Who Takes Care of Your Credit?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about your credit . But the truth is, your credit is one of the most important things in your financial life. It’s important to understand how your credit works and who takes care of it.

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The Three Major Credit Bureaus

If you’re confused about who takes care of your credit and how your credit score is calculated, you’re not alone. Credit scores are important because they affect your ability to get loans, credit cards, and favorable interest rates. In the United States, there are three major credit bureaus : Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.


Experian is a global information services company with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The company employs 17,000 people in 40 countries and provides data and analytical tools to clients in more than 80 countries. Its main businesses are credit reporting and marketing services. Experian is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol EXPN and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency. It gathers and maintains information about consumers’ credit histories. This information is used by creditors, landlords, and others to evaluate an individual’s creditworthiness.

Equifax was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. It is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: EFX). Equifax has approximately 7,000 employees and operates in 19 countries.


TransUnion is a consumer credit reporting agency. TransUnion collects and aggregates information on over one billion consumers in more than thirty countries. Developers use TransUnion’s data and analytics to build credit products for consumers, businesses, and government.

The Lenders Who Use Credit Reports

There are many businesses that use credit reports when making lending decisions. Banks, credit card companies, auto dealerships, mortgage lenders, and utility companies are just a few examples. These businesses are called creditors. A creditor is a person or business to whom you owe money.

Mortgage Lenders

When you’re applying for a mortgage, the lender will almost certainly pull your credit report as part of their application process. Mortgage lenders want to know that you’re a responsible borrower, and they use your credit report to determine whether you’re likely to repay your loan on time.

Your credit score is one of the most important factors that lenders consider when they’re deciding whether to approve your loan. If you have a high credit score, it means you have a good history of paying your bills on time and managing your debt responsibly. This makes you a lower-risk borrower, which means the lender is more likely to approve your loan.

If you have a low credit score, it may be more difficult to get approved for a mortgage. You may still be able to get approved, but you may have to pay a higher interest rate or make a larger down payment. Either way, it’s important to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders before you apply for a mortgage.

Auto Lenders

Most auto lenders will use your credit report to help them make a lending decision. They’ll look at your credit history to see how you’ve managed your finances in the past and use that information to determine whether or not you’re likely to repay a loan.

Some lenders will only consider your credit score when making a lending decision, while others will also look at other factors such as your income, employment history, and the type of vehicle you’re looking to finance.

If you have a strong credit history, you’re more likely to get approved for an auto loan with a low interest rate. However, if you have poor credit, you may still be able to get financing but you’ll probably have to pay a higher interest rate.

Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies are the type of lenders who use credit reports the most. That’s because when you’re looking for a new credit card, the first thing these companies will do is pull your credit report to see if you’re a good candidate for their card. If you have a good credit score, you’re more likely to be approved for a new credit card with a good interest rate. But if you have bad credit, you may not be approved for a new credit card at all.


Your rental history is one of the most important factors landlords consider when approving your application for a new place to live. They want to know if you’ve been a good tenant in the past, and a key part of that is whether you’ve paid your rent on time.

Most landlords will request a copy of your credit report as part of their screening process, so it’s important to know what information they’ll be seeing. Here’s a look at how your rental history appears on your credit report, and what landlords will be looking for.

Your rental history is reported to the credit bureaus by your landlord or property management company. If you have a history of late payments, that will show up on your report. Landlords will also be able to see if you have any outstanding balances owed to previous landlords.

It’s important to note that not all landlords report to the credit bureaus, so even if you have a perfect rental history, it may not show up on your credit report. This is why it’s always a good idea to provide potential landlords with references from your previous landlords, even if they don’t request them.

If you don’t have a rental history, or if it’s not strong enough to satisfy a potential landlord, there are other options available. You may be able to get a guarantor or sign up for a rent-to-own agreement. You can also try finding an apartment in a building that doesn’t use credit scores as part of their screening process.


Your potential employer may review your credit report during the hiring process. The employer is looking to see if you’re likely to be a responsible employee. For example, if you have a history of not paying your bills on time, the employer may conclude that you’re not likely to obey work rules or show up for your shifts on time.

Federal law limits the information an employer can get from a credit report. The employer must have your permission in writing to get your credit report. And the employer must tell you if negative information in the report was a factor in not hiring you.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). FCRA requires CRAs to maintain reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of their information.

Your Rights Under the FCRA

You have the right to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. You also have the right to get your credit report for free if:
-A company has taken adverse action against you
-You’re unemployed and plan to apply for employment in the next 60 days
-You are on public assistance
-You believe your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud

To order your free annual report, go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you’ve been denied credit, employment, insurance, or other benefits within the past 60 days, you can also request a free report.

To get your free report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), go to www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action or call 1-877-322-8228.

How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

In addition to your free annual credit report, you may be entitled to a free report if you’ve been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report within the past 60 days; if you’re currently receiving government assistance; or if you’ve been the victim of identity theft and placed a fraud alert on your credit report.

You can also get a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies on their own websites:Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report

If you find an error on your credit report, you have the right to dispute it. The credit reporting company must then investigate and give you the results within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must give you a written description of their investigation results. If they made a mistake, they must correct it.

If you don’t agree with the results of the investigation, you can ask the credit reporting company to include your version of the dispute in your file and in future reports.

You also have the right to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if you think a credit reporting company has violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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