A credit bureau is an agency that collects data about consumers including personal data, financial information, and some non financial data like public records.
The purpose of the credit bureaus is provide accurate and complete information about consumers. This information is needed when creditors are evaluating the credit worthiness of consumers. Furthermore, it helps decide the approval of credit and the interest rate associate with it. Employers also use this information as a background check. It is seen as a clear indication of the responsibility of the potential employee.
The collected information includes but is not limited to personal information, financial transactions, and public records. Most information is furnished to credit bureaus by banks and other creditors. The other information is collected by the credit bureaus themselves. All collected information is them aggregated and complied to create individual consumer credit reports.
Consumers by law are granted one free credit report each year and it is highly recommend that you do so. Other types of access is applications for credit and background checks. The Individual consumer grants creditors or employers access to credit reports for these purposes.
The Different Bureaus
There are four different credit bureaus:
The three major and most recognized bureaus are Experian, Equifax, And TransUnion. Innovis is a much smaller and lesser known bureau.
The oversight of the credit bureaus is the job of the Federal Trade commission (FTC) and is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The information that is provided by the financial institutions to the credit bureaus is overseen by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). They ensure accurate reporting by the banks to the credit bureaus.