Category - Credit Bureaus

Understand the Basics of the Three Major Credit Bureaus

Having a great credit score and a great credit report is important if you want approval for a loan, rent an apartment or even to be hired for certain jobs. Your credit score and credit report are two entirely different things. There are 3 main credit bureaus that creditors report your credit history to on a regular basis.

The bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Transunion create a credit report that indicates when you have lapsed on payments, when you have paid off a debt and when you have applied for loans or credit cards. Your credit score is determined through different calculation systems by each bureau, which means that your credit score can vary between each bureau.

You can get a free credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus. This allows you to make sure that there is nothing listed on the report that shouldn’t be. Each bureau has different information because different creditors report different things it can be difficult for the bureaus to gain the same information.


Experian is a credit bureau that was established in the 1800s as the Manchester Guardian Society. The calculation system Experian uses consists of a FICO 8 credit score which means numerous items are taken into consideration to determine what your true credit score is. They offer a Credit Tracker subscription that you can use to get a copy of your credit report and credit score on a regular basis without having to pay a high fee each time. It also allows you to be alerted when there are major changes to either the score or the report so that you can easily track fraudulent activity.
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Equifax was established in the late 1800s. Equifax doesn’t offer any form of credit monitoring for consumers, but for a fee, you can get a copy of your credit report or score after your annual free report has been obtained. Equifax offers Credit Lock Services that allows your credit to be locked if you have suspicions that your identity has been stolen or fraudulent activity has taken place.

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Transunion is a credit bureau that is very similar to the other two bureaus. Credit monitoring is available on a subscription basis and they offer an option to use a Transunion credit freeze lock your account if fraudulent activity takes place. Transunion also offers instant credit alerts that lets you know every time someone applies for any form of credit in your name so that activity can be stopped immediately.

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Monitoring your credit at all three credit bureaus is important. Once you get your annual free credit report from each credit bureau, you can use websites like Credit Karma to keep track of what is going on with your credit at all times. You can see when credit has been applied for in your name, what creditors are reporting about you and easily spot if there is something on there that you need to dispute.