Three Bureau Credit Report
Three Bureau Credit Report
TransUnion Credit Bureau

The Three Credit Agencies

Whenever someone wants to get credit or obtain a loan, the lender contacts a credit agency to find out the person's credit history. This helps them determine if the individual is a good credit risk. There are three main credit agencies in the United States. Their task is to compile credit information about a person and create an in-depth report that banks, mortgage companies, credit card companies, and other lenders and credit businesses can access.

There are numerous credit agencies in the U.S. but only three are well-known. That is because they are the biggest and where most businesses go for information. These three are: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Not all credit history goes to each agency; certain companies only report to one or two of them.

How they obtain their information

Businesses that provide credit to consumers send updated reports each month to one or more of these agencies. Any time a person requests credit or a loan that information is also sent to the agencies. They also look at public records, such as court reports for bankruptcies and other decisions. They compile this information into a report that is sent out to businesses when a formal request for a person's credit report is made.


Experian has been a data collection company since 1980. It was founded in England as CCN, an information services company that collected data on people, businesses, and motor vehicles. It conducted surveys and only began credit collections in 1996 when it purchased another company. In 2006, it entered the Canadian market for collecting credit information.


TransUnion began as a holding company for a railway equipment leasing business in 1968. They purchased their first credit bureau in 1969 and continued to buy other city bureaus. Today, there are 250 offices throughout the U.S. with the main office located in Chicago, Illinois.

The main business of TransUnion is credit reporting, but it also does employment screening. It does healthcare evaluations and business risk management resolutions.


Equifax is the oldest and best known of the three credit agencies. It was founded in 1899 as the Retail Credit Company. It began as a credit company just like it is today. It would sell reports to anyone and include information that was inaccurate. Due to these practices, it was the reason for many of the laws that governs the credit agencies today and protects the information contained in the reports.

The company also provides employment screening and other products that are compatible with the primary purpose of Equifax.

Many consumers do not realize that the information contained in the reports of these three agencies is not identical. Each agency creates their report from the data they have and assign a credit score to the individual.

While the scores are similar to each other, they may not be the same.

The agencies have other information about a person besides their credit history.

  • The person's full name
  • Their birthdate
  • Current and former residences
  • Social security number
  • Employment history
  • Telephone number and email address
  • Spouse's name, social security number and employment information
  1. The Truth About Credit Scores
  2. Factors that Affect the Credit Score
  3. How a Credit Score is Calculated
  4. The Three Credit Agencies
  5. What is the FICO Score?
  6. Laws That Affect the Credit Score
  7. What Companies and Institutions Look For
  8. How to Improve Your Credit Score

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