The Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies

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Your credit score is one of the major indicators that lenders use to determine your potential creditworthiness and what interest rate you'll pay if they decide to give you credit. Your FICO credit score is made up of information provided by the three major credit reporting agencies, but there are dozens of other credit reporting agencies as well. The three main agencies used by FICO are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

Where the Information Comes From

Lenders report your credit information to the various credit reporting agencies on a regular basis. They typically report your credit limit, outstanding amount of debt, and the timeliness of your payments, as well as the date when the account was opened. Some types of debt, such as utility bills, are not typically reported. Since not all lenders report in the same way to each of the three major credit reporting agencies, your file with each agency and your FICO score at each may vary, but the scores should be within a few points of one another.

TransUnion

As of 2015, TransUnion offers services in 33 countries around the world. The company provides consumers with the information they need to identify possible trouble areas and to manage their finances. TransUnion also provides businesses with the data required to manage potential credit risks. According to TransUnion, the company is an information service that provides relevant information to both consumers and businesses that not only help them to manage finances and identify risk, but also to see and take advantage of opportunities. TransUnion collects credit information and offers a FICO score called EMPIRICA to consumers and businesses. TransUnion can be contacted for help with questions or disputes by phone at 800-888-4213 or online at transunion.com.

Equifax

Equifax collects information on millions of consumers around the world. The information it collects on consumers is typically used to provide a financial history of individual consumers and a FICO score called BEACON to help lenders make decisions about a consumer's creditworthiness. Consumers can contact Equifax with any questions or concerns online by going to the contact page on its website (http://www.equifax.com/cs/Satellite?pagename=contact_us) and choosing the option that best fits the reason for contacting the company. If you have a concern about your credit report, you can also use the phone number printed on your Equifax credit report to contact the company.

Experian

Experian is based in Ireland but operates in 39 different countries. The company provides consumer credit data collection and reporting services for individuals and businesses. It uses the Experian Fair Isaac Risk Model when reporting this information to lenders, which is Experian's version of the FICO score and is figured in the same way. Experian has a number of different consumer credit services that are most easily accessed through the company's help page (www.experian.com/help/).

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