Most of your needs with a credit bureau can be done over the internet with their websites. However, if a problem arises with your report or certain information is not accepted by the site, you will need to make a phone call. It is a good idea to be able to find the phone numbers of each bureau quickly if you need them in order to get the matter settled as fast as possible.
TransUnion is one of the big three credit bureaus that allow for one free report every year. TransUnion was a pioneer in the field, although they were not the first established. TransUnion had the first online database and lead the way for online credit reporting. Now, most reporting is done online. TransUnion has had some troubles though, especially with a high number of inaccuracies in reporting. One study showed that 79% of their reports had at least some form of inaccuracy. They also were sued for selling private information.
Equifax is the oldest of the three credit bureaus. It is also the most widely used. This means that people looking to repair their score will often work with Equifax first. They have had issues in the past when it came to privacy and giving out personal information. Because of this trouble, they have worked closely with government officials to make sure the current privacy laws are relevant and are working for the people.
Experian is the only agency that does not use the FICO score to establish your credit score. Experian uses the PLUS system. The PLUS system uses the same factors as the FICO score. They weigh the factors a little differently and in a way that is more consumer friendly. They may be the easiest bureau to approach when attempting to fix your score because they are trying to get an accurate reflection of what is going on. Their major trouble with the law came when they tried to automatically enroll people who came for a free credit report to their paid monitoring service.
These three credit bureaus will give you one free credit report each year. There is a lot you can learn from these reports and everyone should take advantage of this great opportunity. For those trying desperately to raise their credit score, it might be a good idea to try out a paid monitoring service, at least for a few months. This way, you can see exactly which of your efforts are paying off and effecting your score. Even those with good credit would benefit from credit monitoring in order to catch fraud. Either way, be sure to get your free reports.