Credit Reports

What is a Credit Bureau?

A credit bureau (also called a consumer credit bureau, credit bureau agency, or credit bureau company) is an agency that compiles credit information and distributes it to creditors. Credit bureaus are private profit-making companies that provide credit bureau services to credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and banks that use the information to screen potential applicants.

The credit information that credit bureaus record, which goes into consumer credit reports (also called credit profiles) includes the following data.

Information that Credit Bureaus report:

  • The number of credit accounts
  • The balance on those accounts
  • Payment habits
  • Length and place of employment

3 Major Credit Bureaus:

  • Equifax
  • TransUnion
  • Experian (formerly TRW)

There are 3 major credit bureaus that record credit information - Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you order a single bureau credit report, you receive the information recorded by one of these three major credit bureaus. If you order a 3 bureau online credit report, you get a compilation and comparison of the information gathered and reported by all three major credit bureaus.

The job of a national credit bureau is to collect and sell credit information. Part of this job includes collecting whatever information the credit bureau feels is relevant to a person's credit habits and history.

Credit bureaus do not make decisions as to whether or not a specific person should be extended credit. Instead, it works like this: A prospective creditor approaches a national credit bureau to inquire about a particular perso's credit, and they are sold a credit report containing all the financial information relevant to the person along with the credit score calculated by the credit bureau. From there, the prospective creditor uses that information to decide whether to extend the credit applicant credit or not.

Credit bureaus are guided and regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA requires credit bureau services to provide complete and correct information to potential lenders when evaluating your credit application. Under the FCRA, you have the right to the following:

  • To have all the information in your consumer credit report, including the sources of the information
  • To know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year
  • To obtain a free copy of your online credit report when your application is denied due to information supplied by a credit bureau
  • To add a 100-word explanation to your credit report if the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction by the credit bureau

For more information on how to check your credit report, or how to instantly get your 3 in 1 credit report, FREE credit score, and identity theft insurance, go to now!