There used to be thousands of credit bureaus but the passage of the Fair US Credit Reporting Act left us with only three major bureaus. So what are the 3 credit bureaus?
What is a credit bureau?
A credit bureau is defined as a company that gathers credit-related information of individuals. Credit-related information includes credit history and credit ratings. This company then gives out the individual’s information, upon request of financial institutions, credit card companies, lenders, and so on.
What are the 3 credit bureaus?
In our country, we have three major credit reporting bureaus. These are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These agencies work independently from each other that is why credit reports and scores are hardly ever identical. The three major credit reporting bureaus each have their own methods for calculating the credit score. Although all of these models were originally derived from the FICO or Fair Isaac Company model, the bureaus have adjusted it to suit their own needs. Experian has the PLUS Score or Fair Isaac Risk, Equifax has the BEACON model and TransUnion has the FICO Risk Scoring model.
Do not be surprised if your credit score is not the same in all three bureaus or if your credit report is not identical. This is normal. The credit reporting agencies contain different information about your credit history and rate it differently. As long as all the information is correct and no errors are found, there is no need for actions to be taken.
800-685-1111 (general) or 800-525-6285 (fraud)
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
888-397-3742 (general and fraud)
PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013
800-888-4213 (general) or 800-680-7289 (fraud)
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
The FICO model is not only what the three major credit bureaus use but it is what most lenders and financial institutions use too. It is a scoring system that is used to come up with a credit score. It comprises of three digits that range from over 800 to below 300. Having a FICO score of 800 or above will give you an excellent rating while 300 makes you a very risky borrower to lenders. Wondering if your credit score is good?
Credit reports from the 3 bureaus
If a lender or some other company requests for your credit report and score, they will only receive a copy from the bureau that they have requested it from. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit bureaus. There is one central website where you can request for it, annualcreditreport.com. You may also send a request through mail or over the telephone. After you have claimed your annual free credit report, you will have to pay on your next request. Price depends on the bureau and the state where you live in but it costs around $14.95 for one credit report and score. These credit bureaus also offer a 3-in-1 deal for $39.95 where you will get all three credit reports and scores.