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What Are the 3 Credit Bureaus? Experian, TransUnion and Equifax Explained

what are credit bureaus

Your credit report is generated periodically by consumer reporting agencies called credit bureaus. In the United States, there are three main bureaus that are universally recognized - Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Each is run independently and has their own way to capture and report on your credit information. While each of these agencies has their own method of determining credit risk, all of them do so by factoring in ability to pay off debt, bills and filings of bankruptcy (all part of your credit history).

In some cases, potential employers can check your credit information to see what score you have and what risk category you belong to. The better your credit score. the less risk you are perceived to carry. Low-risk individuals may get their loan and insurance applications approved more easily. They also can receive lower interest rates, better payment terms and higher credit card spending limits.

Since the credit bureaus each have their own way of capturing, storing and reporting on your credit data, it's important that you understand your credit information from each of the bureaus. Errors, inaccuracies or omissions can negatively impact your credit scores (which are used by lenders to determine interest rates and whether or not you qualify for certain lines of credit). To review your credit report information, you can a) order your credit report directly

from each of the bureaus, or b) use a third-party service that will aggregate your credit reporting information from the bureaus, and supply you with your consolidated credit reporting information side-by-side (which can make reviewing and comparing your data across the bureaus much easier).

Founded in 1899, Equifax is the oldest of the three biggest credit bureaus in the United States. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia and has an annual revenue of about $1.5 billion. Equifax employs some 7,000 people across 14 countries. It’s a publicly traded company listed in the NYSE.

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Experian is a Dublin-based information services group with operations in 44 countries. Its main lines of business are credit services, marketing and consumer services. It has around 17,000 employees, most of whom are in the United States, the UK, Ireland and Brazil. Experian is also a publicly traded company.

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TransUnion is the third largest credit bureau operating in the United States with a revenue of $1.024 billion posted in 2011. The company claims to have data on 500 million consumers around the world and has a customer base of 45,000 businesses. It was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Visit for more information about this bureau.

Category: Credit

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