Credit Bureaus

National Credit Bureaus: the name is a bit misleading because it gives the impression that these agencies are in some way affiliated with the government and has some sort of legal control over your credit.

Let us clarify.

The following national credit bureaus operate primarily in the United States, but are also used in Canada and Mexico, and by other companies hoping to check the credit of Americans. They are for profit ventures that make their money by compiling massive databases of credit information.

Retailers and law firms and anyone who is looking for credit reports pay a fee to access this information. That is how they make money. There are three major national credit bureaus in the United States. They are:

  • Equifax
  • Tans Union
  • Experian

While many people would like to see as little institutional intervention in their daily lives as possible. There are some definite advantages to have huge homogeneous agencies look after your information. Big brother may be watching, but at least is watching everybody. And that keeps things fair.

When you think about it, the major credit bureaus only function is to have massively powerful computers with huge databases that are able to process large amounts of data. And because of the credit problems of the past, today, major credit bureaus are watched like hawks by government institutions to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

It is also important to note that all of the major credit bureaus do not share credit information. That means that if you think that maybe your credit rating or credit report is wrong you can go to at least two others to verify. It’s kind of like going to a different doctor to get a second opinion.

It also means that when you try and get a loan, more than one institution will check your credit history. This will give you, and the place that is offering the loan, the ultimate assurance that everything is kosher.

So next time you are looking to get a credit card or a credit report you an be sure that one, two or all three of the national credit bureaus are being consulted to make sure that you and your credit rating are being properly represented.