3 Credit Bureau Agencies

In the United States and for the rest of the modern world, there are 3 main credit reporting agencies (also known as bureaus). These include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They have the credit and financial data on millions and millions of consumers including all loans, debts, lines of credit, and more. The goal of these agencies is to show lenders whether or not you are a high or low risk loan candidate. When you go to take out a loan or establish a line of credit, a lender will request your data from one, or all, of free credit reports from all 3 bureaus.

These credit reporting agencies will then provide the lender with your credit report and/or score to help them determine whether or not you are worthy loan applicant. Lenders will look at many different aspects of your credit report before they hand over money or allow you you to establish a line of credit with them. In this article, we will take a look at the 3 major credit reporting agencies and learn a little about them, what they do, and how they operate on a day to day basis.

Equifax

Equifax got it’s start way back in 1899 under the name “Retail Credit Company”. They first started in Atlanta, Georgia but over the years they grew bigger and bigger until eventually they were nationwide by the 1960s. They mainly dealt with credit reporting to insurance agencies for most of the agency’s earlier years, but soon spread into the mainstream as well.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, consumer data was not as private and secure as it is today. Most credit reporting agencies were giving away this information to anyone who simply requested it. This caused some concern among the public. During this time, Congress enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In order to change it’s image and build more trust in consumers, the former “Retail Credit Company” changed their name to Equifax and began to operate under it’s new brand.

Currently, Equifax holds records on more than 400 millions consumers around the world and has around 7k employees. They are also the oldest credit reporting agency out of the 3 major bureas, surpassing both Experian and TransUnion in time active. Their estimated revenue is near $2.3 billion dollars per year.

Experian

Experian is located in Dublin, Ireland and also has headquarters located throughout the world including one in the USA and one in the United Kingdom. They are a worldwide credit reporting agency with information on millions of consumers throughout the world. They have a staff of over 17,000 and are one of the 3 biggest credit reporting agencies in the world next to Equifax and TransUnion.

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The company was founded in 1996 when TRW Information Services was bought out by a company named GUS plc. GUS, at the time, was a retail company with consumer data on millions of people. They bought out TRW which focused on credit reporting, and Experian was created from the merger.

Besides credit reporting, Experian also offers marketing and consumer services to a wide range of different businesses. The main data collected by experian is automobile and insurance data, but they compile data on pretty much everything a potential lender would want to know about a borrowers. Experian’s yearly revenue is estimated to be $4.8 billion dollars.

TransUnion

TransUnion, while not as big as the other 2 major credit reporting agencies, is still one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States and much of the world. They were founded in Chicago, IL in 1968 and currently hold records for over 500 million consumers.

TransUnion got it’s start as a railcar leasing operation. Over time, it eventually acquired the credit bureau of Cook county and began to provide consumer data to lenders. TransUnion is known for it’s many industry changing achievements. After all, they were the first credit reporting company in history to provide tape to disc transfer of consumer files. They later became the first credit reporting company to offer an online data system which lenders could use to look up consumer information instantly.

It’s estimated yearly revenue is slightly over $1.02 billion dollars.