When you read a credit report, the abbreviations "BQ1," "BX1" and "BU1" next to an account indicate which of the three major credit bureaus reported the information about the account. The bureaus are companies that collect information about consumers' credit histories and then sell that information to lenders and others wanting to check on those consumers' creditworthiness.
The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Creditors send these companies information about their customers' credit accounts, including how long an account has been open, the maximum available credit on the account, the largest balance the customer has carried, any amounts past due and the customer's payment history. In particular, it's important to note how many payments have been 30, 60 or 90 days late.
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The three bureaus use the information they collect to assemble credit reports. Each bureau gathers information separately, however, and when you order a report from one bureau, you get only the data it has collected. What appears on an Equifax report, for example, might not appear on a TransUnion or Experian report. Separate "pulling services" sell consolidated credit reports that combine information from all three bureaus. It's on these combined reports that you'll see abbreviations such as BQ1, BX1 and BU1.
A combined report lists all the accounts identified on the three bureaus' separate reports. Next to each account, it will identify which bureau—or bureaus—reported the account. Pulling services use different abbreviations to identify the three credit bureaus. But generally, if there's a "Q" in the abbreviation, it's referring to Equifax; an "X" refers to Experian; and a "U" refers to TransUnion. So "BQ1" next to an account would indicate the information is on the Equifax report, "BX1" would be from Experian and "BU1" would be from TransUnion.
The numbers in these abbreviations refer to the person whose name is on the specific account being reported. If the credit report is for one person, the number will be a "1." In some cases, a service will pull a combined report for more than one person. In these cases, the "1" will represent the first person listed on the report request, and the "2" represents the second person. If it's a joint application in which each person is equally responsible—for example, a married couple applying for a home or car loan—some services will use a "1" for both applicants, but use "B" and "C" to represent the "borrower" and "co-borrower." So BQ1, BX1 and BU1 represent reports from the three bureaus for the first name listed on a joint application—or the only name, if there's just one person.