National Credit Reporting Companies

  • National Credit Reporting Companies

National Credit Reporting Companies

Complete Guide to Understanding the National Credit Reporting Companies And Your Rights!
If credit report errors are keeping you from the things you want, you need to understand what the national credit reporting companies are, why mistakes happen, and how to fix them. Learn about the credit bureaus so you can get your financial life back on track and leave the stress in the past. Read on, then reach out.

The national credit reporting companies play an outsized role in shaping our consumer economy. Across the course of your financial lifetime, it is extremely likely that you’ll encounter one of these companies several times. Generally, your dealings with these companies occur when you apply for credit for an auto loan, mortgage, line of credit, job, rental, insurance, or other benefit. The largest of these companies are also known by their brand names Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Because of their enormous influence on our financial landscape, these three are also routinely referred to as the nationwide credit bureaus. 

These 3 national credit reporting agencies play an enormous role in supporting our consumer economy. The credit reports they provide to lenders and decision-makers are usually the deciding factor in whether you are approved or denied for attaining the opportunity that you’ve applied for. With this much power, it is critical that these US credit reporting agencies produce accurate credit reports. Mistakes can completely tank financial goals, make exciting situations desperate, and cause unnecessary mental anguish. 

You may be here just because you’re wondering, “What are the three credit reporting agencies in the US.” Or, you may be long past that initial question and now find yourself searching, “who can help me with credit reporting mistakes?” Either way, you’ve found the right resource to answer your questions. Knowing as much as you can about these companies before, during, and after you deal with them is very helpful in navigating some of the more common pitfalls. And if you do find yourself experiencing one of these pitfalls, it’s essential to know what you can do next. 

Among the most common issues that consumers face when dealing with credit reporting agencies is the inclusion of errors in their credit reports. When this happens, federal and state laws give you a selection of rights that can help prevent the worst possible outcomes or can help fix the financial and emotional disasters that can sometimes follow. If you find yourself in this situation, consumer protection attorneys can help. 

We’ll explain the key information about these companies and provide you with a complete list of credit reporting agencies, including the major national credit bureaus. Reach out to the team of lawyers at Consumer Attorneys if you have any questions or need support. We’re here to help.

Information on National Credit Report Companies

Most people only know of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion as the national credit report companies, aka the “national credit bureaus.” The title of “bureaus” makes these three sound as though they are governmental agencies or have some kind of official authority, but they are actually just private companies that have evolved to become the largest and most frequently utilized national credit reporting agencies. Their size has allowed them to dominate market share in this industry. 

The term credit reporting agencies in the US refers to specific businesses that create and sell a type of consumer data product called a consumer report. These reports come in various formats and serve differing purposes. For instance, employment background check reports provide decisive information to prospective employers during the hiring process and to current employers during ongoing employee reviews. Tenant screening reports, criminal history reports, and credit reports are other examples.

Credit reports produced by these companies are incredibly powerful forces in the consumer economy. In fact, as part of an overall financial profile, these reports can be the decisive factor that determines whether you have access to a particular financial opportunity and what the specific terms are (e.g., whether you get locked in at a higher or lower interest rate).

Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

There are actually several dozen nationwide credit reporting agencies, each of which is officially classified as a “consumer reporting agency (CRA)” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This regulatory designation is significant because it confers legal obligations on these companies and grants you certain legal rights with respect to the reports they produce.

Your Rights Under the FCRA

If you have any errors in a credit report produced by one of the dozens of credit reporting agencies in the USA, but especially any of the 3 national credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), it is essential to understand the full scope of your legal rights. While we strive to provide you with key information, we also encourage you to contact us to learn about your rights in depth. 

As a consumer, under the FCRA, you have the right to:

  • An accurate credit report. Whether it’s from the three national credit reporting agencies or one of the many other credit reporting agencies in the USA, the legal standard under the FCRA for reporting your credit data is accuracy.

    Having the right to accuracy directly stated in the law is hugely important to protect you from utterly reckless, careless, and otherwise preventable harm. These companies are obligated to ensure that the right protocols are in place to provide accurate reporting services.

  • Review your credit report. You are always entitled to review your credit report. Previously, you could review it once per year, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, the frequency was changed to a weekly prerogative, and you can review your credit report weekly using the government-verified site (Note that the name of the site hasn’t been updated to account for the current access frequency.)

    In addition, when an employer, lending agent, landlord, or other entity runs a consumer report about you, you are always entitled by law to receive and review a copy of it. If you don’t automatically receive a completed copy as soon as it is available, you can request a copy, and it must be provided.

  • Know why you were denied. If a consumer report, such as a credit or background check report, plays a role in your denial for a specific opportunity (like a loan, mortgage, job, rental, etc.), you have the right to know which specific information in the report caused you to be denied.
  • Dispute any inaccurate, misleading, or false information. All major and minor credit reporting agencies in the US are required to provide a procedure for you to dispute errors. The specific procedures for each one are listed on their respective websites.

    Many provide options, including an online platform, phone number, and address where disputes can be submitted. We recommend filing disputes and submitting supporting documentation via certified mail due to the risk of waiving key legal rights by agreeing to the terms and conditions while using an online platform. Call us to learn more about this and other considerations.

  • File a lawsuit. Under the FCRA, you have the right to file a lawsuit against CRAs that violate your protections or fail to meet their legal reporting obligations. The three main credit reporting agencies in the USA, the credit bureaus, likely bear the brunt of most of the litigation around these issues, but your rights extend to any of them.
  • Get compensation. If you’re on the other end of credit reporting errors that caused financial harm or mental anguish, you can seek compensation to make you whole. Depending on the type of error, even just the mere reporting of certain errors is enough to warrant a lawsuit and the pursuit of compensation.
  • Have your legal fees covered. The FCRA makes it easy for you to work with a credit report attorney, background check attorney, or FCRA lawyer to protect yourself against reporting errors. For instance, by law, the responsible parties must pay your legal costs and fees when you sue them and win!

Main National Credit Reporting Agencies

Whether you search “what are the 3 national credit reporting agencies” or “who are the three credit reporting agencies in the US,” the answer is always the same: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These three CRAs are long-established as the three main credit reporting agencies in the USA. They are so dominant in the consumer credit market and the consumer data industry, in fact, that they are referred to as credit bureaus despite just being private companies. 

Who can help you with credit reporting errors?

Once you’ve gotten past trying to figure out what the three national credit reporting agencies are and you’re busy researching who can help you push back against credit errors, then you should reach out to a consumer protection lawyer. 

At Consumer Attorneys, our team of top-tier lawyers has over seventy-five years of combined experience helping consumers navigate consumer data fiascos, including credit reporting errors. The CRAs that produce these reports are notorious for failing to collect and report data in a truly accurate way and for failing to adequately investigate and correct disputes. A seasoned and knowledgeable lawyer knows the federal and state laws that protect you and how to optimize your outcomes for financial and emotional well-being.

Check our list of credit reporting agencies below to see if the one that reported on you is listed. Then call us today! Our consultations are always free, and the companies that are responsible for causing you harm pay for your legal costs and fees when you win!

List of Credit Reporting Agencies

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