Credit Report Companies

The 3 Major Credit Bureaus

The 3 major credit report companies, better know as credit bureaus, are central clearinghouses for credit related information. They collect information from creditors, and sell credit reports to companies who will use it to evaluate potential clients for credit risk, employment, insurance, licensing, or any legitimate business need. Individuals are also entitled to see what is in their file at the various credit report companies.

Information that is on file at the three major credit bureaus includes:

  • consumer identification such as full name, address, employment, spouses name and employer.

  • credit history including account numbers, date initiated, amount borrowed, terms, and type of credit, along with the number of payments outstanding balances, amounts past due and the frequency of lateness.

  • derogatory items including public records such as suits, judgments, tax liens, or bankruptcies.

  • credit inquiries of companies or individuals who have requested a copy of your credit report within the last 18 months

Credit bureaus add any new data to existing information on file to create a month-by-month credit history of individual consumers. Businesses can then use this information to decide your credit worthiness. For more information on your understanding what is on your credit file, read our section on credit reports.

There are three main credit report bureaus which provide this information. You can read more about the individual credit bureaus below.

If you have any questions or complaints about credit bureaus, you can write to the:

Federal Trade Commission
Division of Credit Practices
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20580 

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