Credit bureaus, or sometimes called CRAs (Credit Reporting Agencies), are companies that collect and then maintain your consumer credit information. These companies collect your data so that when Credit Card companies and lenders want to know if you are a good prospect for their company, they ill know.
The Credit Bureau is a way for creditors and lenders to know whether or not you will be a good fit for them.
In this article, we will explain who and what the Credit Bureau is. Also, we will give you the top three major credit bureau agencies that you will want to familiarize yourself with.
If you may already know who they are, then we will leave additional information giving you access to their phone numbers and the steps you will need to take to speak with a live human representative.
Having good credit or excellent credit will be monumental for you, especially if you are looking to take out a home or to start a business.
With this said, let us dive on in, shall we?
The Three Major Credit Bureaus
What does a Credit Bureau Actually Do and What They Don’t Do
What the Credit Bureau does is:
- Report how much debt you owe lenders
- Pull relevant information (public records) such as taxes, bankruptcy information, court information, and so on.
- CRAs sell your information to businesses (those that have legal, valid reasons as to why they need that information)
- Offer consumer monitoring service (ONLY for some and ONLY if the consumer/person/entity asked for it)
What The Credit Bureau Doesn’t Do:
- Offer you credit
- Impact your interest rate
How Do Credit Bureau’s Obtain Your Information?
There are several ways to which the credit bureaus come around to getting your information. The Credit Bureau gets your information through three methods.
How They Update Their Records
- Getting it from the creditors
- Information that is bought by the bureau
- Information that gets shared throughout the bureau
#1: From Creditors
In this method, certain agents known as “data furnishers” get your information from creditors such as banks and Credit card lenders.
#2: Bought Information
In this method the credit bureau will just purchase your information from another credit bureau called LexisNexis.
#3: Shared Information
Lastly, although these creators are business rivals, some will share their information with one another.
The Big Three Credit Bureau’s
The Big Three Credit reporting agencies (and be aware that the bureau does not make decision on interstate’s rate or of you are deserving of a credit card) are:
Equifax has been in business for over 100 years now. Equifax first started out back in 1899. However, this agency took a huge hit in 2017 due to their information being hacked, and there were considerable data breaches.
(Check out this article “The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do” to learn more about what went on and what happened.)
Since then, Equifax has created a tool to help it’s consumers see if they were affected by the hack.
They offered many settlement to their clients because of the whole hacking ordeal that took place.
They offer both Credit Fraud Protection and Identity Theft Protection.
This CRA got its first start in London back in 1827. What you can expect from thsi agency is:
- The FICO 8 credit score calculation system
- A Credit Tracker but only through subscriptions
- Your credit score
- Your credit report (but only if you subscribe)
The first started out as a tank holding company that would later transfer over to the credit reporting industry.
Much like the previous entries, they offer identity theft protection, credit reports (assuming you have a subscription with them), and they will freeze your credit report if they see something going awry with it.
These are the three major credit bureau’s, but there are indeed others.
Other Credit Bureaus You May Be Want To Be Aware Of
ChexSystems:What this agency does is collect and report information regarding closed checking and saving accounts.
National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE:The NCTUE shares information regarding telecommunication, pay TV, as well as utilities.
C.L.U.E.: C.L.U.E collects information regarding insurance-based information.
Why The Credit Score May Be Different
One of the major reasons as to why you will notice some differences in your credit report is because creditors are NOT obligated to share their new information with the CRAs. As such, you will notice small changes in your report.
However, most of these changes will not be significant. So it would help if you were not too concerned with the differences in reports.
How To Dispute Inaccurate Information
The CRAs that you may be subscribed to have to give you a FREE credit report every 12 months (every year). They also do offer many of their consumers with a spare report.
However, the spare report (the extra report) will cost you around $12.
If you have noticed some inaccurate reports or data in your credit report, the best way to dispute this inaccuracy is through a phone call.
How To Reach The Credit Bureaus
The best way to get in contact with the Credit Bureau is via their phone number. We have taken the liberty to list all three of the MAJOR credit bureaus numbers below.
The three credit bureaus phone numbers are:
- Exuifax : 1-866-349-5191
- Transnion: 1-800-916-8800
- Experian: 1-800-493-1058
To speak with a human operative you will need to call either of the three credit bureaus phone numbers you are working with and then do the following.
- Exuifax : Call their number and say ‘Agent’ or you can press ‘5’.
- TransUnion: Call their number and press ‘0’.
- Exxperian: Call their number and enter your ‘SSN’. Next say ‘Credit’ or you can press ‘2’. After that Say ‘Credit Report’ or you can Press ‘1’. Lastly, say ‘Credit Questions’ or Press ‘1’.
These are the best ways to get in contact with a representative if you are wondering how to reach the credit bureaus.
If you find that you cannot reach a human agent via the telephone (or maybe you do not like speaking on the phone), here are a few additional options you can use to get in contact with these CRAs.
You can reach out to Euifax via its website or by the mail at their P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348-5788.
You can reach out to Exerian via its website or by writing to them at P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.
Lastly, you can reach TranUnion at P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, or via their website.
The representatives are all there to help you if you feel you have become the victim of a fraud.