Credit Bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and each maintains separate credit files on you because different creditors report to different bureaus. A credit bureau, otherwise known as a credit reporting agency, is a clearinghouse for credit history information. Creditors provide these bureaus with information on how their customers pay their bills. The bureau compiles this data, along with public record information, in a file for each consumer.

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It is important to realize that credit bureaus do not rate credit. Credit bureaus simply provide information to their subscribers. Their subscribers are lenders. Each lender has its own formula for evaluating a credit application, and only the creditor can tell the consumer why they made a decision to extend or deny a credit request. Credit bureaus supply lenders with the contents of credit reports, which they can review in order to assist them in making their decision. Many times, the decision does not have anything to do with the credit report itself, but is based on things like income, length of residence, or employment history.