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Do You Know What a Credit Reporting Agency Is?

Nov 3, 2007
Though many of us may have a pretty good idea of what the credit system is as a whole, the complex details of it are sometimes hard to understand. There are several important aspects of credit that people who have credit debt do not even understand fully. It is important to know and understand what rules we are playing by and who decides what the rules are in the credit world.

One of the bigger questions that may people may ask is, "Who decides what is on your credit report, and who calculates your credit score?" Honestly, you're the one who controls what goes on your credit report, and you determine your credit score by the way in which you spend the money you borrow, how and when you pay it back, and the amount of time it takes you to pay it takes you to pay it back. But still, who is responsible for actually calculating your credit score and documenting what goes on your credit report, and how do you know that they are doing it right?

The people who do all of the updating of your credit reports and credit scores are members of a credit reporting agency. A credit reporting agency is basically another word for credit bureau, which may be a little bit more familiar term to credit users. But what ARE credit reporting agencies/bureaus, what do they do, and how do they affect the credit carriers in our world today?

The three main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These are the three that are most reliable when you want to get a copy of your credit report safely, without risk of identity theft or other forms of fraud. They are the ones who are best to call when you have a complaint about your credit report, and they are the ones who can most likely fix it, based on how well you prove your argument.

The credit reporting agencies are given "reports" of the way you manage your credit from several different sources. Whomever you are borrowing money from on credit, like a bank or a credit card company, probably "tells" on you periodically to the credit reporting agencies, so that they can determine your credit worthiness based on factors like how close you come to reaching your credit limit, how many late payments you have, and how much debt you are in at the present time. This can either be a bad thing or it can be an advantage to you, depending on how well you have managed the credit lines that are currently open to you.

Recently, citizens of the United States who have credit have gained the right of getting one free credit report per year from each of the major credit reporting agencies. These credit reporting agencies are each obligated to send you a free credit report once a year, but only if you ask for one by requesting online, over the phone, or through the mail. This means that you can receive three credit reports for free each year altogether, if you request one from each agency individually.
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