Your credit rating is one of those things you might not give much thought to on a daily basis, but it's an important part of your daily life. Good credit is vital to your financial freedom. When you consider making a large purchase, one that requires credit, you have to give consideration to your credit score and the health of your credit.
And when you do think about your credit score, you have to think about the credit reporting agencies that give you that score. Who are these agencies? What do they do, and how should you deal with them if the need arises?
The three most prominent credit reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. When you apply for a car loan, or go to rent an apartment, or apply for a new credit card, these three are the ones that most commonly receive requests for your credit score. Sometimes employers even check with them before hiring a new employee as part of their screening process. They all do the same thing basically, but in a different way.
Experian – As one of the major credit reporting agencies, Experian provides credit information as a tool to determine the credit worthiness of individuals as well as businesses, both large and small. Experian also provides other services to businesses such as risk management.
Equifax – Equifax also provides credit-worthiness information to lenders as well as fraud protection and ID theft protection programs to consumers. Services such as payroll are offered to businesses.
TransUnion – TransUnion also provides credit scoring for consumers, as well as help with fraud and ID theft. Services provided to businesses include risk management solutions and others.
As you can see, each of the three major credit reporting agencies not only reports on the credit scores of everyday people, they also provide other valuable services to individuals, and services to businesses as well.
Each offers you access to your report and credit monitoring services for a fairly reasonable fee. If you are working on rebuilding your credit, or are simply watching your credit closely, these services can be invaluable.
When it comes to your own credit, it's vital to know how to deal with each of these agencies if you have a question or a dispute about something that you find on one of your credit reports. Since each credit reporting agency uses a different format for their reports, and each uses different methods to rate your credit, you may find errors or omissions on one, but not another.
When you do find a problem, it's important to have the agency correct it so that your future credit isn't threatened by faulty or missing information. All of the credit reporting agencies are eager to make sure that the information they are reporting is correct and up to date.
They have their reputation at stake after all, so each provides means for consumers to report problems and request corrections. The agencies strive to research and correct mistakes in a timely manner, usually within 30 days. You requests should always be in writing and as detailed as possible, with copies of any documentation you have. This makes it easier for each credit reporting agency to act quickly.
The health of your credit is essential to your financial health and well-being. Monitoring your credit score is one way, perhaps the most important way to gage your credit's health. By taking advantage of what the credit reporting agencies can offer, you will be helping yourself to better financial health.