3 Major Credit Bureaus: Who They Are

Major credit bureaus are important to any consumer who wants to buy a car, get a mortgage, apply for a home equity loan or even to get a new job. Knowing who these credit reporting agencies are can give you a leg up on how to keep your credit in tip-top shape.

What Major Credit Bureaus Check

First, it’s important to know that each of the three credit bureaus check roughly the same information. It’s how they analyze it and the proprietary models they use in their data analytics that set them apart. Each is different, and what you find in one report may be different than what is contained in the other two. They may be largely the same, but since lenders and others who rely on credit reports about you will examine all three reports, you need to regularly check your credit history with each of the three credit bureaus.

Most credit scoring models are based on the following information:

  • Payment History
  • Public Records
  • Length of Credit History
  • New Accounts
  • Number of Accounts in Use
  • Inquiries on Your Credit

Equifax – Oldest Of Three Major Credit Bureaus

Originally founded in 1899 as Retail Credit Company, by the 1960s, Equifax was one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus. It was a veritable database of U.S. consumers’ personal credit histories. Much criticism surrounded the personal information in the database and, following passage of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in October 1971, Retail Credit Company became known as Equifax.

TransUnion – Second Oldest Of Three Major Credit Bureaus

Union Tank Car Company created TransUnion in 1968 as their holding company. With the purchase of Credit Bureau of Cook County in 1969, TransUnion officially got into the credit business. TransUnion entered the direct-to-consumer market in 2002 when it acquired TrueCredit.com. Based in Chicago, Illinois, TransUnion today has 250 offices in the U.S. and more than two dozen other countries.

TransUnion’s main business is credit reporting and data services for businesses.

Experian – One Of The Major Credit Bureaus Since 1996

The latest of the three credit bureaus, Experian was founded in Nottingham, England as CCN Systems, owned by GUS plc, Experian acquired credit reporting services from TRW in 1996. Its corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, and it has operational headquarters in Costa Mesa, California and in Nottingham, England. Beside the California operational headquarters, there are 10 office locations in the U.S. (3 in the East, and 2 each in the Midwest, South and West).According to the company, its core business expertise is the owning and operating comprehensive databases about consumers and businesses. Their differentiating factor is the combination of data and their proprietary analytics. Experian supports clients in 65 countries and maintains credit information on approximately 215 million U.S. consumers.



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