inquiry, such as whether it is a hard or soft inquiry.
What is a credit score?
Credit scores are a three-digit number based on a variety of information contained in your credit report. These numbers are used by lenders and creditors to help them determine the risk of granting you a loan or credit card. Credit reporting agencies, such as Experian(tm), Equifax(tm) and TransUnion(tm) set industry standards for credit report data and calculate credit scores based on this information. This information includes a borrower’s payment history, credit mix, public records (liens, foreclosures and bankruptcy), inquiries into the report and other miscellaneous items.
Companies use your credit score to make decisions about whether or not to lend you money, what kind of loans and credit cards you can get and at what interest rates. Different credit bureaus have slightly different formulas to compute your score — but the main factors remain the same. These include your repayment history, credit utilization and length of credit history. Each factor is weighted differently by the credit scoring model each credit agency uses.
What is a credit report agency?
Consumer reporting agencies (also called credit bureaus or consumer credit agencies) are businesses that maintain historical credit information on individuals and businesses, compile that information into a credit report, and sell the report to lenders, creditors, utilities, debt collection agencies, and others who want to know more about a prospective borrower. Consumer reporting agencies are regulated by two government bodies in the United States—the Federal Trade Commission oversees consumer protections for the agencies and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency charters and regulates national banks with regard to the data they furnish to the reporting agencies.
There are three major traditional consumer credit reporting agencies in the U.S.—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. A number of other nontraditional business credit reporting agencies also exist, including PRBC (Payment Reporting Builds Credit) and SBFE (Small Business Financial Exchange). These nontraditional agencies do not issue a consumer credit report but instead aggregate information from various sources for the purpose of providing a lender with an analytical tool to help them assess a potential borrower’s ability to pay.
What is a credit score agency?
A credit score agency, or consumer reporting agency, houses information about your borrowing and bill-paying history. There are three nationwide credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, that collect this data to help potential lenders rate your creditworthiness.
These companies do not make lending decisions, but they play an important role in the financial lives of millions of consumers. They sell your credit report and credit score to banks, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers and other creditors that use them when making loan and credit decision.
They also share your credit report and scores with people you authorize, like employers, insurers or landlords. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires them to have a permissible purpose for getting your report. Credit bureaus don’t provide your marital status, medical records, buying habits or transactional data. These things are usually supplied to the bureaus by other data furnishers, such as your lender or a debt collection agency. The top three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. There are dozens of other consumer-reporting agencies, including business credit reporting agencies.