Also known as credit reporting agencies, these companies collect information from creditors and lenders about consumer financial behavior. This data is then provided to businesses that want to evaluate how risky it would be to lend money to a potential borrower. Once a low-tech system of regional credit reporting agencies, the industry is now consolidated into the three national credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. FICO is not a credit bureau; instead they are company that develops credit scoring formulas. Click here to order your credit reports from all three bureaus online.
Agencies that provide your credit score and your credit report. The three main credit bureaus are Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax.
Agencies that provide compilations of your credit history. The three main credit bureaus are Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax
Also called consumer reporting agency. An agency which collects and sells information about the creditworthiness of individuals. A credit reporting agency does not make any decisions about whether a specific person should be extended credit or not. However, it does collect information that it considers relevant to a person's credit habits and history, and uses this information to assign a credit score to indicate how creditworthy a person is. When a prospective creditor approaches a credit reporting agency to inquire about a particular person, they are sold a credit report which contains all the information relevant to the person and the credit score calculated by the agency (some creditors might have an ongoing subscription to credit bureau). The prospective creditor then uses that information to decide whether to extend the applicant the desired credit or not. See more in Credit Bureaus.
Information clearinghouses for creditors. These companies provide financial information to creditors, employers, and others who run credit checks on you. The information is also available to you.
Private, for-profit companies that gather information about a consumer's credit history and sell it to banks, credit card companies, landlords, employers, and other interested parties.