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What Are the 3 Major Credit
Reporting Agencies?​

Credit bureaus are the companies that collect and maintain consumer
credit information from the lenders we use for credit cards, mortgages,
and other types of loans. They help measure our perceived creditworthiness
or the likelihood that we will pay our credit obligations on time.
Then, this information is compiled and provided to businesses that are interested
in our credit history. Learn more about credit
bureaus and why they are so important in our financial lives.

What are three major credit ?
Credit bureaus, also called “credit reporting agencies” (CRAs), are companies that collect and maintain consumer credit information. The three major CRAs in the U.S. are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each is a publicly traded, for-profit company. While there are other smaller agencies, creditors and lenders are most likely to check your credit with one of the major CRAs. The major CRAs receive credit-related information from the companies and lenders that you do business with. Lenders regularly report whether you’re paying your bills on time, whether you’ve ever defaulted entirely, and how much debt you owe to them. The credit bureaus also pull relevant public records, like tax liens or bankruptcy information, from state and local courts. This information is included in your credit report as well.1 CRAs can sell your information to companies that want to prescreen you for their products and services and to businesses that have a legally valid reason for reviewing it. For example, a company with which you’ve applied for credit would have a valid reason to look at your credit history.2 Important Employers and landlords typically cannot access your credit report without your written permission.
Learn more about each major credit reporting agency: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Equifax has been in business since 1899, and it operates or has investments in 24 countries. It offers credit fraud protection and identity theft protection to consumers, and it also sells credit reports to businesses. Consumers can purchase credit monitoring services that include their Equifax credit scores (sometimes called Beacon scores).
In 2017, Equifax’s reputation was blemished when it was hacked and suffered a data breach that divulged the critical personal information of 147 million consumers. Equifax has since made a tool available on its site where you can check to see whether you were affected. The company also tried to make amends by offering a free credit monitoring service to consumers whose information was breached.
Experian got its start in London when businesspeople there began sharing information about customers who did not pay their bills. These people formed the Manchester Guardian Society in 1826, which later became an integral part of Experian and reached around the world. Experian employs more than 17,800 people in 45 countries and was named one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes in 2018. Experian uses the FICO 8 credit score calculation system and offers a CreditWorks Premium plan by subscription. You’ll get your credit score as well as your credit report from all three agencies if you subscribe for $24.99 per month.
TransUnion started as a holding company for a tank car company in 1968, and then it branched out from there into credit reporting. By 1988, the company had full coverage and consumer information on every market-active adult in the U.S. Its database includes over one billion consumers in more than 30 countries. If you’re worried that you’ve been a victim of identity theft or that you might be, you can place a freeze on your TransUnion credit report, and TransUnion will take the extra step of notifying the other two CRAs that you’ve done so. You can also purchase a credit monitoring subscription for $24.95 per month.
The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) is another major company in the credit industry. FICO developed and maintains the FICO credit score, but it is not a credit reporting agency. Although FICO compiles credit scores based on data from the major credit bureaus, it does not collect credit report data on its own.
The federal government has legislation—the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)—that regulates how these and other credit bureaus can and must operate. They’re monitored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), because they handle sensitive information for millions of people. Credit reporting agencies can only provide information and analytical tools to help businesses make decisions about whether to offer you credit and what sort of interest rate they should charge you. The bureaus themselves don’t make these decisions.